Borat Unmasked

Sacha Baron Cohen, the mondo-talented comedian/actor behind Borat and Ali G, gave a rare interview as himself to NPR’s Terry Gross today. In it he admits that the wild success of Borat will make his brand of “undercover” comedy much tougher to pull off in the future, an issue I discussed back when I caught the film at the Toronto Film Festival in September.

Universal Pictures recently won a bidding war for the rights to film a third Cohen character, Bruno, a gay Austrian fashion correspondent with a penchant for Mohawks and mesh shirts. Universal paid $42.5 million for the rights, a reported $13 million of which goes to the British actor.

Just as surprising (though completely deserved), Cohen is getting quite a bit of attention from the various year-end awards, including a Golden Globe nomination for best performance in a comedy or musical. I still stay a much-deserved Oscar nomination remains remote. And for the sake of his continued creative relevance — the unveiling of his real identity would be lethal to his brand of Kaufman-esque genius — let’s hope it doesn’t happen. Of course, we’d be all for it if he shows up in character.

— Jason Gargano

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