March 22, 2002
12:42 PM   Subscribe

Like Benny Hill, Monty Python, Mr Bean, Eddy Izzard, et al , before him, looks like Sacha Baron Cohen, aka Ali G. is finally heading this way. Although the London Times denounces him, while "frighteningly" proclaiming his latest movie will be a massive hit, and the BBC is royally pissed off, there's no holding him back. Next stop is America and he wants to be massive in da States. Some prior discussions going back all the way to May 2000 here, here ,here, PS You can catch a glimpse of him the next time Shaggy's Me Julie video plays.
posted by Voyageman (26 comments total)
Or if you see Madonna's 'Music' video from a year or so ago.
posted by nedrichards at 12:50 PM on March 22, 2002

Me fine Scottish homies turned me on to Ali G a few years ago, and he absolutely kills me, but a lot of his best humor seems sort of regional. I'm sure he's bright enough to adapt to the states, but me can only wonda if he'll fer real play in da house.

Also, there is dis fer ya amusment :
posted by dong_resin at 12:56 PM on March 22, 2002

Now I've got to go see Ali G in da house, since I am to blame for first mentioning him here. :)
posted by riffola at 12:57 PM on March 22, 2002

Sorry, too many links for me to follow. I shall share my thoughts anyway.
It hardly seems credible that only about a year ago no-one in my office knew who I was talking about when I went on about this comic genius. Now every granny in every hairdressers has an opinion. He has turned out to be something of a one trick pony though I think, and a bit of an embarrassment.
Initially, though the world was confused as to just who he was sending up, he pricked pomposity magnificently and was hilarious. I am a bit of a miserable git so if someone can make me laugh out loud consistently he is funny. I laughed my bollocks off.
The trouble is he then became known so had to generate laughs himself, rather than at the expense of others. In my hapless opinion he then became a sad caricature.
It may or may not be significant that there was a demonstration outside the premier accusing him of being a black and white minstrel. Influential types representing the black community accuse him ( an Oxbridge educated, very middle class jew) of perpetuating stereotypes.
Whatever; his early stuff, namely the sketches on the eleven o'clock show were inspired. Enjoy.
posted by Fat Buddha at 1:00 PM on March 22, 2002

Auntie America has a britcom 101 site.
posted by liam at 1:09 PM on March 22, 2002

He'll have to alter his accent into something the average American can understand first.

[insert standard "BBC America is the worst-programmed channel on all cable TV" comment here]
posted by aaron at 1:21 PM on March 22, 2002

aaron, I don't have cable TV, but that sounds like it has to be a standard overstatement.
posted by liam at 1:27 PM on March 22, 2002

ali who?
the boy holds not a candle to mr. izzard.
posted by grabbingsand at 1:28 PM on March 22, 2002

Please note: Ali G has his own web site and an msn site for his new movie with trailers for the movie. Here are pictures from the movie premiere and here's a quote from the BBC review of the movie: " is consistently fast-moving and watchable even when it is not as funny as it might have been... Expect this to be one of the bigger homegrown hits of the year." I'm just waiting for a copy of this to show up on one of the file-sharing networks.

Is this film going to be like Asterix, a film too much seeped in its own culture that it may not come to the states?
posted by panopticon at 1:41 PM on March 22, 2002

aaron, I don't have cable TV, but that sounds like it has to be a standard overstatement.

We've discussed the evil that is BBC America more than once in the past. Check the archives.
posted by aaron at 1:45 PM on March 22, 2002

Any channel that shows The League Of Gentlemen cannae be all bad.
posted by Kafkaesque at 1:53 PM on March 22, 2002

Hey, parallel to the thread topic, but did anyone here see the ridiculously funny Black Books? They ran it on Comedy Central for six weeks and, because it was actually amusing, didn't repeat it into the ground.
posted by dong_resin at 2:13 PM on March 22, 2002

Tough sell here. So far I've seen nothing on any of these links that merits even an nano-chuckle.
You'll need to do better than this if you want to enlist some new fans.
posted by HTuttle at 2:14 PM on March 22, 2002

Any country that likes The League of Gentlemen can't be all bad.
posted by liam at 2:26 PM on March 22, 2002

Quick everyone! Amuse HTuttle!

