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The Late Movies: Ali G

The Late Movies

Before Borat, before BrĂ¼no, there was Ali G, a character created by Sacha Baron Cohen to satirize various political and social issues through interviews with public figures. According to Wikipedia:

Ali G is a boorish, uneducated, streetwise youth with a deeply stereotypical view of the world, who either embarrasses his interviewee by displaying a mixture of uninformed political incorrectness, or gets the interview ‘victim’ to agree to some breathtaking inaccuracy or insult.

… Examples of his bold interviewing style include getting the Bishop of Horsham to admit that God created the Universe, and then asked him, “And since then, He’s [God's] just chilled?” Ali G asked the Bishop about God’s appearance, to which the Bishop replied, “Well, he’s sort of Jesus-shaped.”

Personally, I find Ali G really refreshing, because the character himself is so thoroughly uninformed — the best bits are when interview subjects try to educate him and he just cannot be reached. It’s simultaneously frustrating (sometimes uncomfortable to watch), informative, and sort of painfully funny. I’ve assembled some of my favorite clips below for your viewing enjoyment; fair warning, though: there is a little use of profanity and TONS of crude humor in these clips.

Animal Rights

Interviewing two professors, an animal rights activist, and a woman with a hedgehog. “Even animals has rights,” Ali G says to introduce the topic. Later: “Well, hell, I like kicking hedgehogs,” says the fur industry guy.

Religion

Interviewing four people “who is all four about something called ‘religion.’” The four are a Catholic priest, an atheist, a rabbi, and a Georgetown professor. “Ain’t God just an over-hyped David Blaine?”

Religion and Rapping

Ali G gets a Baptist minister to agree that if Jesus was around today, he’d be a rapper; he gets a rabbi to rap; the Baptist minister freestyles; various people put on Ali G’s Tommy Hilfiger hat which may or may not mean they subscribe to his religious beliefs; and more.

Medical Ethics

“With transplants, when does it stop being you? When I say ‘you,’ I mean, I don’t mean…you, I mean, like…you know, if you had a transplant…I don’t know if you has one…I don’t…you know what I is saying when I say ‘you?’ All right, let’s change the subject here. Wouldn’t it be great if we had the technology to make everyone black?”

Feminism

Interviewing the Director of the Center for Gender Research. “Women, they is important, aren’t they? … Do you think there will ever be a female Prime Minister?”

Teacher/Student Relationships

“In school, me French teacher, Miss Bird, used to totally fancy me. … Why was I not allowed to date her? … Don’t you think students would study harder if there was an incentive?”

The Media

“Is books parts of the media? … What is the point of them? … Now, I ain’t done this, but has any of you actually read a book?”

“Why don’t they make a version of Sesame Street for kids?”

See also: Is Science Good or is it Whack? and a list of notable people interviewed by Ali G (it’s pretty impressive — Gore Vidal, Donald Trump, John McCain, Ralph Nader, Buzz Aldrin, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Noam Chomsky…the list goes on).


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