Ali G.
March 3, 2003 11:14 AM   Subscribe

Da Ali G. Show I hadn't heard anything about this show before I came across it by accident, but I think it would floor most of you. It's truly hilarious. If you're not sure, check out the clip "Three Faces of Ali" here.

I have a feeling this show is really going to catch on... sorry if it's not post-appropriate, but I thought the humor is pretty sophisticated and right up Metafilter's alley.
posted by sparky (39 comments total)
Hey, my first thread was about Ali G!
posted by riffola at 11:19 AM on March 3, 2003

Cohen is "da" love child of Tom Green & Tracey Ullman. Hope you're kidding about the humor being sophisticated.
posted by luser at 11:25 AM on March 3, 2003

wow, new ali g. i've been wanting some more material for a while. thanks.

were it not for eddie izzard, he'd be my favorite overseas comedian. i love the
posted by lotsofno at 11:27 AM on March 3, 2003

Ali G is hilarious. I was very happy when I saw that he now has an HBO show. He has a number of dvds out in Europe, and apparently he even has a book.

If you haven't seen him before, his act basically consists of getting interviews with people he shouldn't be able to interview, and then walking a fine line between hilarity and ignorance for as long as he can manage.
posted by mosch at 11:28 AM on March 3, 2003

as funny as Ali G. is, the guy who plays him has decided not to do it anymore(at least, as far as I know).

The original show for BBC was so much better than the HBO one is. which, seems to always be the case.
posted by PugAchev at 11:28 AM on March 3, 2003

sparky, Ali G. says riffola is sayin yous is behind da times!
posted by DBAPaul at 11:28 AM on March 3, 2003

new Ali G material.

oh, its such a wonderful world..
posted by onedarkride at 11:32 AM on March 3, 2003

I really hope that Ali G is a huge success in the US, so that he doesn't return to Britain to bother all of us again.

(And the original show was Channel 4, not the BBC.)
posted by influx at 11:35 AM on March 3, 2003

Actually never a huge fan of Mr. G, however for the unitiated, the Google directory is pretty comprehensive. Even links to significant news stories about pre-watershed radio outbursts and the Madonna video. Also mentions the film.

Actually as with all such things you really had to be there at the start when he was simply the funnier bit of 'The Eleven O'Clock Show' on Channel 4.
posted by feelinglistless at 11:40 AM on March 3, 2003

In the last photo, "The Three Faces", the last one makes him look a little like Frank Zappa.
posted by mkelley at 11:46 AM on March 3, 2003

Ali G exceeded my high expectations in his first two episodes. Unfortunately, that seems to put me in a distinct minority. GoogleNews backs the claims that US reviews have been mostly negative. The main complaint is the fact he referred to 9/11 as "7/11". Other than that, he's become the whipping boy for reality TV's mean-spiritedness.
posted by yerfatma at 11:58 AM on March 3, 2003

Who is Ali G? (or is this something one would need a television to know the answer?)
posted by milnak at 11:59 AM on March 3, 2003

A Jewish guy pretending to be a Muslim guy who thinks he's black, Ali G thy name is Irony.
posted by PenDevil at 12:14 PM on March 3, 2003

i feel so bit thick. i must be batty already and me is not evun 40 yet.

I love MetaFilter, I'm obviously so clueless without you guys! BTW, I meant sophisticated only in that you have to know who people like Boutros-Ghali are to understand why it's funny. I was also being a little sarcastic, yes. *caught me!*
posted by sparky at 12:16 PM on March 3, 2003

Damn, some asshole actually posted about his (or her) non-tv-owning superiority before I was able to predict that said asshole would make the annoying post. Next time I'll have to be quicker.

So, is the general mefi consensus that Ali G is worth getting HBO for? The clips are damn funny.
posted by hummus at 12:18 PM on March 3, 2003

If not for that, definitely for Six Feet Under. Last night's episode was some of the best tv ever... of course "It's not television. It's HBO", as they say.
posted by sparky at 12:25 PM on March 3, 2003

Don't worry hummus, we're superiour in many other ways as well.
posted by Space Coyote at 12:29 PM on March 3, 2003

Apparently spelling is not one of those ways.
posted by zztzed at 12:31 PM on March 3, 2003

I don't think Ali G is meant to be Muslim -- if anything, he's an suburban white boy (called Alister Graham) who thinks he's "street" (not that that necessarily precludes Islam, of course).

His humour is fairly hit and miss. A highlight of his UK series was interviewing MPs and people of similar import and asking very inappropriate questions. His musical guests were very game as well.
posted by John Shaft at 12:49 PM on March 3, 2003

Am I the only one who can't stand Ali G?
posted by twine42 at 12:53 PM on March 3, 2003

Shaft: I was under the impression that Ali G was a take on the more urban teenagers from the Pakistani communities, especially those in the south of London.

Any Brit MeFi'ers want to clear it up?
posted by PenDevil at 1:06 PM on March 3, 2003

pendevil - i'm sure that ali g is supposed to be an urban white boy trying to be street and coming off as ridiculous. it's not about religion, only to poke fun at a certain type of british white male that he portrays with alarming accuracy. (see this for an example)

in one memorable scene from the first channel first series, ali is cajoled back behind barricades of a green protest after crossing them in attempt to save da trees. he turns to the police officer and says - "is is cause i is black?"

there's the joke - he's white. trying to be black. parody ahoy.

if you're having trouble with the language, may i suggest a perusal of this site.

increase da peace
posted by triv at 1:28 PM on March 3, 2003

The main complaint is the fact he referred to 9/11 as "7/11".

