TORONTO — Mayor Rob Ford rejected suggestions on Tuesday that late-night TV comedian Jimmy Kimmel had humiliated him, and denied needing help for substance abuse.
Speaking at city hall after his foray to Los Angeles, an upbeat Ford sloughed off Kimmel’s reruns of several embarrassing videos and his suggestion the mayor find someone to talk to about his addictions.
“I don’t have any personal issues,” Ford said.
“We’ve gone down that road a number of times.”
For much of his 15-minute appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” late Monday, the mayor looked uncomfortable as the comedian razzed him over a serious of incidents that have garnered Ford worldwide attention.
“Our first guest tonight has tripped, bumped, danced, argued and smoked his way into our national consciousness,” Kimmel said by way of introduction.
Ford said he had received a “lot of support” following his appearance and denied that Kimmel had made a fool out of him.
“I knew I was going into a lion’s den but I held my own,” the mayor said.
Kimmel drew laughs from the studio audience by playing several videos that have gone viral, including ones from a meeting in which Ford mimes a drunk driver, dances in council chambers and almost knocks down a fellow councillor.
“This has become old news,” Ford said of the videos.
At one point, Kimmel played a cellphone video of Ford ranting about wanting to kill someone.
Ford indicated he had no idea who the target of his wrath was.
“You have that many enemies that you don’t know which one this was?” an incredulous Kimmel asked.
The comedian quizzed Ford on the numerous occasions the mayor has had to apologize for behaviour that includes smoking crack in a drunken stupor and uttering profanities on national television.
Time and again, however, Ford trotted out his mantra about how he saves taxpayers money and how hard he works for his constituents.
When they say jump, Ford told Kimmel, he only asks, “How high?”
“Realistically, how high can you jump?” Kimmel interjected.
Ford described himself as a “normal, average, hard-working politician that’s real.”
“You are not the average politician my friend,” Kimmel retorted.
The comedian cited an email from one Toronto resident, who wrote that Ford’s appearance on the show was “a slap to all Torontonians,” and referred to “domestic abuse, drunk driving, racism, homophobia and inability to tell the truth.”
“Is that all I got?” Ford responded.
Ford’s councillor brother Doug Ford, who accompanied the mayor on the trip to L.A., said Tuesday that the late-night TV show was like a “church picnic” and seized on Kimmel’s pronouncement that Ford was the “most wonderful mayor” he had ever witnessed.
“Jimmy Kimmel, as he said, ’You’re the best mayor’,” Doug Ford said.
“He was sincere when he said that.”
Coun. Ford insisted both the studio audience and “unbiased” Americans they met on the trip to Los Angeles thought the mayor a great guy.
“They went bananas for Rob,” he said. “Every person we talked to was positive.”