Da Ali G Show

Da Ali G Show

Da Ali G Show is the name of two related satirical TV series starring British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen and featuring the character Ali G.

The first (2000) series originally aired on Channel 4 in the UK, and the second (2003-2004) series on HBO in the US. The second series was known as Ali G in da USAiii in the UK. Baron Cohen played three journalists — Ali G, Borat Sagdiyev, and Brüno — who interviewed unsuspecting people (sometimes very high-ranking officials) and made them look foolish. His exposure of this foolishness using these ignorant characters made the show an excellent example of the Socratic method.

On 23 July 2005 HBO announced they have no plans to make an additional season of the show

The three characters from the show have each gone on to have movies released [or planned for release]: Ali G in Ali G Indahouse, Borat in Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan and Brüno in an upcoming film.


Ali G

Ali G (Alistair Leslie Graham) is the main character of the comical Da Ali G Show. He is the self-proclaimed "voice of da yoof" and the leader of the West Staines Massiv. His speech and mannerisms are a mix of stereotypical and often exaggerated British African-Caribbean and hip hop cultures, with some American urban influences thrown in. He interviews unsuspecting guests; in the American version of the show, he tells them he is a British talk show host and wants to discuss the media and politics. He often asks a question, and upon receiving an answer, instantly creates a story of an event relevant to the topic, employing his neighbours and fellow "gangsters" Ricky C and (Dangerous) Dave. The character was later the basis of the film Ali G Indahouse.

Borat Sagdiyev

Borat Sagdiyev is another character featured frequently on the show. He comes from Kazakhstan, and travels around the United Kingdom and United States interviewing people and engaging in their activities. Borat often makes his guests feel uncomfortable by introducing them to "Kazakh" customs, or by making misogynistic, anti-Semitic, or other comments based on his unfamiliar culture. Borat makes references to his favourite sport called "shurik", a "Kazakh" custom where dogs are shot and killed in a field. He also makes references to his dead wife and his desire to have "sexy time" with many of his interviewees. A highly successful film based on the Borat character, titled Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, was released by 20th Century Fox on 3 November 2006. In the film, Borat travels from Kazakhstan to learn more about American culture for his country.


Bruno is a gay Austrian and is the third character of Da Ali G Show. He claims to be the voice of Austrian youth television, and makes others uncomfortable by flaunting his apparent homosexuality. In one episode, Bruno performs cheers with exaggerated, limp-wristed, stereotypically gay mannerisms, along with University of Alabama cheerleaders, provoking the ire of some Crimson Tide fans during the 2002 Alabama-Mississippi State American football game, and convincing the students to say that they are gay in Polish.

Bruno also interviews fashion aficionados and 'party people' and exposes their extreme views of how unfashionable people should be treated and aims to show the superficiality, hypocrisy and inconsistency of the fashion world. For example, he gets them to say that they think fashion has saved more lives than doctors, that people who have bad fashion should be sent to concentration camps, that Osama Bin Laden is cool and that if house music were around in the 1930s, it would have prevented World War II. As with Baron Cohen's other two main characters, Bruno will have a film based around his character, to be produced by Universal Pictures.


Channel 4

Episode # Original Air Date Title
101 30 March 2000 Neil Hamilton
102 7 April 2000 John Humphrys
103 14 April 2000 Roy Hattersley
104 21 April 2000 Mohammed Al Fayed
105 28 April 2000 Gail Porter
106 5 May 2000 Anita Roddick


Episode # Original Air Date Title
101 21 February 2003 Law
102 28 February 2003 War
103 7 March 2003 Politics
104 14 March 2003 Art
105 21 March 2003 Science
106 28 March 2003 Belief
201 18 July 2004 Respek
202 25 July 2004 Rekognize
203 1 August 2004 Peace
204 8 August 2004 Realize
205 15 August 2004 Jah
206 22 August 2004 Realness


The methods used by Baron Cohen often cause considerable controversy. Some guests become upset upon learning they have been tricked and various comments made on the show have caused outrage with viewers. In one episode, Borat went to a bar in Tucson, Arizona and sang a song about Jews, in which he said, "Throw the Jew down the well/so my country can be free/you must grab him by his horns/then we have a big party." Many patrons of the bar were shown responding gleefully and singing along (though an investigation by the Jewish Daily Forward found that many or all of the audience were aware that the song was meant to be funny, and that one of them was Jewish herself). A prominent Jewish anti-racism group, the Anti-Defamation League, complained about this segment. HBO spokesman Quentin Schaffer replied, "Through his alter-egos, he delivers an obvious satire that exposes people's ignorance and prejudice in much the way All in the Family did years ago. In real life, Sacha Baron Cohen is himself an "observant Jew. Baron Cohen, in an interview, has explained his character's racist nature by stating that the show's 'Borat' segments are a "dramatic demonstration of how racism feeds on dumb conformity, as much as rabid bigotry," rather than a display of racism by Baron Cohen himself.

One upset interviewee was James Broadwater, a Republican candidate for U.S. Congress. He was interviewed by Borat, who told him that the interview would be played in Kazakhstan and other foreign countries to teach others about the American political system. Borat's questioning led Broadwater to state that Jews would go to Hell if they did not follow the Christian religion. This comment upset some Jewish communities and prompted Broadwater to post a letter on his website denouncing Da Ali G Show demanding the FCC exert greater control over the "liberal, anti-God media" and stating "I have had a logo on my website which says, 'I am a proud friend of Israel.'".

Borat's character also refers to Black people as "Men with chocolate face" and White people as "Vanilla face" (See film: Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan).


There are some differences between the original series of Da Ali G Show shown on Channel 4 and the later two seasons shown on Channel 4 and HBO.

Channel 4:

  • Location interviews take place in Europe and some parts of the USA
  • Contains scripted segments
  • Contains monologues
  • Contains skits
  • Contains guest music performances (which Ali G would deliberately ruin).
  • Has a laugh track


  • Takes place in USA
  • Wholly-unscripted performance
  • Has limited and brief studio monologues, but no skits or music performances.
  • Has no laugh track

DVD Releases


External links

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