By Lauren Fogazzi and Jamie Webster
Mayor Rob Ford insists that his appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live last night was a success, he told reporters at city hall this afternoon.
“I held my own and I got my message out that I’ve saved taxpayers’ money, all my achievements. I wish I had more time to promote Toronto,” Ford is quoted to say in the Toronto Star.
Ford left for Hollywood with the intention to promote Toronto and its burgeoning film industry but Jimmy Kimmel had other intentions.
Kimmel’s jokes started out innocent enough as he compared Ford to a magician with his black suit and red tie and asked about his motives behind encouraging Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair to release the crack smoking video.
But it quickly turned into an ambush.
Ford stood by, with a red face, sweating and clearly looking uncomfortable as Kimmel played some of his most embarrassing videos, including the one of Ford threatening to murder someone. “You don’t know? You have no idea? You have that many enemies you don’t know which one this was?” Kimmel asked Ford.
The late-night host mentioned Ford’s alcohol abuse and crack smoking at the end of the segment but gave some sincere advice for the mayor who he thought seemed like a “very nice guy.”
“If you are an alcoholic, 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 talking to somebody,” Kimmel said. He added that others may be going through the same thing and Ford could be an example.
Ford replied, “I wasn’t elected to be perfect, Jimmy. I was elected to clean up the mess I inherited and that’s exactly what I have done.”’
Rumours are flourishing that Ford thought the show was a set-up to embarrass him but the Ford brothers insist it was a positive experience. They say that American audiences were laughing with him and not at him.
“The only thing we’re disappointed about is that we wanted to pump Toronto more,” said brother Councillor Doug Ford.
The brothers also assure Torontonians the trip was paid completely out of their pocket.
“We went down there…on our own dime, unlike the councilors who roam around the world on the back of the taxpayers,” he said. And Ford’s spokesman said the show paid for only one dinner.
In addition to the Kimmel show and city hall visits, part of Ford’s itinerary was to attend the 86th Academy Awards on Sunday as Kimmel’s guest, but he was nowhere to be seen on the red carpet. Ford was denied access to the awards show by security, but he still made it to an after-party and had a guest appearance on Kimmel’s post-Oscar show.
Here’s what Ryerson students had to say about Ford on Kimmel: