Sacha Baron Cohen’s ostentatious characters are beloved for satirizing American phobias and closed-minded discomforts relating to social issues. In 2006, Borat’s cross-country journey mocked antisemitism and xenophobia. And now Bruno — Cohen’s gay Austrian fashion worker character whose self-titled film premieres this summer — pokes at the empty quest for excess, and its unfettered fear of gays.
A more perfect and public scenario to kick off this conversation could not have occurred: Last night at the MTV Movie Awards, Cohen purposefully placed his bare tuchas in the face of a very unamused rapper, Eminem. Remember Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction? This was better.
First, Cohen soared in on white wings. Then audience members witnessed his targeted fall into the lap of incredulous Marshall Mathers, who walked out of the awards show spitting expletives, and trailed by two meaty bodyguards.
Perhaps Cohen was gunning for such a reaction from Eminem, whose song lyrics have been called homophobic by gay rights groups, including the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. As if to reconcile Eminem’s hating past, Queerlife recently reported that Eminem and Elton John have become fast friends. Would Eminem have reacted better to Sir Elton John’s backside?
Watch the trailer for “Bruno” here.
Watch the incident at the MTV Movie Awards below:
Aroma Espresso Bar, the rapidly expanding Israeli coffee chain — so popular on its home turf that it is credited with putting Starbucks in Israel out of business — announced that it will bring its aromatic coffee, pastries and sandwiches to Borat’s homeland: Kazakhstan. The chain, which has already spent $7 million expanding to the America, Canada and Cyprus, will also add two shops in Kiev and a bakery in the Ukraine.
Will we be seeing much more of Borat, Sacha Caron Cohen’s uproariously un-P.C. Kazakh journalist character? It seems unlikely, judging from an interview that Baron Cohen gave to The Daily Telegraph.
“When I was being Ali G and Borat I was in character sometimes 14 hours a day and I came to love them, so admitting I am never going to play them again is quite a sad thing,” Baron Cohen said. “It is like saying goodbye to a loved one. It is hard, and the problem with success, although it’s fantastic, is that every new person who sees the Borat movie is one less person I ‘get’ with Borat again, so it’s a kind of self-defeating form, really.”
No more Borat could mean less business for Baron Cohen’s lawyers, what with all the people who sued the comedian for duping them in his 2006 film, “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.”
“Since last year I’ve been sued by about 3,000 people,” said Baron Cohen. “Some of the letters I get are quite unusual, like the one where the lawyer informed me I’m about to be sued for $100,000 and at the end says, “P.S. Loved the movie. Can you sign a poster for my son Jeremy?’”
Then again, Baron Cohen has a new film in the works in which he gives his hilarious gay Austrian reporter Bruno a turn on the silver screen. So his attorneys shouldn’t kick off their wingtips just yet.
Hat tip: Max Gross
For one night, at least, MTV may as well have been the Jewish Television Network. Yesterday’s MTV Movie Awards had an unusually large number of young, hip celebrity Jews taking center-stage.
The show was hosted by comedian-of-the-moment Sarah Silverman, who, in typical faux-innocent fashion, mercilessly roasted Paris Hilton (conveniently in attendance). Silverman noted — to vigorous audience applause — that the hard-partying socialite was headed to jail, before lobbing an off-color barb that can’t be printed on a family blog. Of course, the camera, after each blow, cut to Paris, who did not seem pleased. For perhaps the first time ever, it was easy to feel sorry for the self-aggrandizing socialite. (Watch the video here.)
As I watched the bonus outtakes on the DVD version of Sacha Baron Cohen’s box-office hit, “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan,” I realized that while the Borat routine might get old in the temporal sense, it somehow never stops being funny.
That’s why I was excited to read about the new travel guide that “Borat” is writing for Doubleday’s Flying Dolphin Press imprint. According to its publisher, the dual-titled book, “Borat: Touristic Guidings To Minor Nation of U.S. and A./Borat: Touristic Guidings To Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan,” is both a guide to America for Kazakhs and a guide to Kazakhstan for Westerners.
It remains to be seen how well Baron Cohen’s very physical humor translates to the written word. But if it’s even half as funny as his film, it’s sure to be a pop-culture — and financial — smash. Perhaps it will even propel him onto Time magazine’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people for a second year running.