Toronto’s controversial mayor is getting the celebrity treatment on a surprise trip to Los Angeles.
Rob Ford touched down in Tinseltown on Saturday and was greeted by late-night talk show jokester Jimmy Kimmel, who wore a chauffeur’s cap and held a sign reading “FORD.”
Ford’s two brothers, Toronto city Councillor Doug Ford and Randy Ford, joined him on the trip.
The mayor told reporters he’d “love to” to attend the Oscars on Sunday, and will also appear on Kimmel’s show – which has repeatedly ribbed the headline-grabbing Ford – Monday night.
When asked if he was taking Ford as his Oscar guest, a chuckling Kimmel replied “absolutely, wherever he wants to go.”
But Doug Ford told TV station CP24 on Sunday that Ford won’t be taking a seat at the glitzy movie awards but aims to attend Oscar parties, including Kimmel’s. He said the California visit is meant to promote Toronto as “Hollywood North.”
The CBC reported the councillor said costs for the trip were split between the family and Kimmel’s show, and taxpayers wouldn’t be paying “a penny of it.”
Rob Ford said that after many requests he finally agreed to be a guest on Kimmel’s show because the host personally asked him.
Passersby snapped photos while Ford and Kimmel bantered as they made their way through the airport.
“I’m happy to have you here,” Kimmel told Ford.
“Thank you, thank you. We’re going to have a good time,” replied the mayor.
An upbeat Ford played along with Kimmel’s gag, slipping him a tip before hopping in a waiting vehicle.
Ford, who is running for re-election, rocketed to the attention of the international media after his bombshell revelation last year that he smoked crack while in office – an admission seized upon by wise-cracking late-night hosts in the U.S.
And in yet another sign he’s become the rare Canadian politician with name recognition stateside, a larger-than-life replica of Ford smoking a crack pipe was featured front and centre Friday in a Mardi Gras parade float sending up Canadian celebrities.