Ali G (Borat)

Ali G is a satirical comic character invented and played by the British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen. Originally appearing on Channel 4’s Eleven O’Clock show, Ali G is now the main character of HBO’s Da Ali G Show.


Ali G first appeared on Channel 4’s Eleven O’Clock show as the “voice of da youth”. He interviewed various public figures in the United Kingdom, who, too scared to appear “uncool”, were completely fooled by his idiosyncratic interview technique, based mostly on the simple stratagem of pretending to be stupid.

One particularly memorable interview was with a fashion designer. Ali G suggested that the Wonderbra should be banned as it misleads men into thinking that a girl’s breasts are larger than they are; he retold a story of having been disappointed when a girl Daan had “pulled” proved to have been wearing a Wonderbra. He also asked his interviewee if he was pleased Gianni Versace was killed, because it meant less competition, and he suggested that he’d heard a rumour that Calvin Klein did it.

Other examples of his style of interviewing include coaxing the Bishop of Horsham into saying that he believed God created the Universe, and then asking “And since then, he’s just chilled?” Ali G then asked the Bishop what God looks like, to which the Bishop replied “Well, he’s sort of Jesus-shaped.” During his interview with James Ferman, former director of the British Board of Film Classification after asking whether a succession of his made-up vulgarities would restrict a film to an over 18 audience, Ali G suggested that film censorship should be done by a younger person who understands the crude terms being used. The Chairman of the Arts Council of England Gerry Robinson was flummoxed when Ali G began an interview with the question Why is it that everything you fund is so crap?

Ali G was featured in Madonna’s music video for her song “Music” as the limousine driver, and subsequently recorded his own record with the reggae/pop performer Shaggy. In 2001, Ali G hosted MTV Europe Music Awards in Lisbon, Portugal. In 2002, he was the central character in the feature film Ali G Indahouse, in which he became elected to the United Kingdom’s Parliament and had to foil a plot to bulldoze a community centre in his home town of Staines. He is now the main character of HBO’s Da Ali G Show, which also features two other characters played by Cohen: Borat Sagdiyev, a foreign correspondent from Kazakhstan; and Bruno, a fashion reporter for Austria’s fictional Gay TV.

Ali G was recently featured in a series of ads for the 05-06 NBA season, in which he uses his brand of off-kilter reporting to interview various NBA stars. The spots were directed by Spike Lee. (