Check it: Sacha Baron Cohen, best known stateside for his popular comedy Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, is finally getting a chance to introduce American audiences to another character in his comedy repertoire: Ali G.
Debuting on February 26 on FXX with all-new introductions by the shell-suited junglist himself, Ali G: Rezurection will include the original 18-episodes of Da Ali G Show. In this package will be the 2003-2004 HBO season of Da Ali G Show as well as the BAFTA-Award-winning Channel 4 show from 2000, which has never been aired before in the US. Rezurection also promises to slip in bits from the “11 O’Clock Show,” a British late-night comedy program which was the first location that Ali G ever made trouble at before getting his own “gig.”
Launching the program that first showed the world characters such as Borat Sagdiyev and Brüno Gehard (another character Baron Cohen ended up translating to film) is an interesting engagement for someone like Sacha Baron Cohen who had seemed to be moving in a different direction in his film career. Judging by his recent work, it appeared that he had left these sketch comedy beginnings in the past, to pursue “bigger fish.”
However, it looks like along with recording these new introductions, his production company, Four by Two, has just signed a first-look TV deal with FX. Perhaps this deal emphasizes the importance that Baron Cohen attaches to all of his work, TV or film. What other creative projects this may or may not catalyze, of course, remains to be seem.
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Ali G’s initial entrance to the UK may have caused some confusion and frustration to those that he interviewed, but the US thrives on controversial talk show antics, for better or for worse. This is why the FXX decision to introduce Ali G: Rezurection to American audiences is not an unwise choice and certainly one with possibility to grow.
Da Ali G Show is certainly a talk show, but it’s one where most of the guests are blatantly unaware that their host is a comedian. Baron Cohen’s methodology involved a campaign with fancy letter writing on Channel 4 stationary and highly professional seeming requests. Every guest that Ali G invited responded for genuine reasons, and the Ali G persona was not quite what they expected.
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What they were expecting was a fancy, upper class talk show, designed for politicos, intellectuals and advanced thinkers. What they got was Sacha Baron Cohen as Ali G, playing an undereducated ghetto kid living with his grandma, talking about his girlfriend Julie, and mixing up words that sound the same. Baron Cohen developed a new language and set of comedy skills that honed the ability to laugh at how ridiculous we have become by making fun of the top tier of society via television.
As Maureen Dowd of the New York Times states, “With his white-gangsta-rapper-wannabe persona, Sacha Baron Cohen, a brilliant graduate of Cambridge, sends up the vacuity of the culture in an era when putting people on TV who attract the right demographic is more important than putting people on TV who know what they’re talking about.”
As Ali G himself would say in response, “For real!”
Check out another English funnyman, Ricky Gervais, with his weekly podcast, only on FilmOn:
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