Sacha Baron Cohen

Sacha Baron Cohen in Borat

Sacha Baron Cohen in “Borat”

Sacha Baron Cohen is a genius when it comes to creating hilarious characters. Borat is probably better know now, but it all started with Ali G.

Rude, internationally controversial and surprisingly riotous, Ali G is the last person you want around some of the country’s most important figures. Hot off of the streets of Staines (the UK equivalent to Harlem), Ali G is a hip-hop journalist who has become one of the most entertaining personalities of this generation with a collection of unconventional interviews. A wannabe gangster adorned head-to-toe in gold jewelry and wearing a yellow jumpsuit and Tommy Hilfiger skull cap, Ali G’s guests never seem to reveal that the joke is on them until the interview is done. Ali G may seem a bit incompetent at times, but he’s really pure genius, able to push presidential candidate Pat Buchanan into defending “The Passion of the Christ” as only “slightly better than ‘Lethal Weapon 3’,” and asking physicist Heinz Wolff if the Big Bang was louder than drum and bass. Starting out on the incredibly popular British program “The 11 O’Clock Show,” Ali G was the show’s “Voice of the Youth,” sent out on the streets to interview important people on the day’s current issues. Approaching the issues with risqué ideas and even worse language, Ali G instantly rose to stardom amongst the younger generation and was shortly offered his own show, though it quickly lowered the ratings on “11 O’Clock.”

The new show, entitled “Da Ali G Show,” became and instant success on UK TV in 2000 and Ali G not only became one of the country’s biggest TV stars, but also one of the nation’s most prominent icons, whether the prim and proper Brits liked it or not. Appearing every where from magazine articles to award show red carpets, the only thing Ali G hadn’t conquered was only a boat ride away. Arriving in America with millions of unprepared viewers, Ali G brought his limitless imagination to HBO for a fresh stab at humiliating Capitol Hill. Played by comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, Ali G was invented in 1998 for Channel Four’s late night satire. A graduate of Cambridge, Sacha is much different from the character he plays on screen. Originally dedicated to pursuing a PhD like the rest of his brothers, Sacha eventually turned to a career in comedy with the hopes of becoming a big-star. Appearing as two other characters – Borat and Bruno – on his unscripted show, Sacha will forever be remembered as the moronic wannabe gangster, Ali G.

Ali G on Da Screen and Around Da World

Starting out as only one in a cast of comedic characters for the British late night news satire, “The 11 O’Clock Show,” Ali G has worked with some of the UK’s funniest comedians (including “The Office” Golden Globe winner Ricky Gervais). After gaining an unexpected source of popularity, Ali G was shortly given his own show, “Da Ali G Show,” which spawned three videos, the full-length film “Ali G Indahouse,” a paperback (“Da Gospel According to Ali G”) and a US copycat for HBO which has given a fresh start for the hip-hop commentator. A measurement of Ali G’s international influence is hard to nail, but his appearance in the Madonna “Music” video is a good example of where he stands.

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“Borat” was a monster hit for Baron Cohen, who also created more characters such as the gay fashionista, Bruno.

Da Satirical Mind of Ali G

On how the famous react:
“It’s weird. For that time they’re in the room with me, sometimes they totally forget who they are. And they come out with a totally different side of themselves. Some try to appear cool with Ali G and down with the kids. Some want to be liked by Ali G. Boutros Boutros-Ghali kept on telling me he used to be a bit of a bully in school, and he used to muck around. They want Ali G’s approval. They’re in the room with a total idiot, and yet they’re seeking his approval. As if it somehow makes them cooler.”