|Other names||Internet Mahir
Turkish: İnternet Mahir
I kiss you Mahir
Turkish: I kiss you Mahir
|Known for||Blogging (Romance and Personal life)|
|Web hosting service(s)||XOOM|
|Meme||I Kiss You 1999|
|Signature phrase||"I Kiss You"|
Mahir Çağrı (IPA: Turkish pronunciation: [maːhir t͡ʃaːɾɯ], born 1962) became an Internet celebrity in 1999. His picture-laden personal homepage, which exclaimed in broken English his love of the accordion, travel, and women was visited by millions and spawned numerous fansites and parodies, one featured on Fox's MadTV (season 5, episode 20). He was also repeatedly parodied in the 1999s episodes of the Late Show with David Letterman wearing red Speedos and playing Ping Pong. Mahir was ranked #2 in CNET's Top 10 Web fads (July 15, 2005). The site was also included in PC World's "The 25 Worst Web Sites" list (September 15, 2006). Mahir claimed in various interviews that his personal webpage was hacked, with additions such as "I like sex" embedded into his webpage. The site was originally hosted on the now defunct XOOM web hosting service which advertised Mahir on their front page during the mania.
Mahir Çağrı's website was quickly spread through word of mouth on the internet. The website came at a time when "Internet phenomenon" was a new concept for Internet users, media, and the curious public. Novelty pages such as Dancing baby and The Hampster Dance created a precedent of mass viewing for Mahir's page. Mahir was also parodied on Madtv, the popularity grew to such a point to where Çağrı released a single titled 'I Kiss You' in 2000.
Links with Borat
Similarities with the British television character Kristo (who evolved into Borat) were noted as soon as Çağrı's website became famous in 1999, particularly his jobs as journalist, his facial hair, clothing and his use of the catchphrase "I like sex", which featured in The 11 O'Clock Show shows in 1998. Çağrı has asserted that he was the main inspiration for British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, when Cohen created his foreign-reporter character for Channel 4 television (called variously, Kristo, Borat Karabzhanov, Borat Dutbayev and Borat Sagdiyev). It is unknown whether Mahir's website existed prior to the trasmissions of these sketches.
In the feature film of the same name, Borat not only uses Çağrı's "You can stay my home" catchphrase in the introductory scenes, but also poses during a game of ping-pong in revealing red shorts, referencing two of Çağrı's famous shots. However, Borat had regularly invited viewers to stay with him in broken English before Mahir's website became famous - although this in itself does not prove he wasn't known to Cohen first.
Çağrı has announced that he is travelling to London to receive an apology from Baron Cohen, and to receive money for the use of his likeness in the film. He said, "the world knows he is copying Mahir. I am not saying this — the world is. I have received so many e-mails from people in the United States who tell me he is imitating me." He added, "the bombshell is going to fall. (Cohen) is making money by using me."
On April 30, 2010 in an interview at ROFLcon in Cambridge, MA, Çağrı said he is going to New York City to find representation for a lawsuit.
- "I KISS YOU!!!!!!!"
- "Who is want to come TURKEY I can invitate ..... She can stay my home ........"
- "I like music , I have many many music enstrumans my home I can play"
- "I like to be friendship fom different country"
- I Kiss You at web.archive.org
- More Mahir Mania - Salon.com, November 8, 1999
- Mahir, Live and in the Flesh - Wired, December 16, 1999
- Mahir to Borat: I Sue You! - Wired Magazine, 14.11
- Evidence for a Mahir vs. Borat Lawsuit - Electronic News Network
- Will the real Borat please stand up? - Yahoo! News November 10, 2006 (Link dead as of 02:00, 15 January 2007 (UTC))
- "Real Borat" hopes to make film - BBC November 9, 2006