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Ahmadinejad raises profile in US with string of chat show appearances

Arts & Entertainment

Ahmadinejad raises profile in US with string of chat show appearances

Iranian premier appears on Jimmy Fallon, The View, Sesame Street and Ellen in publicity drive

Ahmadinejad was praised for his grasp of current affairs on The View, although he was laughed at for still thinking Jennifer Aniston was single

NEW YORK: Having made his final address to the UN General Assembly on Wednesday, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wasted no time in capitalising on his US visit, going on a publicity drive that has stunned millions of television viewers.

Just minutes after leaving the podium at the 67th session of the General Assembly, the Iranian president was whisked to the NBC studios in New York to pre-record an appearance on the Late Night with Jimmy Fallon show. The six-minute segment saw the chat show host jostle with Ahmadinejad over his anti-Israeli rhetoric, although the two put their differences aside in agreement over Lady Gaga’s current issues with weight.

“Mahmoud’s actually a very witty guy,” said Fallon after the show. “He had us rolling in the aisles backstage and I’m sure if he were to drop a few of his gags and anecdotes next time he’s addressing the world, his whole nuclear thing might not go down so badly.”

Ahmadinejad’s next stop was ABC for a session on daytime talk show The View, in which he joined Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar and Elisabeth Hasselback round the table for a discussion about the Greek economy and JK Rowling’s first novel for adults.

Producers praised Ahmadinejad’s grasp of current affairs, although he was criticised for still believing actress Jennifer Aniston was single, with the president adding “I can’t see that lasting,” and rolling his eyes when he found out, much to amusement of the audience.

After a brief pitstop in Sesame Street to introduce a segment with Elmo entitled Z is for Zionist, Ahmadinejad then boarded a private plane to Los Angeles, where he spoke candidly to Ellen DeGeneres on her self-titled show.

“There’s so much about Mahmoud you just don’t know,” explained the lesbian entertainer after filming. “He’s a complex kind of guy and I look forward to speaking to him again.”

The final stop on Ahmadinejad’s hectic schedule was to studios in Burbank for a cameo role in Two And A Half Men. Although the episode won’t air for another few weeks, sources say the Iranian premier plays Ashton Kutcher’s annoying new neighbour.

“He keeps knocking on Ashton’s door asking if he can borrow some enriched uranium, it’s totally side-splitting,” said one.

Ahmadinejad is believed to be eyeing a move to the US when his current term in office ends, and several Middle East experts expect he might look to use his international image to enter the lucrative television sector.

“Mahmoud’s recent round of appearances will definitely have raised his profile among TV executives,” said Hollywood analyst Levi Goldstein, adding that he could be lining up to step in when the next chat show host seat becomes available.

“You know, controversy certainly helps boosts ratings, and Ahmadinejad makes Charlie Sheen look like Snow White,” he chuckled.

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