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Mayor Rob Ford arrives at Toronto City Hall on Nov 22, 2013.Fernando Morales/The Globe and Mail

You know you are in trouble when a former president of the United States laughs out loud at your predicament. When one of the world's biggest movie stars mocks you on late-night television, you have reached a whole new level of notoriety.

Rob Ford's expanding fame continues to amaze. His Worship may be the best-known Canadian right now, apart perhaps from Justin Bieber. He is certainly the most famous Canadian politician (Stephen Who?). Everyone knows the "crack-smoking mayor of Toronto," as some U.S. news outlets have taken to calling him.

Will Ferrell's Ron Burgundy dedicates a song to his "dear, dear, dear friend, Mayor Rob Ford of Toronto." George W. Bush throws his head back in helpless mirth when asked by Jay Leno if he has any advice for the mayor. Jennifer Lawrence joins Martha Stewart and others to read a "statement" from Mr. Ford, lingering over that world-famous excuse, "drunken stupor."

On Friday, Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly told CP24 that the Fords are becoming "the Kardashians of Canada." Doug Ford says they have actually been approached to do a reality show.

Journalists from around the world have been visiting sports bars in deepest Etobicoke to try to figure out how Mr. Ford ever got elected, why we can't seem to get rid of him and why, oh why, do so many people still support him?

The world is amused by the Ford spectacle but also a little bewildered. How can a city that boasts of its status as a pillar of stability, in a country whose brand is peace, order and government, fall into such dysfunction?

"There is chaos in Toronto right now," says Bill O'Reilly of Fox News, introducing a segment in which a manic Mr. Ford distinguishes himself by dismissing Obamacare as just "crazy."

The New York Times remarks on how a "cosmopolitan city" known for its "general placidity" finds itself in such a mess. In a segment titled Der Burgermeister, der Crack raucht (The mayor who smokes crack), Germany's ZDF television marvels that this God-fearing city was once called Toronto the Good and "New York run by the Swiss."

But the unkindest cut comes from a Florida sheriff. Bradford County's Gordon Smith announces the arrest of a local small-town mayor on drug charges. "We will not tolerate illegal drug activity," he says. "This isn't Toronto." Ouch.

When the Ford scandal first blew up a month ago, the consensus was that it would have only a fleeting impact on Toronto's image, and next to none on its economic health. But as the scandal drags, the mayor clings to office and he grows into a global celebrity, doubts are creeping in.

This city has a lot going for it and the Ford affair is only a passing distraction, but couldn't it pass a little quicker? We are well past our 15 minutes. Mr. Ford may be "lovin' it," as he told The O'Reilly Factor, but it makes the rest of us yearn for when we were dull.

Sheriff Gordon says he feels sorry for our "beautiful city." He told the Toronto Sun's Don Peat that Mr. Ford should have quit long ago. "He should have had the cojones to go ahead and resign and say: 'Hey, I messed up, I represent the people, the people are the ones that elect me and I've messed up and I've brought shame and therefore I'm going to step down and do the right thing.' Sometimes in life it just comes down to do the right thing."

The sheriff nailed it.

Marcus Gee is a columnist covering Toronto's city hall.