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Who’s behind Fast Ford Nation?

BY ROB SALERNO – It’s no secret that the internet just doesn’t like Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.

The latest evidence of this comes from Toronto comedian Jude Klassen, whose “Tasha Journalist” character has recorded a dance-music video love song for the mayor:

 

It’s oddly compelling, isn’t it? 

The video makes reference to Ford’s recent expletive-laden(?), 911-call-inducing, pre-Halloween encounter with This Hour Has 22 Minutes’ Mary Walsh
but also takes aim at Ford’s proposed (and enacted) cuts to city
services and his record of statements against the queer community, the
homeless and others.

The video landed four days ago but first popped up on Twitter discussions last night via journalist Jonathan Goldsbie (@goldsbie), and then quickly popped up in stories on Torontoist, Huffington Post and Open File. It’s already racked up more than 2,600 views, which I think means it’s officially gone viral. 

I caught up with Klassen this morning to ask her about the video.

"I was on Facebook and I saw
a little ad suggesting we band together to defund the CBC, and there was a
picture of Mary Walsh stalking Rob Ford, and I was so frustrated,” Klassen says. “Everyone’s played
along with Mary Walsh. How could you not know who she is and be the mayor of
Toronto?

"The image of him
hiding behind a bush from Mary Walsh was so ridiculous, and the line just came
to me,” she says. 

Klassen identifies as straight but says she’s a big ally of the gay and
lesbian community. She wrote the screenplay of the 2007 film Do Not Bend,
a drama about the ex-gay movement, which starred Maggie Cassella and
screened at Toronto’s Inside Out Festival and Montreal’s Image+Nation
festival, among others. 

To record the video, Klassen invited some friends over to make a cheesey ‘80s music video, and they improvised the dance moves to her lyrics. After she cut the video together she asked a friend to write music for the song. 

"I wanted it to be something you could
dance to on ecstasy, and I wanted it to look like a crazy ‘80s rock video,” she says. “We danced and I did my cheesy rap. There’s
so many issues with Rob Ford. There’s the library, gay pride, so many issues to
choose from, so I just took the ones that were most important to me and ran."

Klassen says she’s not surprised that it’s become such a hit.

"I
think it creeps a lot of people out, too. People seem to love it, but it is kind
of horrifying because it has this kind of weird sexuality to it in conjunction
with Rob Ford, who could put anyone off their lunch,” she says.

But Klassen, who works as an entertainment journalist in her day job, doesn’t just want to inspire cheap laughs at the mayor’s expense.

"I interview
celebrities, and I ask celebrities goofy questions,” she says. “I just thought what I’m
doing is kind of fun and silly, but am I making a point? I wanted to do
something that would maybe make a difference somehow. 22 Minutes is under attack;
they’re being threatened with lawsuits, and they can’t even do their job right
now. I have comedy in my arsenal, and that’s about it. Use what you’ve got."

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