ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - After weeks broadcasting his passion for Dildo, N.L., late night comedian Jimmy Kimmel was named "honourary mayor" Thursday night and made a commitment to visit the community.
A gaggle of residents and politicians appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live Thursday, offering the comedian a key to the community before setting off fireworks over the picturesque Dildo Cove.
Andrew Pretty, a committee member for the local service district, assured Kimmel that his new title will not involve any actual work, aside from an eventual visit to the province.
"We're going to give you the honour, but you've still got to come to Newfoundland at some point," Pretty told Kimmel.
The TV host accepted the deal, vowing to be a fair and kind mayor.
"That goes without saying — I'm definitely coming," the comedian replied. "I am honoured to be honourary and the mayor."
Dildo has been bustling with visitors since Kimmel began running segments on the "magical place" that shares its name with a sex toy, declaring his intent to become mayor after learning the local service district does not have one.
Producers have been in Dildo this week to put up "Kimmel for Mayor" signs and meet residents, with the host noting that the running joke has cost network ABC about $100,000.
Jimmy Kimmel Live correspondent Guillermo Rodriguez accepted the key to Dildo on behalf of the host after taking part in a Screech-in ceremony to become an honourary Newfoundlander by kissing a cod and taking a shot of rum.
"Jimmy, I'm very sad to leave these people. They're very friendly and I love them," Rodriguez told the host during the segment.
Dildo, located about 60 kilometres west of St. John's, is accustomed to jokes about its name. Its road signs have been photo destinations and targets of theft over the years. But residents share a certain pride in their home's unique name, rejecting proposals to rename the town, which has a population of 1,234 according to Canada's latest census.
Kimmel's televised campaign has thrust the community into an unprecedented limelight that residents seem to be basking in. Pretty said earlier this week that people were volunteering to display Kimmel signs on their properties in a show of Dildo pride, and some have cashed in on the surging Dildo frenzy by selling merchandise.
Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Dwight Ball appeared on the show Thursday along with local politicians, boasting of his province's "amazing" people.
"That is for sure, you've got wonderful people," Kimmel agreed to applause.
Kimmel closed Thursday's segment by thanking residents for welcoming him and unveiling his gift to the town: a Hollywood-like Dildo sign, erected on a hilltop overlooking the community.
"Thank you my brothers and sisters in Dildo, you've been very kind. I'm proud to be your mayor and I will come to visit my fellow Dildodians very soon," he said.