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No laughs from Rob Ford in CBC comedy ambush

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford had a rough start to the week.

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford had a rough start to the week.

He called 911 after being accosted outside his Etobicoke home around 8 a.m. on Monday as he was leaving for a council meeting at City Hall.

The attackers turned out to be from the CBC comedy show This Hour Has 22 Minutes, which specializes in catching politicians unaware. By the time the police arrived, the TV crew and Ford had gone.

According to a neighbour, a woman brandishing a microphone jumped out of a dark blue Jeep and ran yelling toward Ford’s driveway with a cameraman in tow.

The woman was 22 Minutes alumna Mary Walsh, in character as her alter ego Marg Delahunty and dressed as the outlandishly-attired Marg, Warrior Princess, CBC spokesperson Chris Ball confirmed.

Ford, who has received death threats in recent months, was furious at the ambush, saying he had no idea who was coming at him.

Ford told reporters his daughter, Stephanie, 5, was with him and was frightened when Walsh came running. The mayor said he heard the woman yelling, “We’ve got you Rob Ford, we got you,” adding the crew was in his driveway and blocked him from getting in his car. He retreated into his house and called 911.

“I’m open to games, I have no problem. But when you come to my private house early in the morning and ambush me, I think that crosses a line,” Ford said.

The mayor’s office later called a 22 Minutes producer to complain and a CBC lawyer returned the call, a Ford source said.

Next door neighbour Zdravko Gagro said police arrived about 10 or 20 minutes after the incident.

The show had called Ford’s office in the past asking if he would make an appearance and was told it was a possibility, the source said, adding Ford has a sense of humour and would have played along if he knew what was happening and it wasn’t on his driveway.

Walsh left 22 Minutes in 2004 but has returned occasionally, such as in 2009 when she ambushed former Alaska governor Sarah Palin at an Ohio book signing.

CBC spokesperson Ball said Walsh was looking to conduct a surprise interview with Ford for an upcoming segment of the show about Movember, the annual campaign in which participants grow moustaches to support men’s health.

“We do these types of interviews in a bunch of different locations with a bunch of politicians across the spectrum,” Ball said. “It’s something that’s become a part of public life in Canada.

“They’re one of the more lighthearted moments of being a public official.”

Ford, however, wasn’t seeing the humour.

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