Mayor Rob Ford, who has parlayed profane rants and confessions of crack-smoking and drunken stupors into international celebrity status, was set to make a guest appearance Monday on an American late-night talk show.
The scheduled appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” is the culmination of months of wooing of Ford to appear as a guest of Kimmel, who has repeatedly skewered the Toronto mayor.
In a brief snippet on his show Sunday, the late night TV comedian could barely contain himself.
“I’ve never been more excited about a guest than I am for this one — our guest (Monday) night will be Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, that is right,” Kimmel said.
At that point to audience cheers, a grinning Ford, dressed in a tuxedo, emerged on stage.
“You’re on the show tomorrow night,” Kimmel said.
“Oh, I’m sorry, Jimmy,” Ford responded, before waving at the enthusiastic crowd and disappearing backstage.
Actor Kevin Spacey, who then sat down with Kimmel, took a few jabs of his own at the mayor.
“That’s the first time I’ve had to follow a Ford,” Spacey quipped. “And one that was so banged up.”
When Kimmel thanked Spacey for sharing a dressing rooming with the mayor, Spacey responded, “Well, he threw up all over it, but those are the chances you take.”
Ford is booked as the main guest on Monday’s show — along with the furry Muppet character “Gonzo.”
The show’s co-executive producer Jason Schrift said Ford has been a media fixture.
“We stay on top of any story that seems to have legs,” Schrift said Sunday.
Since stories emerged last May of a video showing Ford smoking what appears to be crack cocaine, Kimmel has relied on the mayor for a mountain of monologue material.
When council in November voted to strip Ford of most of his mayoral powers but allowed him to represent the city at official functions, Kimmel quipped: “That’s the one I would be worried about.”
Kimmel, who once joked that Ford was his “favourite new reality show,” took another swipe at Ford in January, after a video surfaced showing an incoherent mayor using Jamaican swear words and other profanities, some directed at Toronto’s police chief.
“Just when you thought he couldn’t possibly pull another nugget out of his bag of crazy, he gets drunk and speaks Jamaican,” Kimmel said.
“When you’re the best, that’s what you do.”
Ford’s spokesman, Amin Massoudi, said Monday Toronto taxpayers were not on the hook for the mayor’s trip, which included three members of his city hall staff and his councillor brother, Doug Ford.
“Mayor Ford and Coun. Ford are paying for themselves and the staff,” Massoudi said.
“The ‘Jimmy Kimmel’ show paid for one dinner.”
Walking down Hollywood Boulevard checking out the Walk of Fame on Sunday, Ford was spotted by a CNN camera crew covering the Oscars and asked why he was in L.A.
“We are Hollywood North and we have a great city and we want people to come and visit our city, and make movies, and see the great theatres and restaurants we have and sporting venues and, you know, we have a responsible government there, too.” Ford said.
“Jimmy Kimmel Live” airs Monday night at 11:35 p.m. on ABC and City.