Year in Review: All the best Rob Ford songs, videos, artwork and jokes of 2013
This was the year Rob Ford became more than just a local celebrity. For good or ill, the mayor is now a Toronto icon on the scale of the CN Tower. He said he’d make this city world class, and, in a way, he did—by turning himself into the global face of political incompetence and showboating intransigence.
Along with the mayor’s crack-fuelled fame, there came an unprecedented amount of pop-culture tie-ins, artwork and jokes. Ford’s face has appeared on late-night comedy shows, t-shirts and bobbleheads. He’s been the subject of songs, and of animated videos. There’s even a guy who actually got a picture of the mayor’s face tattooed on his thigh.
With the next mayoral campaign off to an official start on January 2, the coming year promises to add plenty more Ford memes to the heap. That’s why now is a perfect time to look back on a year’s worth of the mayor’s pop-cultural detritus, before it’s all forgotten amidst 2014’s fresh crop of scandals and gaffes. Click through to see a collection of all the best of the Ford stuff from 2013.
Part One: the Rob Ford songs »
Mayor Ford (The World Will Remember), by Jenny James
This seemingly sincere Rob Ford tribute song by local singer-songwriter Jenny James made its grand debut in July, at the Scarborough edition of Ford Fest, Ford’s annual public barbeque. Backed by her band, James sang the tune—which praises Ford for being “the taxpayer’s lord” and a “rollback viceroy,” among other things—to a crowd of a few hundred of the mayor’s supporters.
Toronto is Strong, by De Carra
This ditty, by Toronto calypso artist De Carra, debuted at 2013’s second Ford Fest, at Centennial Park in Etobicoke. It obliquely references the then-unproven allegations that Ford had smoked crack, calling them a “pack of lies.”
Rob Ford Opera, by Topher Mokrzewski
Rob Ford’s mayoralty has been characterized by so much tragicomic weirdness that it’s not too difficult to imagine it being turned into a stage drama of some kind, but this opera adaptation takes the story in an unexpectedly highbrow direction. The music is based on Bizet’s Carmen, and it was recorded for CBC’s Day 6.
Rob Ford Crack Remix, by DJ Steve Porter
Autotuning and remixing news segments has become a little cliché, but this danceable version of Rob Ford’s crack confession is a genuine earworm. Sample lyrics: “I want to be hiiiiigh / And smoke nooooow / And I want to smoke a thousand poooounds.”
Rob Ford Rap, by Shit!
This is a rap about Rob Ford, done by local hip-hop hero D-Sisive. He released the track under a new monicker.
Crack Mayor Smoking in the Dead of Night, by The Brunswick Project
The obligatory Beatles parody. The song and video were made for Bite.ca.
The Ballad of Rob Ford, by Chris Daughtry
And here’s a soul-stirring ode to Rob Ford’s legend, performed for an international audience on Jimmy Kimmel Live!
Rob Ford’s Campaign Song, by Ron Burgundy (a.k.a. Will Ferrell)
Remember that time Will Ferrell sang “Rob Ford’s campaign song,” in character as Ron Burgundy?
Next: the videos »
Rob Ford Does the Most Epic of Splits
This video by Artjail is a parody of Volvo’s commercial with Jean Claude Van Damme. Maybe, if Rob Ford keeps hitting the gym, he too will one day possess “a body crafted to perfection.”
This surprisingly detailed stop-motion animation was done by Toronto’s Cuppa Coffee Studios as a sort of coked-up advertisement for its other video services.
Rob Ford: The Movie
Rob Ford is the role Chris Farley was born to play—or would have been born to play had he not died before Ford’s rise to prominence. It’s a shame we’ll never get to see those Saturday Night Live segments (Bobby Moynihan and his terrible Canadian accent are no consolation), but at least we’ve got this fake trailer for a Rob Ford biopic with Farley in the title role.
