You've probably heard that Sacha Baron Cohen has returned to TV; his new show "Who Is America?" has been making headlines even before its premiere because various public figures (including Sarah Palin) have been complaining about having been duped into appearing on it.
On Sunday night, Showtime aired the first installment of Cohen's latest dark comedy series and also, smartly, released a YouTube clip of the show's most explosive and buzzworthy segment (embedded above), which has gone instantly viral. (Palin isn't in the first episode, btw.) Like Cohen's old "Da Ali G Show," "Who Is America?" is an equal-opportunity offender, and during the full episode Cohen skewers the left and the right via indelible fictional characters (once again, he's a master of disguise). For instance, as an obnoxious liberal activist named Dr. Nira Cain-N'Degeocello, Cohen engages in dinner conversation with a gracious, wealthy Trump-supporting married couple, and expounds upon, among other things, his parental efforts to defy gender norms (e.g., forcing his son to sit down while peeing and his daughter to stand up), to their horror.
Three other Cohen characters appear on the first episode: Billy Wayne Ruddick Jr., Ph.D., an Alex Jones-type conspiracy theorist; Rick Sherman, an ex-convict-turned-artist; and Erran Morad, an Israeli anti-terrorism expert and gun advocate. Morad "stars" in the first episode's closing segment, above, and it is simply ... jaw-dropping.
In it, Cohen-as-Morad speaks at length with Philip Van Cleave, the president of the Virginia Citizen's Defense League, about a supposed Israeli program that trains and arms children as young as three—an idea Van Cleave absolutely loves. (In fact, Van Cleave loves it so much he agrees to help Cohen/Morad do a faux pro-gun PSA for toddlers.) But Pratt isn't alone in his enthusiasm. Cohen/Morad gets former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, California Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, South Carolina Congressman Joe Wilson and former Illinois Congressman (turned talk-show host) Joe Walsh on camera expressing their support for "Kinder Guardians." And don't miss the closing endorsement from Larry Pratt, the executive director emeritus of the Gun Owners of America.
It's surreal, it's disturbing, it's outrageously funny—and it's very America circa 2018.