"Da Ali G Show" Review
By Shawn McKenzie 02/23/2003
America has its share of annoying comedic actors. Pauly Shore, Tom Green, and Carrot Top are a few that come to mind. It would only make sense that England would have their share as well. Unless I’m completely wrong, that comedic actor would be Sacha Baron Cohen, a.k.a. Ali G.
Ali G is a British gangsta rapper, or that is how he portrays himself. In America, he is probably best known as the limo driver in Madonna’s video for her song “Music” (he is the one who keeps saying “Respec!”) In England, he has had various popular TV shows and has won a couple of BAFTA TV Awards. Now he has a late night HBO show, and I’m not sure what the appeal is. Aside from Ali G, Cohen also has a couple other characters that he does on his show. One is Borat, a reporter from Kazakhstan who is a little slow, and Bruno, a reporter from Austria who reports on fashion (and thinks he is as sexy as the models.)
In the first episode, Ali G visited the Philadelphia Police Academy, where he messed around with the officers and didn’t take any of it seriously (which made me wonder why they agreed to let him do the report there.) Next, Borat did a report on dating, or more specifically, getting a woman to sleep with him. He interviews a woman from Great Expectations, the dating service. After that, Bruno covers a New York fashion show and interviews its organizer, Paul Wilmot. Finally, Ali G interviews former U.S. Attorney General Dick Thornberg. He asks Thornberg questions about the law (which is what this week’s “theme” is supposed to be about, though the Borat and Bruno segments don’t seem to follow it.) Like the other people who are interviewed on this show, Thornberg seemed to take it seriously, even when Ali G asked him for the definition of “Barely Legal.”
I’ll give it another chance, because occasionally it made me laugh, but “Da Ali G Show” feels like the British equivalent of MTV’s “The Tom Green Show,” minus the cow udder sucking. It might be a cultural thing, but I’m not sure why this man gets such critical acclaim over in England. I can see this show appealing only to preteen boys, the same audience Green garners. I guess with the loss of “Arli$$” and “The Mind of the Married Man,” HBO was at a loss for bad shows. No network can be perfect apparently, and they needed this show to balance out the karmic scales. Job well done, HBO!
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