Rob Ford’s Perfect Day
Have you ever wanted to see Rob Ford twerk with Miley Cyrus? No? Well, tough.
Rob Ford’s weirdest interview ever
Rob Ford is constantly in the news, but it’s rare for him to sit down with a journalist for a one-on-one talk. One of the few people to be granted that honour in 2013 was The O’Reilly Factor’s Jesse Watters. The resulting interview, which aired in November, is one of the weirdest and most embarrassing of Ford’s career. He sweats, he giggles, he tries to ingratiate himself with Watters. It’s a little hard to watch.
All the Taiwanese Animations
By our count, Taiwan-based Next Media Animation has made eight separate computer-animated shorts about Rob Ford’s various crack-related scrapes. For the most part, the videos were astonishingly detailed (at least, considering the fact that the people who made them have likely never been within 500 miles of Toronto) and incredibly zany—although the latest video’s tone was considerably darker. The first short in the series is embedded above, and here are links to the rest of them:
• Rob Ford crack smoking video: Crackstarter campaign hits goal
• Rob Ford’s drunk Greek life, and the Toronto mayor’s trip to jail
• Rob Ford’s crack smoking video finally found by police!
• Rob Ford crack admission raises popularity! Toronto is crazy
• Rob Ford eats beaver and smokes crack, video not attractive
• Rob Ford stripped!… of most mayoral powers
• The Death of a Mayor: The Tragic End of Rob Ford
Next: the websites »
Early this year, before Rob Ford won his conflict of interest appeal, one could never be sure whether or not he was legally the mayor of Toronto at any given time of day. IsRobFordStillMayor.com elegantly catered to the needs of Torontonians during that complicated time, and it gained new relevance in May, when we briefly thought he might resign over all the crack stuff.
Probably the most ambitious Rob Ford-related web project of the year, MayorFord.info is an exhaustively researched, beautifully designed, chronological account of many of Ford’s major embarrassments, from 1987 to mid-November. The site hasn’t been updated in a few weeks, but we have it on good authority that it will be revived in some form.
In the vein of IsRobFordStillMayor.com, this website asks a simple question, and provides a simple answer.
Truthful Statements That Doug Ford Has Made
Why is it that the majority of these Ford-related websites are essentially minimalist art pranks? Anyhow, click the link and you’ll get the joke.
Rob Ford Sound Board
All your favourite Rob Ford soundbites in one place, each available at the click of a button. Mix your own crack denial! Amaze your friends!
Next: the artwork »
Councillor Gary Crawford’s portrait of Ford
Many of Rob Ford’s one-time allies abandoned him this year as his mayoralty lurched, zombielike, from one scandal to the next. But not Ward 36 councillor Gary Crawford, whose loyalty to the mayor has at times seemed a little sycophantic and odd. Things got especially strange over the summer, when Crawford, who is a part-time artist, began live-tweeting his weeks-long effort to paint Ford’s portrait. After days of 140-character messages about using oil paints to create “an essence of what I felt is the man,” Crawford finally presented the finished painting to Ford’s mom during a press conference at city hall.
Ford’s appearance in Mad Magazine
Rob Ford attracted a lot of coverage from important international press organs this year, but, in a weird way, the biggest deal of all was when he turned up in Mad Magazine. All you have to do in order to get your name in the New York Times, after all, is die or get married. Mad is a little tougher to crack (no pun intended). The illustration above accompanied a short sidebar titled, “Signs Your Mayor Smokes Crack.”
Giant coke lines in Nathan Phillips Square
The mayor even inspired some conceptual street art this year. These enormous lines of “coke,” complete with a giant rolled-up $20 bill, were discovered in Nathan Phillips Square in November.
The Rob Ford tattoo
This video is absolutely terrifying for all sorts of reasons, but mostly because it ends with a guy getting a picture of Rob Ford hitting a crack pipe tattooed onto his thigh.