This is actually where he won me over. Maybe it'll get old, but so far I'm liking it. And maybe I'm not paying enough attention, but nobody else seems to be interviewing Boutros-Ghali.
posted by teenydreams at 1:38 PM on March 3, 2003

I dunno... I watched the first episode and all I kept thinking about was how it reminded me of when David Silver of "Beverly Hills 90210" fame tried to be a rapper. Ali G is far less hilarious than that.
posted by spilon at 1:47 PM on March 3, 2003

I know it's not about religion or anything I just thought old Ali was supposed to be a take off of the Pakistani/Indian youths who have also taken up hip/hop and black culture with as much enthusiasm as anyone else. Must've just been the name 'Ali' throwing me off.
posted by PenDevil at 1:51 PM on March 3, 2003

I caught the first two shows, they're hilarious, and I thought Ali G was going to be annoying and stupid (my previous exposure was the Madonna video and the HBO promos).

The premise is basically that Ali G and Borat, who hosts an apparently Greek travelogue of sorts, interviews or interacts with people who have no idea that the Ali G and Borat characters are put-ons.

Highlights for me would be:

Ali G asking "Boutros Boutros Boutros Ghali" which of the languages spoken at the UN was the funniest one and getting a surprisingly engaged answer from the former Secretary General. Loved Ali saying, "It's French, innit? 'Bou bou bou, bou bou bou'" while waving his hands around and looking down his nose.

Borat, attending a dinner in some way connected with a Southern (US) etiquette school, looking at his table mate and saying, "It smell ... like shit. Like when you make a poum. Like when you squeeze the bad air out of the hole? I can make poum, you want me to?"

My wife thought the bit with Ali interviewing a panel of "religious geezers" was a bit too mean spirited ... but asking a Catholic priest why Jesus "hung out wit all dem reindeer" and a Rabbi "why is it you lot chop off one nut?" still made her laugh.
posted by KiloHeavy at 2:11 PM on March 3, 2003

nitpick: Borat is Khazakstani.
posted by PenDevil at 2:15 PM on March 3, 2003

Ah, it was the Cyrillic subtitling that got me ... all that I'd seen looked like exclusively Greek.
posted by KiloHeavy at 2:21 PM on March 3, 2003

I keep trying not to like Ali G, but down here (Kilburn in London) pretty much every kid on the streets talks like him it's hilarious.

I love the fact that he gets away with this ridiculous behaviour in front of politicians who are for the most part desperate not to appear unhip in their ceaseless pursuit of the youth vote. If you can get hold of any of the videos from the UK series then check out his interview with a leading Unionist politician. Wonderful.

I have to admit I even laughed at the film (Ali G indahouse, clips available here).

There's quite an interesting article here by Mark Lawson about the negative reviews in the States and the whole PC culture. Not sure if it's on the mark, but it's an interesting read. Innit.

And he wasn't just the funniest thing on the eleven o'clock show, he was the only funny thing. Innit.
posted by ciderwoman at 3:33 PM on March 3, 2003

Ten minutes in and I was more than ready to click Tivo's delete and thumbs down buttons.
posted by billsaysthis at 8:03 PM on March 3, 2003

Yeah, I always picked Ali G as mocking the local "Asians" (as Indians and Pakistanis are generally called in the UK.

One of my few truly funny memories from an unpleasant stint in the West Midlands was being seated at a table one lunch time where all the white Englishmen were arguing that Ali G was rascist while the Pakistanis were excusing him on the grounds he was hilarious.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 9:10 PM on March 3, 2003

Ciderwoman - the *only* funny thing? I dunno - I thought Daisy Donovan trying to get various politicians to (inadvertently) double entendre was pretty bloody funny - the difference between Kilburn and West Hampstead is obviously wider than I thought...
posted by benzo8 at 9:36 PM on March 3, 2003

Ali G has his moments (especially when appearing as Borat Sagdiyev, master of the faux pas), but watching him just makes me nostalgic for Norman Gunston. Trooly rooly.
posted by hot soup girl at 10:50 PM on March 3, 2003

Hmm... Haven't seen the HBO version yet, but it looks like a lot of rehashing of the same material on the Channel 4 shows. Of course, there's the new Austrian fashion character, but sorry that's just not enough. For my fellow Americans, I would recommend looking for the UK stuff on P2P networks though. That includes the movie, which I thought was pretty funny.

I recently found a clip of Cohen as a writer for "Austria's gay community." He was interviewing skinheads at Evil Fest. It was tremendous (and brave)!
posted by Rattmouth at 10:58 PM on March 3, 2003

Cohen is "da" love child of Tom Green & Tracey Ullman. Hope you're kidding about the humor being sophisticated.

The character isn't sophisticated but the humour is. You have to separate the two. I don't see where Tom Green and Tracy Ullman come in.
posted by Summer at 2:45 AM on March 4, 2003


posted by Frasermoo at 5:51 AM on March 4, 2003

the difference between Kilburn and West Hampstead is obviously wider than I thought...

The difference between Kilburn and West Hampstead is that West Hampstead residents never claim to live in Kilburn......
(BTW does Mary's Cafe still exist, just off Kilburn High Rd? Best. Greasy Spoon. Ever.)
posted by Markb at 6:26 AM on March 4, 2003

Perhaps Americans just take themselves and their patriotism a little too seriously to be laughed at by the british.
posted by mary8nne at 7:45 PM on March 4, 2003

mary8nne - isn't that the perfect reason to be laughed at?
posted by triv at 5:35 AM on March 5, 2003

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