ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - The picturesque Newfoundland town of Dildo is attracting unprecedented international attention over its name, as late night comedian Jimmy Kimmel continues his televised quest to become its mayor.
Andrew Pretty, a committee member for the local service district, said jokes about Dildo's name are nothing new, but the spotlight has intensified since Kimmel's first segments on the community aired this month.
"I can't ever remember the amount of attention we're getting right now," Pretty said. "You would get a little bit of attention, but nothing drastic."
Earlier this month, the comedian played a local news clip on tourism businesses in Dildo on his show, Jimmy Kimmel Live, and declared his fascination with everything about the place.
"How did we not know about this? I feel like Canada’s been hiding their Dildo from us," Kimmel said.
The show has since featured more segments on the place Kimmel has become "entranced" with, including interviews with residents — Pretty among them — and an original song about Dildo by another resident.
In the same segment, Jimmy Kimmel Live correspondent Guillermo Rodriguez installed a sign outside the studio naming Dildo a sister city to Hollywood.
Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Dwight Ball got in on the joke Monday with a tweet officially inviting Kimmel to visit the province, promising the comedian that he would fall in love with the place.
"What are you waiting for?" he asked the comedian "How about I extend an official invite to come check out our incredible province. August is too hot in LA, and you need a break from that terrible traffic."
Kimmel tweeted back thanking him for the invitation and using Ball's name in another double entendre.
"My emissary ... is on the ground in Newfoundland and the whole Kimmel family looks forward to seeing the Balls in #Dildo," Kimmel's tweet read.
Pretty said crews from the show are in Dildo, about 60 kilometres west of St. John's, this week posting "Kimmel for mayor" signs and producing segments for at least two more episodes.
He said some residents are concerned the jokes about their home might become too vulgar, but he said dirty jokes are not what the show's producers seem to have in mind.
"Most people are happy about it. Some people are a little concerned that it's going to get too dirty," Pretty said. "Ninety per cent of the people are really happy about the attention the community is getting."
The exact origin of Dildo's name is unknown, and local residents have their own theories about its meaning. Pretty said the earliest record of the name is from 1711.
Residents, who number 1,234 according to Canada's latest census, doubt the original meaning is connected to the sex toy that comes to mind today. But Pretty said there's a sense of pride about the unique name, putting a stop to past discussions about renaming Dildo.
Dildo's road signs have been stolen many times over the years, and Pretty said Jimmy Kimmel's mayoral signs have become the latest targets of theft. He said residents have volunteered to post signs on their properties, embracing the community's moment in the limelight.
As a local service district, Dildo does not have a mayor and would require significant restructuring to allow for one, but Pretty said most residents are still having fun with the comedian's campaign and the attention on Dildo.
He said the town has been busy over the last week greeting visitors who heard about the place through Kimmel's segments, even some Newfoundlanders from other parts of the province who had just learned of Dildo's existence.
Regardless of how Dildo ends up on a tourist's or comedian's itinerary, Pretty said people who visit for a laugh or a photo with a road sign are quickly won over by the beautiful scenery and friendly residents.
"They soon realize there's a lot more to Dildo than just the name," he said.