Rob Ford went to Hollywood, and it wasn’t the California sun that burned him – it was talk show host Jimmy Kimmel.
Toronto’s embattled mayor made his much-anticipated appearance on ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live" Monday first by chucking “Ford Nation” shirts into the audience and then subjecting himself to 16 surreal minutes of questioning.
“Why are you here? What good could come of this? Have you ever seen the show?” Kimmel asked.
Earlier, Ford had explained to reporters the reason behind his trip to Los Angeles was a mission to promote Toronto and its film industry. Though most viewers wouldn't have figured that out under all the punchlines made at the mayor's expense.
Just three minutes into the interview, Kimmel brought up criticisms of Ford's appearance including one that referred to “domestic abuse, drink driving, racism, homophobia, and inability to tell the truth.”
When Kimmel asked the mayor if there was "any validity to any of these things," Ford replied, "Is that all I got?'
But the talk show host wasn't done yet.
Similar to Ebenezer Scrooge, Ford was led to a television monitor where he watched a playlist of humiliating videos past; including footage of his patois Steak Queen rant to a clip of him lobbing fistfuls of candy canes over children's heads.
Reaction to Kimmel’s interview was varied with some defending Ford as a “good sport” while others felt he was unfairly bullied by the comedian.
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Earlier, Ford also faced criticism from several Toronto city councillors who publicly criticized his decision to appear on the late-night talk show.
“I love my city. Today, it’s shamefully being represented on the world stage by a dancing circus bear,” tweeted Coun. Josh Matlow. “My apologies to dancing circus bears.”
Despite Ford’s defence that he would use Kimmel’s spotlight as a platform to boost Toronto’s film industry – to his credit he did acknowledge the city’s “booming” economy twice – Ford also seized an opportunity to bring his war against Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair to a new international level.
“Is that a good idea to dare the police chief to arrest you?” Kimmel asked.
“They follow me around for five months and came up empty handed. I just want him to come clean with the taxpayers,” Ford explained. He even pressured Blair to release a video to the public of the mayor reportedly smoking crack cocaine.
“So you spend millions of dollars following me around about a video and then you don't show it? I want the world to see it."
Kimmel then attempted to end the interview by connecting with Ford on a more human level, suggesting the mayor seek help for any alcoholism or drug-related problems and that his decision to do so could inspire others in similar circumstances.
“If you’re drinking enough to try crack in your 40s and you don’t remember it, maybe that’s something you might want to think about, like talking to somebody.”
But the mayor would have none of it.
Throwing his head back in laughter, Ford explained, “I wasn’t elected to be perfect, Jimmy.”
“I’m just a normal, average, hard-working politician that’s real,” continued Ford.
“You are not the average politician,” Kimmel responded.
Ford reportedly left L.A. complaining he was “set up,” reports The Toronto Star.
With files from The Canadian Press
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