The Shmooze

Sacha Baron Cohen Shocks on Aussie ‘Today’ Show

By Renee Ghert-Zand

  • Print
  • Share Share
Getty Images
‘The Dictator’ arrives in Sydney, Australia.

Sacha Baron Cohen ruined some Australians’ breakfast appetites when he appeared this morning on the country’s Today Show to promote his new movie, “The Dictator.” In fact, he seemed to be making the show’s hosts so uncomfortable that at times it looked like they themselves might toss their cookies right there on the set.

Dressed as Admiral General Aladeen of the fictional Republic of Wadiya and flanked by two scantily clad female “guards,” Baron Cohen began his R-rated conversation with the hosts by bringing regards from Mel Gibson. “He has just become the head of our Department of Race Relations and he’s on the board of the Museum of Intolerance,” the admiral notified them.

As is his custom when he is in character, Baron Cohen threw some Hebrew words into the conversation, pretending that they were in the native language of his fictional country (which in this case would be Waidyan — whatever that is). In making overt and disgusting sexual advances toward the female host, Lisa Wilkinson, the admiral said he wanted her to come to his palace, where he would touch her all over, but not on her “malawach.” Wilkinson, who speaks neither Wadiyan nor Hebrew, replied uncomfortably, “I don’t know what that is, but I’m nervous.” It turns out that she needn’t be too worried — malawach is a fried bread that is a staple food of Yemeni Jews and so popular in Israel that it is available in packages in the freezer section of all supermarkets there.

Of course, Baron Cohen had to throw in some blatantly anti-Semitic remarks from his character. In mentioning how much money his film, which will be released on May 16, has taken to produce, he proclaimed: “It’s taken more money than ‘Titanic’ — you know, that film about the ship sunk in 1912 by Israel. Was it sunk by an iceberg or a Goldberg? You do the mechutmet.”

Any guesses as to what that last word means? The Shmooze thinks it is completely made up, as it’s definitely not Hebrew.

Having completely nauseated the Australian morning show viewing public, the dictator said, “Breakfast TV. Why do you have me on? I know you’re thinking about that.”


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: The Dictator, Sacha Baron Cohen, Australia, Today

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Move over Dr. Ruth — there’s a (not-so) new sassy Jewish sex-therapist in town. Her name is Shirley Zussman — and just turned 100 years old.
  • From kosher wine to Ecstasy, presenting some of our best bootlegs:
  • Sara Kramer is not the first New Yorker to feel the alluring pull of the West Coast — but she might be the first heading there with Turkish Urfa pepper and za’atar in her suitcase.
  • About 1 in 40 American Jews will get pancreatic cancer (Ruth Bader Ginsberg is one of the few survivors).
  • At which grade level should classroom discussions include topics like the death of civilians kidnapping of young Israelis and sirens warning of incoming rockets?
  • Wanted: Met Council CEO.
  • “Look, on the one hand, I understand him,” says Rivka Ben-Pazi, a niece of Elchanan Hameiri, the boy that Henk Zanoli saved. “He had a family tragedy.” But on the other hand, she said, “I think he was wrong.” What do you think?
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
  • William Schabas may be the least of Israel's problems.
  • You've heard of the #IceBucketChallenge, but Forward publisher Sam Norich has something better: a #SoupBucketChallenge (complete with matzo balls!) Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman & David Remnick, you have 24 hours!
  • Did Hamas just take credit for kidnapping the three Israeli teens?
  • "We know what it means to be in the headlines. We know what it feels like when the world sits idly by and watches the news from the luxury of their living room couches. We know the pain of silence. We know the agony of inaction."
  • When YA romance becomes "Hasidsploitation":
  • "I am wrapping up the summer with a beach vacation with my non-Jewish in-laws. They’re good people and real leftists who try to live the values they preach. This was a quality I admired, until the latest war in Gaza. Now they are adamant that American Jews need to take more responsibility for the deaths in Gaza. They are educated people who understand the political complexity, but I don’t think they get the emotional complexity of being an American Jew who is capable of criticizing Israel but still feels a deep connection to it. How can I get this across to them?"
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.