Toronto Diary
3 min

Rob Ford goes Hollywood

0:00 – If you haven’t heard by now, Rob Ford spent the last weekend down in LA as a guest of Jimmy Kimmel. Apparently, he was also supposed to attend the Oscars, but I guess that got shut down pretty quickly. Just like that godawful James Franco roast, I’m watching through the whole thing so you don’t have to, then subsequently condensing it for your reading pleasure. Also, just to contextualize how weird this is, the other guest that night was Gonzo the Great. Our mayor is opening for a Muppet. 

18:00 – Yeah, 18 minutes of Kimmel’s regular segments. I’m skipping over them because they’re unrelated to the subject matter. At the 18-minute mark, Ford comes out and starts tossing Ford Nation shirts into the audience. Great idea! People love ironic T-shirts!

19:00 – Even Jimmy Kimmel can’t believe this shit. He’s literally asking Ford what he was thinking coming down, but judging by the Ford T-shirts and the head-to-toe black suit with a red tie, I think Ford might be under the impression that he’s a legitimate celebrity.

21:30 – As much flak as Kimmel got for bringing on Ford (and I’ll add mine on later) you have to give him credit: he’s really letting him have it. It’s like he’s firing off a grocery list of everything Ford has done wrong as mayor. He very briefly brings up Ford’s homophobia but doesn’t really take it anywhere.

23:30 – Ford’s apparently trying to play this as an opportunity to promote Toronto, but . . . Jesus, I live in this city, and this is making me reconsider moving back to Montreal. I mean I won’t, because it’s Montreal, but this isn’t the promotional blitzkrieg he thinks it is. And oh look, Kimmel is literally dabbing the flopsweat off Ford’s head. Talking is strenuous, innit?

25:00 – Kimmel brings up the fact that Ford has dared Bill Blair to arrest him, and Ford’s rationalization is that they haven’t arrested him yet because they don’t have anything, rather than the fact that this is an ongoing investigation and they’re presumably trying to get everything straight before they start going after him. But whatever, it gives him a chance to ramble on about taxpayers until the commercial break.

26:30 – Back from commercials! Jimmy opens with an easy joke about Ford eating all the desserts in the green room and leaving the veggie plate untouched. Who wouldn’t, really? Ford also goes off on how the media is out to get him, clearly glossing over the fact that Jimmy Kimmel’s television show isn’t magically divorced from said media by the sole virtue of him inviting him on the show.

31:00 – Oh Jesus . . . So Jimmy basically played back all of Ford’s worst video moments, and Ford is clearly having a hard time explaining any of them. The drunken angry rant, the patois, tackling someone during city council, all of it terrible. But when the video of Ford mimicking someone drinking and driving comes up, you can audibly hear the audience murmur as it turns on him. Yeesh.

32:30 – Ford is talking about being a mayor and mentioning his proven track record, which . . . dear heart. Seriously. DO YOU NOT REMEMBER THE SEGMENT THAT HAPPENED LITERALLY FIVE MINUTES AGO?

33:45– As Kimmel suggests Ford consider professional help, Ford talks about how he wasn’t elected to be perfect. To be fair? He wasn’t. But come on, there has to be some level of professionalism to uphold here. If not that, at least you could take care of yourself. Anything here. Anyway, that’s the end of the segment. Bring out The Great Gonzo.

So let’s wrap this up: I think Kimmel did an excellent job holding Ford accountable person to person, which is more than most shows up here have done. But part of me feels like the message was lost on Ford. Sure, the audience cheered. They laughed. They applauded. But does he think they were cheering for his tenure as mayor, or were they cheering because he’s that wacky guy from Canada who smoked crack?

I guess that’s what I find so unseemly. It’s that notion of “all publicity is good publicity” brought to its logical conclusion. Ford almost seems bolstered by his rise in infamy. It’s as if the media blitz surrounding him has vindicated his decisions, and that’s not good. As able as Kimmel was in holding Ford’s feet to the flames, the only thing Ford seems to have gotten out of this is that he’s a somebody now. In the words of another fame-seeker, he lives for the applause.