In the age of Trump, you might be tempted to assume that nothing on television could shock you anymore.
Enter the ultimate provocateur Sacha Baron Cohen, master of bizarre disguises and cringe comedy, who’s made a living out of interviewing famous – and gullible – faces while in disguise.
This time the Borat and Ali G star is stirring up the febrile world of US politics, following the surprise announcement that his new series Who is America? will begin on Channel 4 on Monday 16 July.
Here’s everything you need to know about Who is America?
- Watch the first teaser for Sacha Baron Cohen’s new TV series
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- RadioTimes.com newsletter: get the latest TV and entertainment news direct to your inbox
When is Who is America? on TV?
Who is America? is on Mondays at 10pm on Channel 4. In the USA, the seven-part show starts the day before on Sunday 15 July on Showtime. The announcement came after Radio Times magazine went to press, so check RadioTimes.com for listings updates.
Is there a trailer?
Yes, Channel 4 released a trailer after news that it was broadcasting the show in the UK was confirmed.
What’s Who is America? about?
Cohen recently took to Twitter to tease the show, with the message, “Imagine if Sacha Baron Cohen had been undercover secretly filming a new show for a year…”
— Sacha Baron Cohen (@SachaBaronCohen) July 8, 2018
Filmed over the course of the past year, the seven-episode show is set to explore “diverse individuals, from the infamous to the unknown across the political and cultural spectrum” in the US.
Showtime CEO David Nevins said, “Sacha is a comedic genius who shocks you with his audacity, bravery and inventiveness.
“He is the premier provocateur of our time, but not for the sake of ‘gotcha’ moments. Behind the elaborate setup is a genuine quest for the truth about people, places and politics. Nobody knows how to cause a stir like Sacha Baron Cohen, and it’s going to be fascinating to watch what happens when Who is America? is released on the world.”
There’s also widespread speculation, judging from the trailers released so far, that the show’s format will echo Cohen’s Da Ali G Show, which saw the comic (in disguise) interview various celebrities, including at one point Donald Trump.
Cohen also issued a warning to President Trump on US Independence Day, posting a video featuring Trump declaring: “Sacha Baron Cohen, go to school! Learn about being funny.”
In the video, Cohen’s face is superimposed over Trump’s with the message, “He’s back as you’ve never seen him before.”
— Sacha Baron Cohen (@SachaBaronCohen) July 4, 2018
Who does Sacha Baron Cohen interview in Who is America?
Former Vice President Dick Cheney is already confirmed as an interviewee, as he appears in both the official Channel 4 trailer and in the teaser trailer.
In the latter, Cheney is asked by Cohen’s (unseen) character whether he can sign a ‘waterboarding kit’. The former Vice President then obliges and signs the kit on camera.
Sarah Palin, former Alaska governor and vice-presidential candidate, also confirmed on Facebook that she had been “duped” into appearing on the show, branding Cohen’s approach as “evil, exploitative” and claiming that the comedian dressed as a US war veteran.
Yup – we were duped. Ya’ got me, Sacha. Feel better now? I join a long list of American public personalities who have…
What disguise will Sacha Baron Cohen wear in Who is America?
Cohen hit back at Palin’s claim that he had dressed up as a US war veteran by posting a message on Twitter – under the guise of a brand new character, Billy Wayne Ruddick Jr., PhD, founder of TruthBrary.
“I did NOT say I was a War Vet,” the letter reads. “I was in the service – not military, but United Parcel and I only fought for my country once – when I shot a Mexican who came onto my property.”
The letter praises Palin for “TELLING THE TRUTH about Obama’s birth certificate and the location of Russia” but adds that, “ma’am, I do believe that you have been hit by a bulls**t grenade and are now bleedin’ FAKE NEWS”.
— Billy Wayne Ruddick Jr., PhD (@BillyWRuddick) July 12, 2018
It’s currently unclear whether Cohen will debut a number of ‘characters’, although the Channel 4 trailer above show glimpses of Cohen sporting what appear to be a number of different disguises.