The Rob Ford crack pipe
Where some see a catastrophic political and personal blunder, others see a branding opportunity. Smoking out of this thing would be like playing basketball in a pair of Air Jordans.
And, of course, graffiti
Ford continued to inspire graffiti artists this year. The volume of new work is too huge to delve into in any detail, but here’s a nice piece by Deadboy.
And here’s a piece by SPUD, one of the mayor’s most dedicated spray-can-wielding critics.
Next: the t-shirts »
The world’s most outspoken advocate of good times rightly perceives that while Rob Ford’s mayoring skills are questionable, he is, at the very least, an extremely hard partier.
This is one of the few Rob Ford t-shirts that would actually make sense if worn by Rob Ford.
The shirt that earned a rebuke from Ford Motor Company
It's amazing that @FordCanada endorses Ford Nation T-shirts when the mayor drives a GM SUV! #topoli pic.twitter.com/KaOD02tSGw
— catfish8888 (@catfish8888) November 12, 2013
This shirt is a very special one, because it became a minor news story in its own right. The Ford Motor Company was none too happy to have its logo associated with a crack-smoking politician.
Perfect for any occasion, as long as it doesn’t involve being around kids or leaving your house.
Next: the late-night talk shows »
The Late-Night Talk Shows:
There’s no way we could catalogue every single late-night segment about Rob Ford. There have been far too many, and some of them have been purged from the internet by the companies that hold their copyrights. Here, though, are the best of the best.
The Colbert Report, November 5
The Daily Show‘s Rob Ford segment from November 5 seems, sadly, to have been scoured from the face of YouTube, but here’s Stephen Colbert’s equally brilliant take on the mayor’s crack confession. Ford gets called a “Chris Farley tribute mayor,” which is harsh. But at least Colbert didn’t say “embattled”—a Ford descriptor that’s getting to be a little overused.
The Colbert Report, November 14
Colbert’s reaction to Ford’s “more than enough to eat at home” comment is truly priceless.
The Daily Show, November 14
And here’s Jon Stewart from the same night, reacting to Ford’s cunnilingus gaffe with a solid 30 seconds of amazing schtick. This one is so classic that it practically belongs in the Toronto Archives.
The Daily Show, November 19
November 19th’s Daily Show segment about Ford seems to have disappeared from the internet (it doesn’t appear to be on YouTube, and it has been removed from Comedy Network’s website), which is a real shame, because because it was one of this year’s better pieces of late-night Ford coverage. The show sent Jessica Williams, one of its correspondents, to Toronto. While she was here, she conducted an interview with a hilariously poker-faced councillor John Parker. If you happen to know where a video of the segment can be found, let us know and we’ll embed it here.
The Late Show With David Letterman, November 27
This clip of Jennifer Lawrence, Jonah Hill, Martha Stewart and other celebrities reciting lines from Ford’s crack confession is one of the more surreal things to come out of the crack-scandal news cycle to date.
Next: the animated GIFs »
The Animated GIFs:
The camera smash
On April 15, Ford left a meeting of his executive committee and attempted to walk through a thick media scrum. And then this happened.
Versus Hulk Hogan
On August 23, Ford made a special appearance at Fan Expo, where he met and arm wrestled Hulk Hogan. Ford won, but many suspect that Hogan threw the match, in true pro-wrestling style.
This GIF captures an interesting moment from the November 18 special meeting of city council, during which Rob Ford was stripped of most of his mayoral powers. What Ford is doing is here is miming drunk driving. He’s trying to mock councillor Paul Ainslie, whose license was suspended for three days after he was caught driving with a blood-alcohol level slightly below the legal limit. Ironically, Ford himself has been accused of drinking and driving. A former staffer told police he once watched the mayor guzzle a mickey of vodka, then get behind the wheel of his car.
Here’s another GIFable thing that happened at the November 18 special meeting of city council. The woman in green is councillor Pam McConnell. She’s reportedly still experiencing lingering pain from the collision.
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