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Toronto’s Crack-Smoking Mayor Rob Ford: 8 American Comparisons

By The Second City | Nov 1, 2013

Toronto is boring and polite. 

That’s what we here in Toronto assume most people in the U.S. think of our city, if they think of us at all. But then in 2010, we somehow elected a cartoon character as mayor:

Rob Ford.

Mayor Ford made headlines last summer when he was allegedly filmed smoking crack. With our police chief recently confirming the existence of the elusive video evidence, not to mention Ford’s bizarre press conference Thursday where he denied… police evidence, I guess, Monday WHERE HE ADMITTED TO SMOKING CRACK, it seems a good time to try and explain ourselves.

In our defense, we also produced Drake.

As a public service to American fans of political train wrecks, I have compiled a list of 8 handy comparisons between our mayor, Rob Ford, and 8 U.S. touchstones.

In return, feel free to reciprocate with an article comparing your recent government shutdown to Degrassi Junior High.

8. Marion Barry


Pretty much the gimme example. Both are mayors of major North American cities; both were caught on tape smoking crack cocaine; both inexplicably retain a devoted following. The biggest difference is that Rob Ford’s crack video apparently does not depict him having sex, a detail for which we are all quite thankful.

7. Mike Ditka


Rob Ford is football. He loves football, speaks exclusively in football metaphors, and he even skips city council meetings to coach a high school football team… or he did, until he was fired this summer– from a volunteer job. Also, like Ford, Ditka has described himself as an “ultra-ultra-ultra conservative,” which I just learned, thanks to Wikipedia!

6. Tom Sawyer


Just like young Tom Sawyer, Ford seems to have an equal aversion to “telling the truth.” Claims of being a “straight shooter” were how he originally made a name for himself (before his name was “Crack Mayor,” or in Germany, “Der Bürgermeister Crack-Pfeife”). He ran on a platform of saving a billion dollars in city waste, cutting taxes and promising privately-funded subways. Ford accomplished none of these– but fortunately, he can (and does) claim credit for all of these!

5. Sasquatch


Rob Ford has proven nearly as elusive to the Toronto media as your Sasquatch (or as he’s known to his friends, “Johnny Bigfoot”). Mayor Ford routinely hides his schedule, forces reporters to file freedom of information requests for basic details and shows up for work after 12 p.m. and leaves by 3 p.m. Exactly like Sasquatch.

Also, photos of Ford and Sasquatch are equally blurry and unflattering.

4. Rush Limbaugh


Is your mayor a talk radio host? Ours is! He hosts a two-hour radio show every Sunday afternoon with Toronto City Councillor/ his brother/ 80s movie bully, Doug Ford. Topics of discussion with heavily pre-screened callers generally involve “how awesome Rob Ford is,” sports and conspiracy theories about Ford adversaries.

So, so Rush Limbaugh.

Also, it sounds like Rob does nearly as many drugs as Rush, so there ya go.

3. Chris Farley


If the late, great Chris Farley were still with us, he would likely win an Oscar for his portrayal of Rob Ford, based solely on physical likeness alone. (I like to assume it would be Farley’s second Oscar, having previously been recognized for his surprisingly nuanced work in Beverly Hills Ninja 2. The road not taken…)

2. Season 5 of The Wire


Toronto hasn’t seen a political scandal like this since… ever. Absolutely since ever.

Before this, our biggest “scandal” was a City Councillor renting a bunny costume (long story). But Ford’s crack saga has involved drug dealers, home invasions, dogged journalists, police raids, one gangland murder, a prison stabbing and police surveillance planes. Unsubstantiated reports also claim that Ford likes to say “Sheeeeeeeit” all the time.

1. George W. Bush


The biggest and most thorough comparison one can possibly make to Toronto’s mayor Rob Ford is America’s own Dubya. Remember him?

A successful conservative politician known for his folksy everyman touch. While running on a platform as a charismatic outsider, this career politician was in fact born to a wealthy and influential family whose connections allowed him to rise quickly through the political ranks. Though positioned to succeed in the corporate world, this man was largely a failure in the family business… until being pushed into politics. A famously anti-intellectual man who relied heavily on close advisors for policy decisions, as well as friendly conservative media to push his message directly to voters. This man has struggled publicly and privately with alcohol and cocaine.

Also, “Bush” and “Ford” are each spelled with 4 letters. NAILED IT!


Ian MacIntyre is a writer and comedian based in Toronto. IIan has written episodes for animated series, including Grojband and George of the Jungle and was a co-writer on the hit stage show Spank! A 50 Shades Parody. Since moving to Toronto, Ian has performed sketch with Approximately 3 Peters and The Sketchersons, improv with the Bad Dog Theatre, and aboard Norwegian Cruise Lines for The Second City. 

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