Dec 12 Update: CNN via AP news “Judge to ‘Borat’ frat boys: No suit for you”
Note: 20200826 some broken links in this post had been repaired/updated with Internet Archived versions.
Here is an excerpt from The Independent, [K: emphasis mine]
“But to me it revealed something about that bar in Tuscon. And the question is: did it reveal that they were anti-Semitic? Perhaps. But maybe it just revealed that they were indifferent to anti-Semitism,” he said.
Baron Cohen said the concept of “indifference towards anti-Semitism” had been informed by his study of the Holocaust while at Cambridge University, where he read history. “I remember, when I was in university, and there was this one major historian of the Third Reich, Ian Kershaw. And his quote was, ‘The path to Auschwitz was paved with indifference.’
Baron Cohen, who was born in Hammersmith to an affluent Orthodox Jewish family, is the second of three sons. He went to an independent school in Elstree, and Christ’s College, Cambridge, and worked for the investment bank Goldman Sachs before starting his career in television.
Here is an excerpt from the original Rolling Stone interview of Sacha (in newstand Friday Nov 17) where various news meida (including the Independent article) are quoting from,
“Hi,” he says, in a deep, genteel British accent that I’ve never heard emerge from this mustachioed visage, despite having watched every minute of available footage he has recorded. “I’m Sacha.”
And with this one word — “Sacha” — he informs me that I am being let behind the Kazakh curtain, into the mind of the man behind the buffoon, into the very private world of England’s most popular enigma, Sacha Baron Cohen.
What follows is one of the greatest comedies of the last decade and perhaps even a whole new genre of film. It features just four actual actors (and a male porn star found to portray Borat’s teenage son, Huey Lewis); the rest of the cast consists of real people Borat encounters while traveling across the country in pursuit of Pamela Anderson — each one an unwitting actor propelling forward his Don Quixote-like quest (Anderson was in on the joke).
Today, without the funny mustache, Baron Cohen responds to the statements from the Kazakh government seriously for the first time. […] “The joke is not on Kazakhstan. I think the joke is on people who can believe that the Kazakhstan that I describe can exist — who believe that there’s a country where homosexuals wear blue hats and the women live in cages and they drink fermented horse urine and the age of consent has been raised to nine years old.”
… as he points out that his parents “love” the Jewish humor. And his maternal grandmother, who’s ninety-one and lives in Haifa, Israel, went to a midnight screening, then called her grandson at 4 a.m. to compliment him and dissect the scenes in detail. [K: as a filmmaker, I don’t think Sacha can ask for any more. His ninety-one years old grandma loving his film and dissecting the scenes!]
“I remember, when I was in university I studied history, and there was this one major historian of the Third Reich, Ian Kershaw. And his quote was, ‘The path to Auschwitz was paved with indifference.’ I know it’s not very funny being a comedian talking about the Holocaust, but I think it’s an interesting idea that not everyone in Germany had to be a raving anti-Semite. They just had to be apathetic.”
Baron Cohen doesn’t make this grand statement with confidence. He makes it shyly, as if he’s speaking out of turn. It’s interesting to watch Baron Cohen get bashful, because it is the exact opposite of the characters he portrays. These sincere boors aren’t afraid to bring a bag of their own excrement to the table at an antebellum dinner party or ask David Beckham if he can feed on his wife Victoria “Posh Spice” Beckham’s breasts.
There are two things Baron Cohen doesn’t like talking about: his background and his creative process — how he creates his characters, how he procures interviews with highly inaccessible figures like Newt Gingrich and Donald Trump, and how he gets them to take seriously his preposterous questions. …
Well, Sacha actually explains his process in David Letterman here,
(Warning: You may find this video clip offensive.)
Here is Ali G and Buzz Aldrin (I include this for the fun of it),