Merry prankster Sacha Baron Cohen convinced Republicans that giving guns to toddlers in school was a good idea. The joke went down in episode 1 of Who is America?, which was the Borat and Ali G star’s interview-based satire of the Trump era.
By the time credits rolled, American politicians from Dana Rohrabacher to Trent Lott had posed with guns disguised as stuffed animals. They expressed support for bringing these “Gunimals” into schools, to teach tiny children how to fend off school shooters.
The absurd concept apparently passed for sensible policy to the American GOP… until the Internet saw the results. By then, the Republicans realized that Cohen tricked them. How did Sacha Baron Cohen achieve these hilarious results?
Sacha Baron Cohen’s Devious Comedic Methods
Sacha Baron Cohen is a master of disguise. He struck comedy gold more than a decade ago, posing as a reporter from Kazakhstan. This time, Cohen pretended to be an Israeli anti-terrorism expert. It was in this guise that he requested interviews with prominent Republicans.
The American GOP loves nothing more than Israel and guns, and hates nothing more than terrorists, so Cohen’s character was the perfect ploy. By feeding into paranoid fantasies about guns, violence, and children, Cohen could get these politicians to say almost anything. After all, he promised that his “Kinder-Guardians” program worked in Israel!
Is Cohen’s Comedy Funny or Exploitive?
Later in the season, Cohen managed to trick former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin in a similar ploy. In response, Palin slammed Cohen as “evil, exploitive, and sick.” However, the show was a hit on Showtime (though Cohen has stated there will not be a second season).
Regardless of your political views, it’s pretty amazing what Sacha Baron Cohen convinced politicians to say on camera. What’s more, every single interview answered the question from the title of the Who is America? show.
The comedy series came at a fascinating time in American politics when society was at its most divided during the early Trump era. Even if Cohen ruffled some feathers, the show will endure as a document that shows America at its most hilarious.