Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's woes over crack cocaine allegations are providing plenty of late-night television fodder for Jimmy Kimmel, Jon Stewart and other comedians south of the border.
Both Jimmy Kimmel Live and Stewart's The Daily Show kicked off their U.S.-based shows Tuesday night by riffing on reports in the Toronto Star and the U.S. gossip website Gawker that a man believed by the publications to be the mayor was filmed smoking what appears to be crack cocaine.
"I know it sounds like a joke," Kimmel said during his monologue, interrupting his own setup during light laughter from his audience as he explained the controversy.
"Drug dealers showed the video to two reporters from the Star. The Star viewed the video and said it does appear to be the mayor smoking a crack pipe."
CBC News has not seen the video and has not been able to validate any of the allegations.
But lacking the actual video didn't stop Kimmel and The Daily Show host Jon Stewart from taking comedic jabs at the mayor.
'Pathological liars, eh?'
In his opening segment, Kimmel claimed to have Ford joining him live via Skype. A video splitscreen showed actor-comedian Jim O'Heir posing as Ford, sweating profusely and denying the allegations.
'Smoking crack is one of Canada's most cherished pastimes.' —Samantha Bee, The Daily Show correspondent
"These people are pathological liars, eh?" the actor, sitting in a set designed to look like a mayor's office, told Kimmel.
Kimmel then played segments from a parody video of O'Heir acting as Ford lighting up a pipe, partying in a room with a moose mascot waving a Canadian flag and proclaiming himself "Crack Man" while wearing bedsheets.
On The Daily Show, Stewart devoted more than eight minutes of air time to Ford and the latest controversy, including a highlight reel showing Ford falling while attempting to throw a football, referencing how "Oriental people work like dogs" during a speech at council chambers, and howling in pain after walking face first into a news camera.
"After repeated instances of this type of behaviour, you've gotta wonder — is this dude on crack?" Stewart quipped.
'Senior Canadian correspondents'
The show then threw to comedians Jason Jones and Samantha Bee, both billed as "senior Canadian correspondents joining us from Toronto."
"Jon, we all do it. Smoking crack is one of Canada's most cherished pastimes," Bee told The Daily Show host, who responded that he had always thought of Canada as a land of "politeness and clean streets."
Bee was born in Toronto; Jones, her husband, was born in Hamilton and studied theatre at Toronto's Ryerson University.
Ford, at the centre of what has been a string of controversies during his time in politics, has continued to deny the crack cocaine allegations and did not discuss the matter on Tuesday, when council reconvened at city hall after the long Victoria Day holiday weekend to debate the building of a controversial downtown casino.
Gawker has been trying to collect funds through online donations in a bid to buy the video from someone in Toronto who has offered to sell it.
Ford was elected mayor in the fall of 2010. He turns 44 later this month.