October 13, 2021 8:13:45 am
English actor-comedian Sacha Baron Cohen turns 50 today. Variously called the ‘greatest prankster of our age’ and ‘most inventive figure in comedy today’, he has a veritable list of who’s who he has duped to reveal their real selves, unsavoury beliefs and true biases.
Cohen does that by adopting different disguises, accents and whole new characters like Ali G, Borat and Bruno, to fool the victim into believing the person they are talking to a person they can trust. He has said he uses his brand of comedy to get people to “reveal their true selves”.
Using his unique methods, he has duped numerous public figures. Here are his five biggest victims:
The vice president of United States under George Bush, Dick Cheney, often called the architect of the War on Terror and the resulting violence, met an extremely transformed Sacha on Showtime’s non-fiction political satire series Who Is America?. Sacha was disguised a scarred former Israeli army officer called Erran Morad, who claimed he had killed many people. “Erran” praised Cheney for his approval of torture (Cheney had approved ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ during his tenure). He went on to ask Cheney for an autograph on his waterboarding kit, the same one he used to waterboarded his wife as he thought she had cheated on him. Cheney obliged.
Georgia politician Jason Spencer
Sacha used the Erran Morad character again with the Republican state representative from Georgia, Jason Spencer. Here, the results were so embarrassing that the ridicule prompted Spencer to quit. Sacha later marveled that he stayed in the job for a while even after the episode came out. “Erran” had told Spencer that pulling down his trousers and yelling racist abuse would deter ISIS from attacking him. “If you want to win, you show some skin,” said “Erran”. He did exactly that — on TV.
In Borat Subsquent Moviefilm, Sacha got Bulgarian actor Maria Bakalova’s character and his on-screen daughter Tutar to interview Rudy Giuliani, former New York mayor and Trump’s lawyer. Post-interview, Tutar and Giuliani went to latter’s hotel room with wine in their hands. It appears as if they are going to have sex and Giuliani puts his hands down his pants. Giuliani has said he was just tucking in his shirt.
A whole crowd of Donald Trump fans
In the sequel to Borat, titled Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, Sacha was in disguise as a right wing nut. At an anti-lockdown rally, he climbed to the stage and began singing a most outrageously funny (and surprisingly catchy) song, whose lyrics were meant to appeal to racist, xenophobic and anti-scientific among the Trump fan base. The lyrics went: “Obama was a traitor, America, he hate her” and later “Obama, what we gonna do, Inject him with the Wuhan Flu. Journalists, what we gonna do, Chop ’em up like the Saudis do”. Crazily, many among the crowd began to sing along.
Octogenarian Vermont senator Bernie Sanders was the only one in Who is America? who came out with his reputation (and wits) intact. Sacha was disguised as Billy Wayne Ruddick Jr, a dumb, far-right conspiracy theorist (perhaps the same one that Palin had met) who tried to bring Sanders into a inane mathematical argument as the latter tried (and failed) to bring some sense into the conversation. Bernie stayed polite despite realising he was talking to an idiot.
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