connectVideoSacha Baron Cohen’s jokes could land him in legal trouble
Comedian Sacha Baron Cohen pranked everyone from Sarah Palin to Ted Koppel, but his antics him in hot water; Raymond Arroyo has ‘Seen and Unseen’, ” The Ingraham Angle.’
In the course of history, comedians have a shared understanding of the current events with biting commentary on everything from class and gender to fashion and politics, and the current presidential administration is certainly no exception — with-President Donald Trump regularly lampooned on shows like “Saturday Night Live” and late-night TV hosts. But when is the current political climate in the United States, is no laughing matter? On the red carpet at an emmy’s For Your consideration event, Variety asked, “Who Is America?” star and creator Sacha Baron Cohen if there is a point when politics stops funny.
“Yes. I think in many ways we are past that point. I think there is a danger [in not taking things seriously],” Baron Cohen said. But, he added, comedy, “you can let go of the pressure.”
“I think you should people continue to be repulsed,” he continued. “Of course, there are a lot of people that are supportive — but those who are upset with what was going on, I think they need to keep their passion, and bring it to the voting booth.”
The creator of “Borat” and “Bruno” brought his passion about politics to his Showtime series, but he is still working his outrageous brand of comedy to tackle difficult topics.
“Well, first of all, it is a comedy show. And that was the primary goal, but I was driven to do because of a rage and angry with what is happening in America at this time,” Baron Cohen explained. “And I think a lot of people express their anger and upset at the possible dissolution of American institutions in several ways. I do this by donning a silicone mask for five hours in the morning and going out and interviewing various white politicians. So it was something that I felt I needed to shine light on what is going on and have a number of people are exposing themselves, literally, literally in the case of Jason Spencer.”
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During the Q&A portion of the event, organised by fellow comedian Sarah Silverman (who called the series “a masterpiece” and repeatedly praised Baron Cohen’s “high-wire act”), the comedian is known that he decided to the series after President Trump signed in the beginning of 2017, the travel ban that affected predominantly Muslim countries.
“I felt very, very angry about it. And I thought, okay, ‘It is time for me to do what I do not like to do,” that is the reason why I haven’t done that for a long time with a number of characters and go undercover. And it was actually for me to get this anger out of my system and I really should credit Donald Trump as the creator of the show,” the comedian explained, joking. “I actually offered him the co-creator, but he wanted only creator.”
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Baron Cohen explained that the process of creating the series, saying that “in the beginning I decided to give myself a task, which was to come up with a character per week for 10 weeks. And the idea was to come up with the character on Monday and Sunday for the film with three real people with that character. So, in a week, to come up with a complete backstory of nationality, to learn the accents and by the end of the week to convince a real person for a few hours that I was really — it was sort of an acting challenge,” he explained, “If you have a character you want to know more of the background as possible. In this type of scenario, you need to have a complete back-story.”
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About the series, the comedian of the characters to surround yourself with many of the leading (and often controversial) political and popular figures, including former vice-president Dick Cheney, Senator Bernie Sanders, journalist Ted Koppel, senate candidate Roy Moore, O. J. Simpson and former congressman Jason Spencer [Note: Spencer resigned in 2018, after the backlash over his appearance on the series]. Due to the nature of the deception, the responses of his interview subjects to find that they had been the victim was often negative, at best. The comedian shared with Variety that Spencer’s response to the series surprised him the most, as Baron Cohen supposed that the behavior is the former Georgia state representative exhibited at the ” camera “would have been enough to make someone resign in the past.”
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“However, he refused to resign, [for a period of time], which I think is an indication of what is going on in the moment and of the kind of the degree of acceptance of political misconduct,” he said.
Baron Cohen also shared stories about calls that have never been on the air, including a disturbing interview who have discovered a Las Vegas pedophile ring (Note: the footage has been transferred to the FBI), a failed attempt to get an interview with minister Dr Ben Carson and the now infamous interview with Sarah Palin. He explained that he was under intense pressure to air Palin interview by her claims that he posed as a disabled veteran to obtain the one-on-one, but ultimately decided not to show up on the images, because he felt that it wasn’t funny enough.
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The question-and-answer session when an audience member asked Baron Cohen if he will seek a second season of the series.
“I can’t,” he replied. “So it’s one and done, unfortunately. I mean, this kind of things, you would never be able to pass a publicist again.”
“Who Is America?” is streaming on Showtime.