Please Advise! What Should Rob Ford's Agent Have Him Do Next?

Spin doc Steve ponders some crack projects for the rising star.

By Steve Burgess 20 Nov 2013 | TheTyee.ca

Steve Burgess writes about politics and culture for The Tyee. Find his previous columns here.

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One 'Ford Nation' down, one to go. But don't expect Mayor Infamy to disappear anytime soon.

[Editor's note: Steve Burgess is an accredited spin doctor with a Ph.D in Centrifugal Rhetoric from the University of SASE, situated on the lovely campus of PO Box 7650, Cayman Islands. In this space he dispenses PR advice to politicians, the troubled and well-heeled, the wealthy and gullible.]

Dear Dr. Steve,

I am an agent with the successful Hollywood firm of LCD Talent Management. And I'm very excited to announce my latest signing: international superstar Rob Ford!

I'm seeking suitable projects for my client. Brainstorm with me, Doc -- what sorts of packages can I put together for the big guy?


Hari Gold
Sunset Blvd., LA

Dear Hari,

You, sir, are a visionary. Let the timid moralists wag fingers -- this is a bold move. You've obviously run the numbers. A "Rob Ford Please Resign" demonstration drew a few dozen protesters to Toronto City Hall last weekend. Meanwhile the "Rob Ford Please Do More Crazy Shit" crowd is online, eating more bandwidth than Netflix. People whine whenever Ford does stuff like knock over Councillor Pam McConnell at Monday's council meeting. Let's be fair here -- Rob Ford did not attack a city councillor. He accidentally body-checked her while attempting to attack a voter. Such is the fate of any who would interfere with Mayor Ford's attempts to connect with the public.

Meanwhile, you have got yourself one hot property. Rob Ford is the lead skit on Saturday Night Live, the lead story on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart night after night, featured on CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC -- he's everywhere, like Santa Claus.

Scratch that -- that's just about the one gig he got rejected for. At the request of organizers, Mayor Ford did not attend Toronto's Santa Claus Parade last weekend. How shortsighted! Your new client is absolutely perfect for Santa-related gigs. Recall Clement Moore's classic verse in A Visit from St. Nicholas:

"The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook, when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly."

This is the guy you want to ban from a Santa Claus parade? If Rob Ford isn't a perfect Santa Claus, neither is Billy Bob Thornton.

And talk about a sackful of fun. Every day it's a new webisode. After Toronto police confirmed the existence of the crack video, Ford announced, "I have nothing left to hide," a statement that now ranks with Tricky Dick's 1962 declaration, "You won't have Nixon to kick around anymore."

Unclassified police documents have since revealed such a litany of alleged bacchanalian malfeasance that future Ford denials will have to be very specific: "But I NEVER did crack & smack at city hall simultaneously while partying with a bevy of prostitutes and/or physically assaulting more than three staffers. In the broom closet. While wearing a blue tie."

'Tonight, on Ford Nation!'

Do-gooders say Rob Ford is a criminal. I say your client is being criminally under-exploited by the entertainment industry. He did have one TV property: the short-lived Ford Nation show on Sun News Network. Alas, it's been cancelled.

The debut episode on Monday did show potential. Ford and his brother Doug spent half-an-hour talking about how the real problem in Toronto is pretty much everybody not named Ford. When asked about personal problems, Rob Ford replied that he deals with them all the time -- in the many troubled youth to whom he lends guidance. It was remarkable. Any TV network can do some phony science fiction show. But an actual camera feed from an alternate universe? Even Star Trek never pulled that off.

But that's old news now. Your client is still a hot property -- he can do better. Sun News is small time. The next Ford should be on TLC. You need a good lead-in, like Honey Boo Boo or that show about the guy with the 132-pound scrotum. Then get some good writers on it. With a little work we can come up with another Honeymooners, or Odd Couple or maybe X-Files. Here's a few potential episode summaries I came up with:

"Tonight on Ford Nation: When brother Doug's pussycat goes missing, suspicion naturally falls on noted feline-fancier Rob!"

"Hilarity ensues when Rob suffers amnesia and can't remember which incidents he's denied and which ones he's apologized for!"

"In a drunken stupor Rob accidentally drinks Doug's pet goldfish! Now he must find an identical one! Also more vodka."

And so on.

Whatever projects you decide on, you have a star on your hands. Just one problem -- Ford recently told John Roberts of Fox News that he would like to be prime minister someday. When that happens, Mr. Gold, they can close down the movie theatres in this country. There will be no more sitcoms. People will watch CPAC all day, every day. Actors will starve. Agents like yourself will be picking fruit.

And let's be honest -- we'll all vote for him. We can't help it now. We're hooked. Hopelessly addicted. Watching Rob Ford is almost like... I don't know, potato chips, or cigarettes, or... what? Help me out here...  [Tyee]

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