Da Ali G ShowLatest News and Opinion
Posted Monday 7/16/18 at 7:14AM EDT
On Who Is America?, Sacha Baron Cohen's characters feel right at home amid 2018 absurdities
Cohen's new Showtime series had a tough task in 2018 America because the ridiculous and absurd have become mainstream. "Given the tone of American politics these days, getting audiences to laugh at their eccentricities is a tough ask," says Alison Herman. "Merely sharing Cohen’s disgust may not be enough for character comedy to play in 2018, when the average internet user is subjected to a torrent of equally outrageous, disturbingly non-satirical figures every time they open their browsers." Yet Who Is America? manages to work, she says, especially when it's not funny, like in the first episode's segment advocating that kids carry guns. "To ask whether what follows is 'funny' feels almost besides the point," says Herman. "I can’t blame anyone who decides that a nauseating illustration of America’s psychosis is not what they want out of their Sunday night entertainment. Those who stick around, however, are treated to proof positive that the world has finally caught up with Cohen’s oeuvre. The twist is that Cohen’s guises no longer feel hilariously out of place when inserted into everyday life. They feel right at home, baring what ails this country better than any anthropological trend piece about Trump supporters. Just don’t expect a barrel of laughs."
- When Who Is America? is on point like in the "Kill or Be Killed" segment, it's a reminder that some of our emperors have no clothes
- Cohen was the ultimate George W. Bush-era comedy star, so it's a pleasant surprise that Who Is America? is "urgently resonant with our own era"
- Shame was the secret ingredient on Da Ali G Show, but shame is missing on Who Is America?: "It's the difference between shocking and not shocking, between hilarious and simply fleetingly funny"
- Cohen's antics are out of place in 2018 America because "we’re fresh out of shame in this country right now"
- Cohen's political provocations are exhausting and dangerous
- Cohen's Da Ali G Show characters were innocent, but his Who Is America? characters are biased and aggressive with a fierce partisan agenda
- Only the Erran Morad segment worked, and it wasn't shocking because the people interviewed have already said insane things in public
- Who Is America? "exposes toxicity of accommodating what is wrong, or foolish, or weird, or totally insane, because there’s a camera there"
- The opening credits showed Trump mocking a disabled reporter -- perhaps a rebuttal to Sarah Palin saying Cohen "mocked disabled Americans"
- Former GOP congressman Joe Walsh tells CNN how he was tricked: “He’s a funny guy because he gets people to say stupid things. He gets people to say stupid things because he lies to them"
- Reed College didn't know it would be associated with Cohen's fictional Professor Dr. Nira Cain-N’Degeocello
- Ranking Cohen's new characters: Dr. Nira Cain-N’Degeocello is a pastiche of everyone ever on Portlandia
- Nathan for You's Nathan Fielder is listed as a Who Is America? consulting producer
Posted Friday 7/13/18 at 11:36PM EDT
Republican congressman: I'm a diehard Da Ali G Show fan -- and even I got duped by Sacha Baron Cohen
"They totally got me...I can't wait to see it," says 36-year-old Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, who isn't upset that he is among Cohen's Who Is America? victims. In fact, Gaetz is such a fan of Da Ali G Show that he likes to copy Borat's accent and show clips to his fellow colleagues. “It’s very consistent with his model, beginning with a seemingly normal interaction and then the brilliance of his comedy is that he accelerates the awkwardness of it to some usually ironically humorous end,” he says. ALSO: Here's Stephen Colbert's take on Cohen fooling so many Republicans.
Posted Tuesday 7/10/18 at 5:16PM EDT
Sacha Baron Cohen's Who Is America? will also air on the British channel that gave him his first break on TV
Channel 4, the British TV channel where Cohen got his TV start in 1995 and which began airing Da Ali G Show in 2000, will broadcast his new Showtime series starting on Monday.