There’s plenty of irony in that Ed Koch died early this morning on the same day that a documentary about his life, titled simply “Koch,” opened. Director Neil Barsky and others associated with the project said, in a statement, “Everyone connected with the film deeply mourns the passing of Mayor Ed Koch. He will be greatly missed.”
Actually, the many obituaries about his career talk about how much his persona fit the city that he led, and his shoot-from-the-hip style is quite a contrast to other cities, including Los Angeles, where the field of contenders is understated in comparison.
“You have got to get the attention of the public,” he says in the documentary. “You have got to get them to follow you. You can only do that by being bigger than life.”
Non-New Yorkers knew Koch throughout the 1980s by his cameos in movies, his appearances on “Saturday Night Live” or in taking to the stage in nationally televised Broadway benefits. Afterward, Koch was a judge on “The People’s Court,” but his short tenure on the TV bench was outshone by Judy Judy, perhaps one of the rare competitors who matched him in pugnacity. He also was a figure in other documentaries, including “Outrage” and the recent “How to Survive a Plague,” that cast a critical eye on his response (or non-response) to the AIDS crisis, although Koch defended his record years after he was out of office.
The film trailer for “Koch” is below: