"Da Ali G Show" creator returns to premium cable Sunday with a new series that appears to involve fake characters interviewing real people.
Sacha Baron Cohen has been up to something, and it looks like it's coming to Showtime this weekend under the name "Who Is America?"
As always, the provocateur has kept this latest project almost completely under wraps during production, but details have been creeping out for a few weeks now. Eagle-eyed editors for Vulture found a series of posters in Brooklyn over the weekend featuring Cohen's name and the show title, along with the tagline, "You've been warned."
"Imagine if Sacha Baron Cohen had been undercover secretly filming a new show for a year," the "Borat" star asked in a new video posted to his Twitter feed Sunday afternoon. In it, Cohen asks (with a Middle Eastern accent) if Dick Cheney will sign his waterboarding kit, with the former vice president happily agreeing.
The network was much more vague in a promotional video released last week for the upcoming project where the network proudly revealed absolutely nothing about it, while touting how "dangerous" it will be.
"We'd like to tell you about a new comedy that's coming, but we can't," the network said in their promotional video. "The creators won't let us show you a scene, the lawyers won't let us tell you the name of the star, and we can't even reveal the show's title or we'd be breaking our nondisclosure agreement.
"So how do we promote perhaps the most dangerous show in the history of television when we're not allowed to show it?" they asked, promising that "something huge" was coming on July 15. Posters for Cohen's show say that it airs Sundays at 10 p.m. ET, so that lines up.
Cohen had previously posted a tweet on July 4 featuring Donald Trump ripping into him, calling him a "third-rate character" and telling him to "go to school, learn about being funny." That promo had the tagline, "Sacha graduates soon," followed by an image of the Trump University logo.
The next day, Variety reported that Cohen was in talks with Showtime for a new series similar to his HBO series "Da Ali G Show," which featured Cohen in character as Ali G, Borat and Bruno, who would all go on to carry their own feature films.
With his latest clip, it seems clear that Cohen was able to gain access to and interview Dick Cheney under a fictional guise, while Variety reported some involvement from O.J. Simpson as well. Clearly, Donald Trump is a target as well, but it isn't clear if Cohen was able to get any face-time with the president. Maybe he just connected with the failing university.
One thing that is clear is that both Cohen and Showtime are doing a good job of drumming up interest through this vague guerilla-marketing campaign. Will it be enough to draw eyeballs to the series premiere?
We'll find out when "Who Is America?" premieres this Sunday at 10 p.m. ET on Showtime.