August 10, 2004

Perhaps the most insightful program on television today (aside from The Daily Show) is Da Ali G Show (on HBO).

Da Ali G Show is the brainchild of comedian Sacha Baron Cohen. Especially when in character as Borat, Kazakhstan's leading journalist, Cohen evokes Peter Sellers in his use of physical comedy as part of his complete and total commitment to the character.

Cohen uses the naivete of his characters to bring out the best or worst in his interview subjects. For example, in response to a question by Ali G, Pat Buchanan talks about "BLTs" as a justification for going to war in Iraq.'s Heather Havrilesky explains: G Spot

Cohen... inhabits such strangely naive characters, who seem genuinely receptive to the opinions of their subjects, that he manages to cajole the most strident views out of them. The mix of cultural rubbernecking and pure silliness that results is both entertaining and eye-opening.

In an interview with James Broadwater, Cohen (as Borat) got the Republican Congressional candidate to voice some unpleasant truths. Broadwater was not pleased to see the result: My Unexpected "Appearance" on HBO. The Hill reports: GOP candidate: Ali G misled me. "Broadwater said he has filed a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)." Um, the FCC doesn't regulate HBO, because it does not have the authority to regulate cable networks.

Kazakhstan's embassy is less than thrilled with Borat: Offending Kazakhstan

Particularly disgusting is Mr. Cohen’s portraying of Kazakhstan as a land of Stone Age people who mistreat women and hate Jews. For the record, Kazakh-stan is a modern country with thousands of years of history and a rich and diverse culture.

Our people are highly educated and generally well-mannered. Women enjoy equal rights with men in Kazakhstan, and there are women ministers, members of Parliament, judges, journalists and businesspeople.

(via The Unofficial Borat Homepage)

Ali G was invited to give a commencement speech at Harvard: Ali G Goes Ivy League

Booyakasha - Professor G indahouse aiii. Big shout out de Harvard massiv [THROW UP 'H'] I iz done a capital 'H', coz Harvard iz a place innit - u see I ain't no ignoranus. Things like 'apple' and 'orange' do not start with a capital letter, unless dey iz at de start of a sentence - but some of you brainboxes probably know dat already innit. Me name be Ali G and me represent de UK [DO SIGNS]. For those of u who didn't study geography de UK is a place over a 100 MILES away from here, de capital of it is? Anyone? Not u geography square! ....yes, it is Liverpool. U iz clever and quite fly if u don't mind me sayin. First of all, I iz got to say I iz a bit nervous speakin to so many of you - at least me would be if I weren't totally mashed. Normally de only public-speaking I does is to 12 people - and it's well easy all me has to say iz me name and de words 'not guilty'.

Posted by Andrew Raff at August 10, 2004 11:51 PM
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