Last week, a mysterious little clip appeared on Sacha Baron Cohen's Twitter feed, and much conversation ensued. The video featured old footage of current American president Donald Trump shouting into the camera about the comedian ("I only wish that he'd been punched in the face so many times"), with onscreen graphics seemingly promising...something new from Cohen in the near future.
But what exactly were we looking at? A new movie? Another HBO series? A particularly elaborate Funny or Die sketch? Over the weekend, we started getting answers.
First, the folks at Vulture spotted a handful of posters in Brooklyn which revealed the "What?" and the "When?": Cohen's latest is Who Is America?, a new, politically-minded Showtime series starring Cohen, to begin airing on the network "Sundays at 10pm". This went a ways toward explaining a different ad Showtime had released over a week prior:
Judging by the posters glimpsed by Vulture, it would appear that Who Is America? will feature Cohen again playing multiple characters (they're not on the posters, but you can catch little glimpses of Cohen in a few different disguises if you look at 'em closely enough), and judging by the following Tweet, issued by Cohen last night, the show will definitely involve these characters getting political in an interview setting:
It's hard to gauge where the crowd is at with Cohen these days. On the one hand, the original run of Da Ali G Show remains one of the funniest, most pointed pieces of satire ever to appear on television. On the other hand, it's been a long time (and many, many bad movies) since Borat rolled around: will people still show up to see Cohen dunking on unsuspecting assholes? Is that something anyone really wants right now? Does it help anything?
We'll find out soon enough, but - for the record - this writer's very much onboard with Cohen returning to Da Ali G Show format. The extensive memeification of Borat is still most unfortunate ("My wife!" stands proudly alongside Austin Powers' "Do I make you horny, baby?" in the pantheon of beaten-to-death catchphrases), and it's true that we're living in very dark times where mocking the powerful has proven to be wildly ineffective by any real-world measure. And yet, I take my laughs where I can get them these days, and if Cohen proves capable of pulling off the same jaw-dropping, high-wire acts of mockery he employed on Da Ali G Show, I will be a very happy camper, indeed.
No, it won't change anything, and no, the idiots in power will remain in power. But this will embarrass them, and that's one of only two prerequisites I have for Who Is America? (the other, of course, being "Must be funny"). I'm hyped, but how about you folks? You gonna tune in? Don't want anything to do with it? Sound off in the comments below, we're curious to hear where you stand on all this.