Sacha Baron Cohen’s new series Who is America? is only three episodes in and it continues to astonish. Thought it couldn’t get any worse than guys trying to sell guns to kids? Think again. This week Cohen found some victims that were probably even dumber than disgraced congressman Jason Spencer from the previous week. Yet again, Cohen found some of the most terrifyingly stupid Americans he could. Their plan to trap illegal aliens was one of the most awkward pieces of TV I’ve seen since Borat tried to join a dating service.
In the first three episodes, Cohen has already introduced us to five new characters. Do any of them match the genius of Ali G, Borat and Bruno? Perhaps not. But at least one of them comes close. Here’s my ranking of the five new characters:
Gio Monaldo has only popped up in a single episode of Who is America? so far. In episode 2, the bearded white-haired Italian billionaire managed to convince reality TV star Corinne Olympios to pose in front of a green screen and claim she spent time helping children with Ebola in Sierra Leone. Monaldo doesn’t feel like a fully developed character yet, and his target of a reality TV star felt a little easy. Still, getting Olympios to espouse the benefits of kids being soldiers was twisted brilliance.
Another character that has only appeared in one episode of Who is America? so far is Rick Sherman. This British ex-con hard-nut is now trying to go straight. In his only skit so far, Sherman visits an art dealer to show off the art he made in prison from his own poop. Again, the target wasn’t great. The art dealer came off as dumb, but quite sweet in the way she humoured Sherman. The highlight was obviously Sherman convincing her to give up some of her pubic hair for one of his pieces. Bless her.
Billy Wayne Ruddick
Ruddick has popped up in Who is America? a few times now. Unlike the last two characters, Ruddick feels a little more focused. This is Cohen really trying to say something about who America actually is. Ruddick has his own ‘truther’ website truthbrary.org (not liebrary geddit?). It’s impressive that he managed to get a sit-down interview with Bernie Sanders with this character. What’s more impressive is that anyone could believe that there are people as wilfully stupid as Ruddick out there. Oh wait, there probably is.
Dr. Nira Cain-N’Degeocello
This ‘doctor’ (not sure of what exactly) is an ultra-liberal who is in an open relationship with a dolphin and wants to build a super-mosque right in the middle of Trump-land. His best bits have involved reciting Will Smith lyrics, entering a rap battle, and trying to sell his plans for a super-mosque to a crowd of outraged Americans. It’s hilarious seeing what right-wing Americans think of this ludicrously left-wing character.
Col. Erran Morad
The best of Cohen’s new characters is clearly Israeli counter-terrorism expert Colonel Erran Morad. So far, Morad has targeted gun nuts, Dick Cheney, Jason Spencer and three guys that are terrified of Mexicans. Morad has made the biggest fools out of the most foolish of people. He plays on their fears of terrorism, of immigration, and of having their precious guns taken away. The Morad sequences have been excruciatingly painful to watch. Just when you think Cohen cannot find any dumber people to humiliate, he does. If you haven’t seen episode 3 featuring the quinceañera to lure potential rapists, go watch it now.
Terrifying and hilarious in equal measure, it will be interesting to see if Sacha Baron Cohen has any more characters up his sleeves before the series is over.
Who is your favourite Who is America? character? Do any of them match Cohen’s previous creations?