This Sacha Baron Cohen joke was so disturbing that the FBI had to get involved
Whether we're talking Borat, Bruno, or Da Ali G show, we're used to seeing Sacha Baron Cohen doing some crazy stuff on camera, and for the most part we're used to laughing at it. Who could forget the time that he teabagged Eminem at the MTV Movie Awards (staged, but still hilarious), or got way too personal with Victoria Beckham?
Ah, classic. Anyway, after a bit of a break from the comedy scene following the Brothers Grimsby, we all asked ourselves: can the Sacha Baron Cohen shtick survive in an increasingly aware and cynical society? His latest show, Who Is America?, answered that question with an emphatic "yes".
Proving once and for all that you can get people to do pretty much anything with little more than the power of suggestion and the glare of a video camera, Cohen's laundry list of characters on the show shone a light on the ugly, performative side of American politics, and from toddlers with guns campaigns to simply shouting the N-word into a microphone, Who Is America? covered it all. Or so we thought.
Now, not usually one to be easily cowed, Sacha Baron Cohen revealed that amongst all of his weird interviews, there was one so disturbing that he actually reported it to the FBI, and it's never been aired as a result of its inherent creepiness.
Speaking to Deadline, Cohen went to the city of Las Vegas at the height of the Harvey Weinstein misconduct scandal, employing his character Gio Monaldo with the intention of wringing out some uncomfortable comedy from the people of Sin City.
Using Gio as a way to understand how someone like Weinstein could wreak havoc on an industry for so long in the shadows. As Gio Monaldo, Cohen recalls: "During the interview, I revealed that basically Gio has molested an eight-year-old boy."
"Now, mind you, this is extreme comedy and we thought that the guy would leave the room. Instead, this concierge stays in the room…this guy starts advising Gio how to get rid of this issue.
We even at one point talk about murdering the boy, and the concierge is just saying, 'Well, listen, I’m really sorry. In this country, we can’t just drown the boy. This is America we don’t do that.' And then, in the end, he puts me in touch with a lawyer who can silence the boy."
The segment ended with the concierge giving Cohen contact details for someone who could get underage boys for a good time, and Cohen admitted it was too dark to air on the show. "In a journalistic way it was fascinating, but it was so extreme and so dark that it was too unsettling for the audience," the 47-year-old comedian said, adding that the FBI decided not to pursue the pedophile ring at the time.
In a provocative, shocking show like Who Is America?, it's perhaps inevitable that things will go too far.