Da Ali G Show
|Da Ali G Show|
|Created by||Sacha Baron Cohen|
|Starring||Sacha Baron Cohen|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of episodes||18 (List of episodes)|
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Original channel||Channel 4 (2000)
|Original run||30 March 2000
–5 May 2000|
21 February 2003 – 22 August 2004
The 11 O'Clock Show
The first (2000) series originally aired on Channel 4 in the UK, and the second (2003–2004) series on HBO in the US. The second series was known as Ali G in da USAiii in the UK and Australia. In the series, Baron Cohen plays as three unorthodox journalists — the main character Ali G, a Kazakh named Borat Sagdiyev, and a gay Austrian named Brüno Gehard. The trio conduct interviews with unsuspecting people (many of whom are celebrities, high-ranking government officials and other well-known persons), during which they ask absurd and ridiculous questions.
On 23 July 2005, HBO announced they had no plans to make an additional season of the show. On November 1 2013, FXX announced a deal to air the show (including episodes unaired in the USA) under the branding Ali G: Rezurection
Baron Cohen has gone on to make three films featuring each of his three characters from the show: Ali G Indahouse (2002), Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2006), and Brüno (2009).
Ali G (Alistair Leslie Graham) is the main character of Da Ali G Show. He is the self-proclaimed "voice of da yoof" and the leader of the West Staines Massiv. His mannerisms are a mix of stereotypical and often exaggerated British African-Caribbean and hip hop cultures, with some American urban influences thrown in. He interviews unsuspecting guests; in the American version of the show, he tells them he is a British talk show host and wants to discuss the media and politics. He often asks a question, and upon receiving an answer, instantly creates a story of an event relevant to the topic, employing his neighbours and fellow "gangsters" such as Ricky C, Dangerous Dave (who refuses to speak because he is terribly embarrassed about his voice) and Rainbow Jeremy (also known as Jezzy), his girlfriend "his Julie" (her name is not necessarily Julie) or a family member such as his nan. The character was later the basis of the film Ali G Indahouse.
Borat Sagdiyev is another character featured frequently on the show, introduced as someone Ali G came across on obscure satellite TV "whilst waiting for the 10-minute free preview on the Fantasy Channel". He comes from Kazakhstan, and travels around the United Kingdom and United States interviewing people and engaging in their activities. Though well-intentioned, Borat often makes his guests feel uncomfortable by introducing them to "Kazakh" customs, or by making misogynistic, anti-Semitic, or other comments based on his unfamiliar culture, which are often undercut by various aspects of the film, e.g., Borat's hometown being a gypsy village and Hebrew being his native language. Borat makes references to his favourite sport called "shurik", a "Kazakh" custom where dogs are shot and killed in a field. He also makes references to his dead wife, his brother Bilo and his desire to have "sexy time" with many of his interviewees. A highly successful film based on the Borat character, titled Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, was released by 20th Century Fox on 3 November 2006. In the film, Borat travels from Kazakhstan to learn more about American culture for his country.
Brüno Gehard is a gay Austrian and is the third character of Da Ali G Show. He claims to be the voice of Austrian youth television. He often makes others uncomfortable by flaunting his flagrant homosexuality. In one episode, Brüno performs cheers with exaggerated, limp-wristed, stereotypically gay mannerisms, along with University of Alabama cheerleaders, provoking the ire of some Crimson Tide fans during the 2002 Alabama-Mississippi State football game, and convincing the students to say that they are gay in Polish.
Brüno also interviews fashion aficionados and 'party people' and exposes their extreme views of how unfashionable people should be treated and aims to show the superficiality, hypocrisy and inconsistency of the fashion world. For example, he gets them to say that they think fashion has saved more lives than doctors, that people who have bad fashion should be sent to concentration camps, that Osama Bin Laden is cool, and that if house music were around in the 1930s, it would have prevented World War II.
|Season premiere||Season finale||Network|
|1||6||March 31, 2000||May 5, 2000||Channel 4|
|2||6||February 21, 2003||March 28, 2003||HBO|
|3||6||July 18, 2004||August 22, 2004|
The methods used by Baron Cohen often cause considerable controversy. Some guests become upset upon learning they have been tricked and various comments made on the show have caused outrage with viewers. In one episode, Borat goes to a bar in Tucson, Arizona and sang a song about Jews, in which he said, "Throw the Jew down the well/so my country can be free/you must grab him by his horns/then we have a big party." Many patrons of the bar were shown responding gleefully and singing along (though an investigation by the Jewish Daily Forward found that many or all of the audience were aware that the song was meant to be funny, and that one of them was Jewish herself). A prominent Jewish anti-racism group, the Anti-Defamation League, complained about this segment. HBO spokesman Quentin Schaffer replied, "Through his alter-egos, he delivers an obvious satire that exposes people's ignorance and prejudice in much the way All in the Family did years ago." In an interview, Baron Cohen explained his character's racist nature by stating that the show's 'Borat' segments are a "dramatic demonstration of how racism feeds on dumb conformity, as much as rabid bigotry," rather than a display of racism by Baron Cohen himself.
One upset interviewee was James Broadwater, a Republican candidate for U.S. Congress. He was interviewed by Borat, who told him that the interview would be played in Kazakhstan and other foreign countries to teach others about the American political system. Borat's questioning led Broadwater to state that Jews would go to Hell if they did not follow the Christian religion. This comment upset some Jewish communities and prompted Broadwater to post a letter on his website denouncing Da Ali G Show, demanding the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) exert greater control over the "liberal, anti-God media", and stating "I have had a logo on my website which says, 'I am a proud friend of Israel.'"
There are some differences between the original series of Da Ali G Show shown on Channel 4 and the later two seasons shown on Channel 4 and HBO.
- Location interviews take place in Europe and some parts of the USA
- Contains scripted segments
- Contains monologues
- Contains skits
- Contains guest music performances (which Ali G would deliberately ruin)
- Has a studio audience
- Takes place in USA
- Wholly unscripted performance
- Has limited and brief studio monologues, but no skits or music performances
- Does not have a laugh track
- ""Da Ali G Show" (2003)". www.imdb.com. Retrieved 2008-04-03.
- Topcik, Joel (23 July 2005). "For Ali G, More Fame But Fewer Dupes". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 March 2010.
- "Comic Pushes Limits in Antisemitic Sing-along", Nathaniel Popper, Jewish Daily Forward, 13 August 2004
- The Jewish Week | Connecting the World to Jewish News, Culture, and Opinion
- "Independent Online Edition - People - Independent.co.uk". The Independent (London).
- The Unofficial Borat Homepage | Behind the Scenes: James Broadwater
- Ali G at Channel4.com
- HBO website
- Boyakasha.co.uk (fan website)
- Da Ali G Show (UK Version) at the Internet Movie Database
- Da Ali G Show (US Version) at the Internet Movie Database
- Da Ali G Show (UK Version) at TV.com
- Da Ali G Show (US Version) at TV.com
- Da Ali G Show at the BFI's Screenonline