Sasha Baron Cohen is a clever wee chap and he has it in him to be quite witty, so I’m honestly at a loss as to why he’s wasting time on this ‘Borat’ character of his. Presumably Americans love it, but still…
'Most of Borat's victims were ensnared in a similar way. They would be told about the foreign correspondent making a film about life in the US, with the pitch tailored to each person's specialist subject. Then on the day of the interview, they would be presented with a release form at the last minute, be paid in cash and, finally, Borat would amble in, beginning with some serious subjects before starting his provocative routine.
"And as we're talking, out of the blue, he says: 'Do you know Baywatch?'
"I knew something was going on but I didn't know what it was. I'm looking at the cameramen and everyone was stony-faced. And then he would come out with outrageous things."
Ms Stein first tried to throw Borat out when he started talking about women having smaller brains than men. The producer persuaded her to carry on, apologetically explaining that Borat did not realise he was saying anything wrong. But the final straw came when Borat asked the women to lift up their shirts at the end of the interview.'
Yessssss…..that really doesn’t sound all that ‘clever’ to me.
(It certainly isn’t in the same league as tricking Capital Radio DJ ‘Doctor’ Fox into telling people that paedophiles have the same DNA structure as crabs, but then very little will ever come close.)
If a person is the representative of an organisation, and they’re asked for an interview on behalf of that organisation by what seems to be – right up until 20 minutes into the interview – a legitimate TV company, they’re not really that dumb for taking it on face value, are they? So wherein lies the funny?
It’s true to say that Sasha Baren Cohen can be amusing: convincing people that he’s black when clearly he’s white and Jewish-looking, purely by dressing and talking in a certain way, is a beautiful way of exposing people’s prejudices. Even when he makes lame, weak jokes about ‘getting caned’, you kind of forgive him.
However, playing the part of an Eastern European ‘yokel’ and asking intelligent New York feminists to lift up their shirts just isn’t that amusing (unless you’re nine), and the only prejudice it illuminates is his own.