Sacha Baron Cohen is a man with many faces. You know him as Borat, Brüno, and Ali G (and now as his new characters for his new show, Who Is America?) but do you anything about the man behind the disguises?
Keep reading to find out just how smart this comedian is. Also, find out just how far he’ll go for his art— and by “just how far,” I’m referring to a certain anal bleaching incident.
He Was Banned From The 84th Academy Awards
Sacha Baron Cohen was barred from the 84th Academy Awards for spilling an urn containing the “ashes” of Kim Jong Il all over Ryan Seacrest’s tuxedo.
Ryan Seacrest was taken completely by surprise. The stunt cost Cohen his ticket into the awards, but it got him a lot of media attention.
Civilians Alerted The FBI About Borat
The FBI started compiling a file on Sacha Baron Cohen while he was filming Borat after receiving numerous complaints about a strange man traveling around the country in an ice cream truck.
Sacha Baron Cohen had this to say about the situation: “So the FBI got so many complaints that they started compiling a little file on us and eventually they came to visit us at the hotel. I obviously went missing when I heard because [the film crew] were like, ‘FBI’s downstairs. Sacha, disappear.'”
He Has A Degree From Cambridge
That’s right, the man behind Borat graduated from Cambridge University with a history degree. His comedy is a lot smarter than most people give him credit for.
Maybe Cambridge helped him develop his comedic mind. Some of the great British comedians went to Cambridge, and Cohen is one of them.
Before Cambridge He Went To A Very Famous Boy’s School
Sacha Baron Cohen went to Haberdashers’ Aske’s School for Boys in Hertfordshire. That’s the same school as broadcaster Alan Whicker, Little Britain star Matt Lucas, comedian David Baddiel, and former Formula 1 champion Damon Hill.
Talk about good company. Keep reading to find out which pop star put a Sacha Baron Cohen character in her music video.
He Gave His Harvard Commencement Speech As Ali G
Back in 2004, Sacha Baron Cohen was invited to give a commencement speech for Harvard’s graduating class. Cohen decided to give the speech in character.
It’s one of the best Harvard commencement speeches of all time, and if you haven’t seen it, definitely look it up on YouTube.
He Trained As A Clown In Paris
Every comedian needs to start somewhere, and it doesn’t get more basic than clowning around.
Sacha took clown training in Paris, at the Ecole Philippe Gaulier, studying under master-clown Philippe Gaulier. Gaulier said that Cohen “was a good clown, full of spirit.” That’s basically a description of every Sacha Baron Cohen character ever.
He Was In A Madonna Music Video
Ali G, one of Sacha Baron Cohen’s alter egos, was featured in Madonna’s music video for her hit song “Music.”
In the video, Madonna and her friends party and sing in a limousine driven by Ali G. I’d trust Sacha to drive a limo, but I’m not sure about Ali G.
No Fine Left Unpaid
Sacha Baron Cohen offered to pay fines for six Czech tourists who were arrested in Kazakhstan for wearing nothing but’Borat inspired mankinis.
The Czech men were detained for “minor hooliganism.” I think minor hooliganism should be totally legal. Just a little bit of fun is ok.
Brüno Had A Severe Reaction To A Certain Cosmetic Procedure
In preparation for his film Brüno, Sacha Baron Cohen decided to do a little downstairs maintenance, if you know what I mean.
Unfortunately for everybody, he suffered a severe reaction to the bleach where the sun don’t shine. I don’t care what anybody says, that’s commitment.
Why He Didn’t End Up Playing Freddie
Sacha Baron Cohen was supposed to star as Freddie Mercury in a biopic about the Queen frontman. Ultimately, he decided to leave the film over creative differences with Queen.
He was told that Freddie died in the middle of the film. Initially, he thought that meant that the story was going to be told out of order, but then he realized that the second half of the film would be about how the band carried on without Freddie.
A Moustache To Remember
It takes Sacha about six weeks to grow Borat’s body, head, and facial hair. Ali G’s facial hair also takes around six weeks to perfect.
When he’s transforming into Brüno, he shaves all of his hair (and I mean ALL of his hair) and he makes sure his body is super clean.
O Brother Where Art Thou?
Sacha Baron Cohen’s brother, Erran Baron Cohen, is an English composer and trumpet player. He is a founding member of the world music group Zohar.
He also scored the original music for his brother’s films Borat and Brüno, as well as his TV series Da Ali G Show. Erran shares a name with one of Sacha’s newest characters, Erran Morad, which can’t just be a coincidence.
Hugh Laurie Once Saved Him From Getting Beaten Up
One fine day in New York, Sacha, dressed as Borat, was exploring the streets with his friend Hugh Laurie.
Sacha as Borat approached a stranger and said something in character that was a bit insensitive. The stranger did not get the joke and decided to punch Borat in the face repeatedly. Hugh had to step in and calm things down.
Kazakhstan Loved The Borat Movie
After Borat was released in 2012, Kazakhstan’s foreign minister thanked Sacha Baron Cohen. The film caused a tenfold increase in the amount of issued Kazakhstan visas.
I guess you could say that Borat put Kazakhstan on the map. I mean, it was on the map before, but now we know where it is on the map.
Sacha’s Cousin Is A World Class Autism Researcher
Sacha Baron Cohen has a cousin, Simon Baron Cohen, who is a Professor of Developmental Psychopathology at the University of Cambridge. Simon is an internationally recognized autism researcher.
I think his CV is just as impressive as Sacha’s television career. Keep reading to find out how Sacha got his start in the industry.
There’s A Judd Apatow Collab In The Works
All the way back in 2008, we found out that Judd and Sacha would be working together on a comedic Sherlock Holmes film.
The film also stars John C. Reily and Will Ferrell. It’s scheduled to come out in December 2018 (we’ve been waiting a long time).
Isla Fischer Converted To Judaism
Just in case you’ve been out of the loop for a while, Sacha Baron Cohen is married to actress Isla Fischer. They have three kids together.
Before they got married, Isla spent three years converting to Judaism so that Sacha’s parents would approve of their marriage.
Dashing Good Looks
Sacha Baron Cohen worked as a male model before he made it big with Da Ali G Show.
All I can say is, I’m not surprised. He looks great without all the character makeup on. His actual face is definitely model material.
A Town Changed Thier Name Because Of Him
In 2012, the English town of Staines changed its name to Staines-upon-Thames, in part to distance itself from Sacha Baron Cohen’s fictional character Ali G.
Ali G frequently mentions that he’s from Staines. I don’t know if adding “upon-Thames” really accomplished anything, though. It’s nice that it rhymes, I guess.
He’s Friends With John Cena
Sacha Baron Cohen has been a lifelong fan of professional wrestling. Apparently, he’s even best buddies with John Cena.
I guess that sort of explains the wrestling scene in Borat, although I’m not sure that I’ll ever truly understand that scene’s real purpose. I think it’s beyond all of us.