NEWS

Rob Ford to appear on Jimmy Kimmel show tonight

03/03/2014 07:33 EST | Updated 05/03/2014 05:59 EDT
Rob Ford will be a guest on late-night television host Jimmy Kimmel's show Monday night, prompting some critics to wonder whether whether the Toronto mayor is in Los Angeles to promote his city or raise his own profile in an election year.

Ford touched down in Los Angeles on Saturday, where he was greeted by Kimmel, who was dressed up as a chauffeur and holding a sign that said "FORD."

- Ford arrives in L.A. greeted by Jimmy Kimmel.

Kimmel's Sunday night show had a bit promoting Ford's appearance on Monday's show, which airs at 11:30 p.m. ET.

Midway through Sunday's episode, Ford emerged on the set, apparently ready for his interview.

“You’re on the show tomorrow night,” Kimmel said. “Oh, sorry,” Ford responds sheepishly before returning to the shadows.

Images of Ford popped up on Instagram and other social media sites Sunday, with the mayor of Canada’s most populous city posing with people he met in L.A.

When CBC News spoke to Ford by telephone on Sunday afternoon, the mayor said that he was simply doing his job while in Los Angeles.

"I'm here to promote and sell Toronto," Ford told CBC News in a telephone interview on Sunday from Los Angeles.

Ford's brother, Coun. Doug Ford, also told CBC News that "the purpose" of the U.S. trip was to promote Toronto.

"Tourism Toronto must be doing cartwheels getting all this free advertising, and that’s the purpose of the trip," he said in a telephone interview.

The mayor’s brother said that they were paying for part of their trip, while Kimmel’s show was covering another part. "Taxpayers are not paying for a penny of it," Coun. Ford said.

Back in Toronto, however,Coun. Joe Mihevc said he doesn’t think that Mayor Ford travelled all the way to Los Angeles just to promote the city.

“It is another chapter in the absurd story that we’ve been living over the past few years,” Mihevc said Sunday, when speaking with CBC News at his Toronto home.

“For him, I think it is really trying to leverage his notoriety and be attached to the star power that he hopes will then lead on to a successful election campaign this October.”

Similarly on Twitter, some people questioned how effective the mayor’s trip would really be in promoting the city:

Celebrity-like recognition

The mayor, whose arrival in Los Angeles was covered by the popular entertainment news website TMZ, was asked by CBC News if his snap trip to Tinseltown went against his image of being an everyman.

"I'm just an average, hard-working guy, that's exactly what I am," he said.

Yet the story of Ford’s crack-use denial and eventual admission to having smoked crack has been covered by media around the world, including in the U.S.

It has made him a widely recognized person, and he has become a target of many late-night comedians, including Kimmel.

Ford has said that after many requests, he has agreed to go on Kimmel’s show after a personal appeal from the host.

"He personally called me on my cellphone to invite me down here," Ford told CBC News.

Mihevc said that he believes that Ford’s pending late-night television appearance will ultimately end up with the mayor once again being the butt of the comedian’s jokes.

"We'll see, frankly, America, making fun of the mayor at the mayor’s expense. And as long as he doesn’t wrap Toronto up in that’s story, that’s fine," he said.

"But maybe someone should tell the mayor … the world is laughing, and they are not laughing with him, they are laughing at him."

While Ford was expected to attend Kimmel’s annual Oscar party on Sunday night and to appear on the show on Monday, it isn’t the first time the mayor of Toronto has had a brush with a celebrity.

Comedian Dave Chapelle dropped by his office at Toronto City Hall a couple of years ago and Ford had arm-wrestle with Hulk Hogan last year. Also, just a day after Ford admitted to having smoked crack, another former professional wrestler challenged the mayor to a separate arm wrestle.

There could even be a Ford-related movie one day, given that a film company has purchased the rights to Robyn Doolitte’s Crazy Town — a book that covers the mayor’s rise to prominence and the drug scandal that has enveloped his office over the past 10 months.

The mayor is currently in the midst of running for re-election in Toronto. He has defied calls to step down in the wake of the drug-related scandal that made him a subject of international interest.

Ford is facing an increasingly crowded field of more than two-dozen candidates who are seeking his job in the Oct. 27 election. Former Ontario PC leader John Tory, Coun. Karen Stintz and former councillor David Soknacki are among the candidates who are running against him.

Ford, a 44-year-old married father of two, is in the fourth year of his mayoral term. He spent 10 years serving as a city councillor before he was elected mayor in 2010.

MORE:cbcNews