*Puts on clown shoes, walks into wall repeatedly, while crying*
posted by Kafkaesque at 2:27 PM on March 22, 2002

Dave, you're my wife now Dave.
posted by Spoon at 2:30 PM on March 22, 2002

Talking of Dave: Dave Gorman
posted by Fat Buddha at 2:38 PM on March 22, 2002

mr d_r - black books new series just started. as a late-comer, i am enjoying seeing the second series as well, which is also being shown on another night. a proper old fashioned sit-com, fantastic. my present favourite is the one where bill bailey (manny) gets to play the piano, the premise being that he is unknowingly a natural, or something. obviously, funnier if you were there, probably (on re-reading).

on thread, ali g. fb aie. plenty funny, but a one tricker, no doubt. interestingly offending a wide spectrum of society, is he abusing (i.e. using them for his own gain) racial stereotypes?
it is easy to dismiss this argument as that of someone who doesn't understand ali g, the act. but if someone finds it offensive, how can you tell them that? i think that it is obviously a character based on a white/asian london-satellite living wide-boy wannabe, but is that obvious to anyone who is not aware that such people exist?
we like to see 'powerful figures' brought down a peg or two in the interviews, but what else will he do, in the film? still, when he manages to run circles around people in some of the interviews, you have to question their suitability for their position.

ps quite good ali g translator (java applet)
eg. ali g sucks ass = ali g sucks batty
posted by asok at 3:14 PM on March 22, 2002

full disclosure - i have a 'don't touch the precious things' postcard, warning away errant knaves, above my stereo.

i also have a friend who can do an amazing papa lazarou impersination. she is a neo-natal nurse, i can only hope she never demonstrates her impersination to any of the parents she is dealing with. ever.
posted by asok at 3:26 PM on March 22, 2002

The whole point of Ali G's original interviews were exposing the incredible prejudice of out-of-touch politicians, in that they took his inane prattling completely at face value and accepted him as Channel 4's 'Voice of Yoof'. He's not so much mocking gangsta-rap culture as he is its appropriation by middle-class English youngsters with nothing to rebel against.
I think Sacha Baron Cohen's one funny guy - he was great on Comedy Nation. He did a whole Rabbi skit as well... that was possibly more offensive. I haven't seen the movie yet but the jury seems to be out insofar as reviews go. They either think he's stretched a one-gag character to breaking point or that he's developed him into a tragi-comic antihero and brought in a real sense of pathos. I don't really care, as long as he's funny.
Re: hilarious sitcoms, come on guys. The Office wins hands down. An absolute masterpiece.
posted by RokkitNite at 3:46 PM on March 22, 2002

My take is that Ali G is one of those phenomenons which seems fresh and absolutely hilarious when it first appears (must be at least three years ago now) and slowly grows staler and staler - much like the X-Files, at least IMO. When he was just a bit part on the 11 O' Clock show on Channel 4, and they just to put him at the end so people couldn't turn off straight after watching him, he was funny. As soon as he got his own TV show and celebrities actually volunteered to go on his programme, I stopped watching.

The fun thing is that I'm only two degrees of separation from Sacha Baron-Cohen, since one of my supervisors at university is his uncle, Prof. Simon Baron-Cohen, a world expert on autism. The thought of walking into his room with gold chains on and proclaiming 'We iz the Experimental Psychology massiv!' has crossed my mind and doubtless many others, but as far as I know, no-one has ever tried it. It's not as if Prof. Baron-Cohen is a nasty guy, in fact he's one of the friendliest and most intelligent guys I know at Cambridge, but we all get the feeling that he might somehow explode if exposed to an Ali G impression, or even worse, give us bad reports.
posted by adrianhon at 3:50 PM on March 22, 2002

I suppose there are two questions about Ali G:

1) Is he funny? - Not after 3 years, though initially it was hilarious. Now it's more broad humour than proper satire.

2) Is he offensive? - Absolutely not. I can't believe that there's still the big controversy about who the targets are: white/asian wannabees or hip-hop culture itself. As far as I can see it's been both all along, and that's fine, because both fully deserve to be sent up. It's not racist to make fun of hip-hop, because, as Chris Rock has been saying for ages, it's unnecessary for blacks to buy into that culture. Sure, I've read all the articles about how the materialism and misogyny of hip-hop is self-conscious and neurotic and a genuine response to the situation of (some) blacks in America. But please, don't tell me that is a let off from being so amoral and ridiculous. And I don't see why he's forbidden from criticising (originally) black culture because he's not black. He's mocking everyone dumb enough buy into that culture.

Perhaps the difference made by the character being white/asian is that they don't have a good reason to buy in - it's not their culture - but they do anyway, which is really dumb. I'm sure there's a lot to be said in favour of hip-hop, but that's no reason to be outraged that someone dares to mock it.
posted by Gaz at 4:44 PM on March 22, 2002

and i was JUST getting used to harold lloyd
posted by clavdivs at 6:35 PM on March 22, 2002

Gaz, regarding your second point above, I am trying to figure out a way to agree with you more, but I can't. I already agree with you as much as is humanly possible.

I know nothing about whether Ali G's barbs are sharp, but I support wholeheartedly his right to target whom he pleases.
posted by umberto at 7:45 PM on March 22, 2002

After reading up on Ali G, I'd say he's no more relevant or funny than oh say, South Park was three years ago. Get on with your bad self Ali, but I ain't gonna pay any attention to ya.
posted by mark13 at 1:46 PM on March 23, 2002

Initially, though the world was confused as to just who he was sending up,

It's obvious. Ali G is a direct rip off of Jimmy Saville
posted by wackybrit at 3:55 PM on March 23, 2002

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