Coun. Doug Ford insisted Tuesday that American audiences are laughing with Rob Ford, not at him, after the Toronto mayor made an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live, a late night talk show on ABC.
"Jimmy Kimmel — nice guy. Compared to the Toronto media, that was like a church picnic," said the councillor about his brother's appearance on the show, on location in Los Angeles.
"The only thing we're disappointed about," Ford continued, "is that we wanted to pump Toronto more."
The mayor was ridiculed by Kimmel for months before Monday's appearance. When Toronto's mayor was in the interview chair, the jokes at his expense continued.
Kimmel made fun of Ford's weight, perspiration, drug use, behaviour inside and outside of council chambers and his general appearance. For instance, "Why are you dressed like a magician?" was the first question the comedian asked Ford, who wore a black suit, black shirt and a red tie with a red pocket square.
"The audience went bananas for Rob, they loved him," his brother said. "Texts were coming through, phone calls were coming through, saying: 'Hey, that was positive.'"
At the end of the interview, Kimmel urged the mayor to seek help if he has a substance abuse problem. "That's Jimmy's opinion," said Doug Ford in response. "Rob's looking very healthy."
He added that his brother was exercising, while he and his other brother, Randy, slept in the hotel.
The councillor said that behind the scenes, Kimmel was a gracious host.
He also defended the trip to California as a way to promote the city.
"We went down there ... on our own dime, unlike the councillors who roam around the world on the back of the taxpayers," he said.