Who Is America? is not the first comedy show that attempts to hoist celebrities and politicians on their own idiocy. But Sacha Baron Cohen’s new seven-part series is the latest to employ the strategy, with the series setting its sights on modern, perhaps broken, America.
An easy target? Maybe. Yet comedy has struggled to find a way to land a blow against the political elites in the US in recent times. Cohen has form in this area. Da Ali G Show and Borat both used comedic characters to dupe real life subjects.
But the most clear precursor of Who Is America? is British series BrassEye, which gave us such hits as David Amess, a Conservative MP, going as far as to stand up in the House of Commons under the influence of Chris Morris to warn about the dangers of a “made-up drug” called Cake.
A bit of flattery, a few leading questions and away these idiots-for-hire go, high on their own self-importance
We also were treated to the strange sight of TV personality and radio DJ “Doctor” Neil Fox filming a public service announcement explaining that paedophiles have more genes in common with crabs than humans.
A bit of flattery, a few leading questions and away these idiots-for-hire go, high on their own self-importance, spouting the most fatuous nonsense imaginable.
There is little original in the method employed by Sacha Baron Cohen in Who Is America?. But what of the substance?