Current US culture is a parody in itself. That seems to be the takeaway from Sacha Baron Cohen’s Who Is America? The British comedian’s latest sketch show attempts to, in its own words, explore “the diverse individuals, from the infamous to the unknown across the political and cultural spectrum, who populate our unique nation.” In less than a month, Baron Cohen’s alter egos have already duped former Vice-President Dick Cheney into signing a waterboarding kit, convinced disgraced Republican U.S. senate candidate Roy Moore to take a pedophile-detecting test, and gotten a Georgia state lawmaker to resign after getting him to yell racial slurs on camera. Which is to say: if you want to see Baron Cohen in various disguises embarrassing people all around the U.S., Who is America? is right up your alley.
Baron Cohen’s cringe-worthy comedy reached new absurdist heights when, in its third episode, he threw a Quinceañera. His goal? To lure undocumented immigrants there with the help of three Trump supporters. Dressed as Erran Morad, an Israeli anti-terrorism expert whose thick accent comes through when he bemoans what the “Main Street media” isn’t telling us, Baron Cohen merely egged on his guests to spout as many ignorant comments as they could in as little time. Watching the segment is like playing Fox News bingo. While at a boxing gym where they’re training for their mission to capture bad hombres, we get to hear everything from “America’s biggest problem, or their threat, is the Islamic terrorism and the illegals coming into this country” to “They’re gonna rape them!” Oh, that last one is in response to what they think Mexicans do to girls at their Quinceañera parties. Yes, it’s as depressingly “funny” as it sounds. And yet another example of how race-bating hate-speech soundbites truly blind people to thinking critically about the people around them.
Part of Morad’s training ahead of his quinces sting operation involves wearing pussy panties (modeled on Gal Gadot, of course), and teaching the guys how to wrap condoms around their fists (and smear KY jelly on their face, for self-defense purposes). Neither activity which the recruited guys find at all that suspicious. That’s how committed they are to catching them “illegals.” By the time the police show up at their fake Quinceañera celebration — where they find Rohypnol by the guacamole, a guy filming stuff inside a piñata, another dressed as the ugliest 15-year-old girl you can imagine, and plenty of condoms and lube around — it’s clear that the joke is on them. Hard to try and convince cops that what you were doing was designed to lure Mexican rapists and not underage girls you hoped would have sex with you. But then again, the sheer idiocy on display is staggering and you have to wonder whether you should be laughing or shaking your head. Thankfully, you can do both at the same time.
Who is America? airs Sundays at 10 p.m. on Showtime.