ALBANY, N.Y. — The famed Borscht Belt comedy scene was alive and well, if only for a morning.
Academy Award-winning actor Robert De Niro lent a hand Thursday to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo at the inaugural Catskill Summer Challenge, a series of outdoor events and competitions meant to highlight tourism opportunities in the Catskill Park.
De Niro, who owns a home in the Catskills, was tasked with delivering some opening remarks. And he didn't disappoint.
The actor used his time to launch into a Borscht Belt-era comedy routine, delivering a series of one-liners in tribute to comedians like Rodney Dangerfield and Joan Rivers who used to headline lavish Catskill resorts that are now largely out of business.
"OK," De Niro said as he took the podium. "So a man goes to a psychiatrist. The doctor says, 'You're crazy.' The man says, 'I want a second opinion.' The doctor says, 'OK, you're ugly, too.'"
De Niro, who has previously lent his voice to a series of New York tourism advertisements, spoke fondly of the Catskills, calling it his "unspoiled paradise."
"I'm very proud of this area and I want the world to discover it — as long as everyone goes home after their vacations," De Niro said. "Rim shot."
Cuomo launched the Catskill Summer Challenge this year after hosting similar events in the Adirondacks in recent years. Teams of lawmakers, state officials and guests competed in various events, including a raft race in a Catskill waterway.