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A Letter to Sacha Baron Cohen

19 May

Dear Sacha Baron Cohen,

When most of America first met you in the film Borat, your brand of comedy was new and novel.

The way you didn’t just play a character, you became that person — on screen and in every promotional appearance — was a brilliant display of performance art. You drew laughs from our discomfort, and I loved it.

Your next such movie, Brüno, was less successful largely because you basically did the same thing all over again, just with a gay German fashion reporter instead of a clueless Kazakh reporter. Yawn.

Now you’re starring in The Dictator, playing Admiral General Aladeen, a despot from the fictional North African country of Wadiya, who sees himself as a peer and friend of Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi, etc. The film is a satire of current world politics, a sendup of the Middle Eastern dictator culture, and again, you’ve been out promoting the film in character.

You’ve been at the Oscars, where you dumped Kim Jong-il’s “ashes” on Ryan Seacrest, and on Saturday Night Live with your Hugo director, Martin Scorsese. And you’ve made multiple other appearances as Aladeen, making many of the same jokes we saw in the film’s trailer and that we see in the film itself.

If your intention is to shock and offend us, then why ruin the gags for us before we’ve even paid for a ticket?

I’m sorry to be the one who has to tell you, but at this point, it’s not just “been there, done that” … it’s over. Continue reading