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Sacha Baron Cohen on the Borat Sequel and Playing Abbie Hoffman

Sacha Baron Cohen

Sacha Baron Cohen on the Borat Sequel and Playing Abbie Hoffman

Reviving his Borat character and playing the political activist Abbie Hoffman, the actor feels he “had to ring the alarm bell and say that democracy is in peril this …

Sacha Baron Cohen on the 'Borat' Sequel and Playing Abbie Hoffman – The New York Times

|Sacha Baron Cohen: This Time He’s Serioushttps://nyti.ms/3j4Yidd

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Sacha Baron Cohen: This Time He’s Serious

Reviving his Borat character and playing the political activist Abbie Hoffman, the actor feels he “had to ring the alarm bell and say that democracy is in peril this year.”

Leading man: Sacha Baron Cohen’s riotous characters have perhaps masked his dramatic abilities.Credit…Buck Ellison for The New York Times

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Oct. 17, 2020

Borat uses the flower bed in front of the Trump hotel at Columbus Circle as a men’s room.

Sacha Baron Cohen plays the cello and is planning to take some Zoom classes from the masters.

Borat keeps his teenage daughter in a cage. (“Is it nicer than Melania’s cage?” she wonders.) And when he takes her clothes shopping, he asks the saleswoman to direct them to the “No means Yes section.”

Sacha Baron Cohen, who once dreamed of being a chef, loves to cook for his family.

Borat buys a chocolate cake and asks the woman behind the counter to write on top, “Jews will not replace us” in icing — with a smiley face.

Sacha Baron Cohen is an observant Jew who speaks Hebrew and works with the Anti-Defamation League on “Stop Hate for Profit,” a campaign to stem the bile on social media.

If you thought the comedian could never do anything wilder than in his 2018 Showtime series, “Who Is America?” you would be wrong. There’s a scene with a top Trump adviser in “Borat Subsequent Movie Film: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan” (premiering on Oct. 23 on Amazon) that will leave you gobsmacked.

in disgust, : “I thought he was seriously retarded. It was a total con job. But my daughter Ivanka saw it and thought it was very cool.”

Mr. Baron Cohen, who turned 49 this past week, said, “Obviously, I’ve realized that I’ve had a longstanding distaste for the president. That was why I wanted to interview him as Ali G.”

He added, “His brilliance was to commandeer the very term that was being used against him, ‘fake news,’ and use it against every journalist that had journalistic integrity.”

The prankster has no problem sprinting out of a luxury hotel in New York and running down the street in lacy pink lingerie. But out of character, he’s very private, even a bit shy.

, Va., an appalled Mr. Baron Cohen reached out to Jonathan Greenblatt, the director of the A.D.L., who persuaded the star to give the keynote at last year’s A.D.L. summit, Never Is Now.

“I was just so impressed by his intelligence,’’ Mr. Greenblatt said. “These issues are at the heart of his motive for his unique style of art. More than anyone in public life today, he exposes bias — whether it’s anti-Semitism, homophobia or rank racism — for what it is, shameful and wrenching and ignorant.” (In fact, Mr. Baron Cohen used Hebrew and some Polish as a stand-in for the Kazakh language in Borat.)

The actor started his speech by saying that, to be clear, “when I say ‘racism, hate and bigotry,’ I’m not referring to the names of Stephen Miller’s Labradoodles.” Later he noted that while his stunts could be “juvenile” and “puerile,” at least some are aimed at getting people to reveal what they actually believe, as “when Borat was able to get an entire bar in Arizona to sing ‘Throw the Jew down the well,’ it did reveal people’s indifference to anti-Semitism.”

Scorching the lords of the cloud, he said that Facebook would run and micro-target any “political” ad anyone wants, even if it’s a lie. “If Facebook were around in the 1930s,’’ he said, “it would have allowed Hitler to post 30-second ads on his ‘solution’ to the ‘Jewish problem.’”

The speech catalyzed the “Stop Hate for Profit” campaign, with a coalition of civil rights groups and Mr. Baron Cohen wrangling celebrities. Doing the speech was “completely out of my comfort zone,” he said, because “I’ve always been reluctant to be a celebrity and I’ve always been wary of using my fame to push any political views, really.”

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