- Alex Lawrie / Lawrie Cornish
Sacha Baron Cohen will return to television on Sunday at 10 p.m. with the premiere of his new Showtime series, “Who Is America?”
14 years after “Da Ali G Show” ended its two-season run on HBO, Cohen’s new series for Showtime is billed to follow a similar format of covert, satirical interviews with unsuspecting guests.
Cohen first previewed the show last week with a cryptic Twitter video that featured Donald Trump mocking Cohen.
On Monday, Showtime confirmed the series will be called “Who Is America?,” and Cohen teased an interview with former vice president Dick Cheney.
On Friday, Sarah Palin went on ABC’s “Good Morning America” to discuss her appearance on Cohen’s show, after she wrote a Facebook post saying that Cohen had “duped” her and her daughter into participating in an interview.
The series is reportedly set to feature a number of other headline-grabbing political names, including Bernie Sanders, Joe Walsh, and Roy Moore.
Here’s everything we know about Cohen’s new Showtime series:
The seven-episode series has been more than a year in the making
- Getty Images
On Monday, Cohen released a promotional clip on Twitter announcing the debut of a show that had been more than a year in the making.
“Imagine if Sacha Baron Cohen had been undercover secretly filming a new show for a year,” read the text of the clip.
Showtime officially announced on Tuesday that the series, titled “Who Is America?,” will have a seven episode first season.
Per a release, the show, written and directed by Cohen, “will explore the diverse individuals, from the infamous to the unknown across the political and cultural spectrum, who populate our unique nation.”
It will feature new characters from Cohen
Showtime previewed “Who Is America?” in a clip this week that teased images of new character disguises from Cohen.
Cohen previously said that he would abandon the characters that originated from “Da Ali G Show,” including Borat, Ali G, and Brüno – each of which received its own feature film in the years following the HBO show’s final season.
In a release, Showtime described the new show’s “lead character” as “shameless,” “unhinged” and “cold-blooded.”
According to Sarah Palin, one of Cohen’s characters for the show will resemble a “disabled US Veteran.”
However, Cohen rebutted Palin’s account of the interview on Thursday by retweeting an account that the comedian ostensibly created for the character he interviewed Palin with for the show, called Billy Wayne Ruddick Jr.
“I did NOT say I was a War Vet. I was in the service – not military, but United Parcel,” Ruddick wrote in a tweet. “I was sadly prevented from joining the regular army on account of bone spurs bein discovered in my testes.”
Dick Cheney signs a “waterboard kit” in his interview for the show
In a teaser video Cohen released on Monday, an off-screen Cohen interviews former vice president Dick Cheney.
In the clip, Cohen asks Cheney to sign a “waterboard kit,” which Cheney does with a smile and says, “That’s the first time I ever signed a waterboard.”
Another promotional clip released this week showed Cheney facing the camera and saying, “I hope you’ll tune in next week for an interview with me.”
Sarah Palin says she was “duped” into an interview, calls Cohen’s humor “evil”
- Getty Images/Alex Wong
The former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin wrote a Facebook post on Tuesday confirming that she and her daughter had been “duped” into an interview for Cohen’s series.
Palin wrote that Showtime and Cohen lured her into participating in what was supposed to be a “legit Showtime historical documentary” meant to “honor American vets.” She said that Cohen disguised himself as a “disabled US veteran” in a wheelchair.
“I join a long list of American public personalities who have fallen victim to the evil, exploitive, sick ‘humor’ of the British ‘comedian’ Sacha Baron Cohen, enabled and sponsored by CBS/Showtime,” Palin wrote.
“I sat through a long ‘interview’ full of Hollywoodism’s disrespect and sarcasm – but finally had enough and literally, physically removed my mic and walked out, much to Cohen’s chagrin,” she continued. “The disrespect of our US military and middle-class Americans via Cohen’s foreign commentaries under the guise of interview questions was perverse.”
Palin expounded on her interview with Cohen in an interview with ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Friday.
“He started showing me these graphs and statistics that had like typos in them and just didn’t quite look right and part of this propaganda, this data that he was showing me, had something to do with sex changes and transgenderism and he brought up Chelsea Clinton and said she was a recipient of a government-funded sex change,” Palin said on “GMA.” “It just got worse and worse and worse as the minutes went on in this bizarre, really embarrassing, humiliating interview.”
Cohen has apparently “finked” a long list of other political figures for the series, including Bernie Sanders, Roy Moore, and Joe Walsh
Matt Drudge, founder of conservative blog The Drudge Report, tweeted on Monday from his personal account that Cohen’s show will feature interviews with political figures from both sides of the aisle, including Bernie Sanders.
“Sacha Baron Cohen at it again!,” Drudge wrote in a now-deleted tweet. “This time for CBS/SHOWTIME. Lots of tricks played. Both Republicans and Democrats are getting caught up in the madness. Sacha has finked Cheney, Palin, Howard Dean, Alberto Gonzales, Bernie, Trent Lott, Petraeus, Ted Koppel, and more… BEWARE!”
So far, Palin and Ted Koppel are the only people on Drudge’s particular list who have confirmed their appearances on the show, aside from Cheney, who appeared in promotional footage for the series.
On Wednesday, however, the former Congressman turned radio host Joe Walsh said in a series of tweets tagged “#BoycottShowtime,” that he had also been “duped” by Cohen. Walsh said Cohen’s team flew him to Washington D.C. for a fake pro-Israel event that honored him with an award for his “Significant Contributions to the State of Israel.”
“I sat down and we started talking pro-Israel stuff, Israeli defense, and then out of left field the interviewer starts talking about how children should defend themselves against terrorist attacks. #BoycottShowtime,” Walsh wrote.
And on Thursday, the former Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore confirmed his appearance on the show by threatening to sue Showtime and Cohen for tricking him into a segment that he said was meant to “embarrass, humiliate and mock not only Israel” but conservative figures like Walsh, Palin, and himself.
The show will first premiere on-demand before airing Sundays at 10 p.m. on Showtime
“Who Is America?” will first premiere on Showtime On-Demand Saturday at midnight before airing Sunday at 10 p.m. ET on the cable network, according to Deadline.
The subsequent episodes will follow at 10 p.m. ET on Sundays.