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Holy shit, Sacha Baron Cohen has duped a ton of people already

Photo: Cindy Ord (Getty Images)

Though it’s fair to be a little exhausted by the prospect of watching far-right blowhards make asses of themselves on television, it’s difficult to not be a little intrigued by Sacha Baron Cohen’s new Showtime series, Who Is America? Especially when we know he’s already fooled a murderers’ row of guests into appearing in prank interviews. How do we know this? Because, as seen in this recent round-up by Vulture, most of them have come forward and admitted they got duped. And, boy, there are a lot of them.

First, there’s former vice-president Dick Cheney, who can be seen in the show’s trailer signing a water boarding kit, and former almost vice-president Sarah Palin, whose on-going fight with Baron Cohen’s fictional character has been previously reported on. Needless to say, the appearance of these two will be a highlight of the show, but they’re really just the tip of the iceberg.


Conservative radio host and professional Twitter dipshit Joe Walsh confessed to falling for Baron Cohen’s ruse when he was invited to a fake pro-Israel event and presented with an award for his “Significant Contributions to the State of Israel.”


Walsh called the ensuing production the “strangest interview of [his] life,” and said that Baron Cohen (in heavy makeup) asked him about children being used to stop terrorism and even had him read off a teleprompter at one point. But, hey, he still got an award out of it that undoubtedly says something offensive in Hebrew.


Another attendee at this fake pro-Israel event appears to have been former Alabama Senate hopeful Roy Moore, who released a vitriolic statement directed at Showtime and Sacha Baron Cohen, warning them against airing a “defamatory attack” on his character.


“Alabama does not respect cowards who exhibit such traits! It’s been a long time since I fought for my country in Vietnam. I’m ready to defend her again!” Moore writes. We’re not sure how Baron Cohen could have besmirched Moore’s character beyond the level of accused sex offender, but we’re sure he found a way.

Speaking of awful people, it sounds like recently pardoned Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio was invited to get in on the fun as well. He told Breitbart recently that Baron Cohen approached him for a interview disguised as a “Finnish comedian” who employed phrases like “blowjob” and “golden shower.” “I was a little suspicious, and I think I made a mistake… I was really concerned that I walked into this trap,” Arpaio said in a radio interview. Despite his keen instinct that there might be something fishy about a Northern European comedian interviewing him in a “warehouse-like facility,” Arpaio reportedly signed a release form and will be appearing in the show.


One outlier in this collection of dingbats is decorated journalist Ted Koppel, who appears to be the only person to come forward and admit they got duped but didn’t actually sign a release form. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Koppel said a film crew came to his Maryland home along with Baron Cohen disguised as a man in a wheelchair “with an oxygen tank hanging off one of the handles.” Their conversation centered around the crowd size at Trump’s inauguration and an incomprehensible conspiracy theory involving a lunar eclipse, but once Koppel realized something wasn’t right he called the whole thing off.

You can read the full, detailed list of fooled participants here. Or, you can wait until Who Is America? premieres this weekend and see which public figures weren’t smart enough to figure out that that weird interview they had six months ago wasn’t what they thought it was.


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About the author

Dan Neilan

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Have Fun — Will Travel.