Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Ford, Toronto's gift to the late night talk shows

Torontonians have known ever since they elected him that their mayor was a cartoon character. This week, Hizzonner Rob Ford made the funny pages in America, getting lampooned on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart as well as Tuesday night on Jimmy Kimmel Live.
The funniest thing about the Kimmel bit, above, is that the guy playing Ford looks more like W.C. Fields. The sketch also shows the difference in libel laws in the two countries. It's doubtful 22 Minutes could get away with identifying an actor as "Rob Ford Mayor-Toronto" and then show him behaving like Charlie Sheen post-Two and a Half Men. Kimmel gets away with it by waving the Ford impersonator off as "a reasonable facsimile."
In Canada, you can't mock with the same level of impunity. Here you've got former Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke filing a lawsuit, not against comedians, but people leaving snark on the Internet. Burke's beef is that commentators and bloggers have also spread rumours he feels are libelous.
Leave it to a politician, however, to see Burke's actions as a way of shutting down the great unwashed. Following several published reports citing Brampton, Ont. politicians as among Canada's highest paid, long-time councillor Gael Miles apparently was stung by comments left by Brampton citizens at The Brampton Guardian and Toronto Star web sites.
"We should know if we would be pursuing legal action in the future," Miles huffed at a council meeting last week, according to the Guardian. Brampton taxpayers--who already pay the highest taxes in Canada--would then apparently have to foot the bill for an action taken against Brampton taxpayers for venting their frustrations on political entitlement.
Here's hoping Kimmel and Stewart keep pulling down political pants north of their border.
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