Bintel Blog

Jalestinians End Middle East Strife via Sick Australian Comedy

By Dan Friedman

For those who think Sacha Baron Cohen is a little tame, here comes Australian comedian John Safran. In his latest series, “Race Relations,” he attempts to create a Jalestinian by donating Jewish sperm at a Palestinian sperm bank and Palestinian sperm at an Israeli one.

As Dan Goldberg notes at JTA: “The pasty-faced, bespectacled Safran even visits the grave of his mother, the daughter of Polish Bundists, armed with a spade and a kabbalah book seeking an answer to this question: “When it comes to love, should you stick with your tribe or escape your tribe?””

In Safran’s “Portnoy’s Complaint” liver moment (notable for its denunciation by the Australian Family Association as “the lowest point in Australian television history”) he sniffs underwear he’s stolen from Jewish and non-Jewish women. This will help him determine “scientifically” whether he is simply more attracted to non-Jewish women.

With science like that, who can doubt that peace is near?

To get a sense of the gentle tone and sensitive topics covered by the show, watch the series trailer below:

Watch Safran’s visit to sperm banks below:

Hat tip Eli Valley and, possibly, Digger.

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Offbeat Israel: Homer Simpson in Jerusalem

By Nathan Jeffay

As the Forward reported, Grover from Sesame Street have just made an Israel visit. Now another animated celebrity is en-route to the Holy Land – and it’s none other than Homer Simpson, together with his darling family.

They come to Israel with a church trip in an episode due to air in March. Their tour guide is voiced by none other than Sacha Baron Cohen of “Borat” and “Brüno” fame. Homer develops Jerusalem Syndrome and starts believing that he is the messiah. See news reports here, here and here.


Jewish holidays mean day trip season in Israel, and there are always lots of great exhibitions. This year, however, there’s one that you can visit wherever you are. The Israel Antiquities Authority is running an exhibition featuring archaeological artifacts connected the holidays. It’s online here.

The finds featured include ancient depictions of grape vines, figs, wheat, barley, olives, palm trees, and pomegranates that adorn pottery vessels, stone and bone artifacts. There are mosaics, pottery vessels and glass vessels depicting a menorah, the Holy Ark, a shofar, and a lulav, as well as coins from the times of the Great Revolt (66-73 C.E.) and the Bar Kokhba Revolt (132–136 C.E.) The artifacts are dated from the Second Temple-era (516 B.C.E.–70 C.E.) until Talmudic times (40–500 C.E.)

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Sacha Baron Cohen's Award Show Antics

By Allison Gaudet Yarrow

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:

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'Bruno' Slapped With NC-17 Rating

By Eleanor Goldberg

The Motion Picture Association of America has slapped Sacha Baron latest film, “Bruno,” which is slated to be released in July 2009, with an NC-17 rating.

The film has been deemed inappropriate for children under 17 because of its explicit scenes that surpass the likes of the naked fight from Cohen’s first feature, “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan,” according to a report on The Wrap.

This time around, Cohen’s alter-ego, an Austrian gay fashionista, rivals Borat both in the bedroom and on the anti-Semitic fronts. In one scene, aspiring child actors toting smug stage moms complete a series of tasks. One of which is imitating Nazi atrocities, like shoving humans into ovens.

Still, Baron Cohen, “is experimenting and still finding the film,” The Wrap reports. And he has no choice but to continue to tinker and deliver an R-rated film to Universal, which reportedly will not release an NC-17 version.

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Borat, R.I.P.?

By Daniel Treiman

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


Borat in Rehab, Eva Mendes’s Jew Fetish and Other Tales From the MTV Movie Awards

By Daniel Treiman

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.)

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Borat: From Silver-Screen Star to Scribe

By Aram David

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.



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