, a resident of İzmir
born in 1962, became an Internet celebrity
in 1999. His picture-laden personal homepage, which exclaimed in broken English
his love of the accordion
, travel, and women was visited by millions and spawned numerous fansites and parodies, one featured on Fox's MadTV
(season 4, episode 20). He was also repeatedly parodied in 1999 episodes of the Late Show with David Letterman
wearing red Speedos
and playing Ping Pong
. Mahir was ranked #2 in CNET
's Top 10 Web fads
(July 15 2005
The site was also included in PC Magazine
's "The 25 Worst Web Sites" list (September 15 2006
Mahir claimed in various interviews that his personal webpage was hacked, with additions such as "I like sex" embedded into his webpage. The site was originally hosted on the now defunct XOOM web hosting service
which advertised Mahir on their front page during the mania.
Mahir Çağrı's website was quickly spread through word of mouth on the internet. The website came at a time when "Internet phenomenon" was a new concept for Internet users, media, and the curious public. Novelty pages such as Dancing baby and The Hamster Dance created a precedent of mass viewing for Mahir's page.
Links with Borat
Similarities with the UK television character Kristo (who evolved into Borat
) were noted as soon as Çağrı's website became famous in 1999, particularly his facial hair, formal wear and his use of the catchphrase "I like sex", which featured in Sacha Baron Cohen
's TV shows in 1997
Çağrı has asserted that he was the main inspiration for British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen
, when Cohen created his foreign-reporter character for Channel 4
television (called variously, Kristo, Borat Karabzhanov, Borat Dutbayev and Borat Sagdiyev), despite the earliest appearances of these characters predating Çağrı's website by several years.
In the feature film of the same name, Borat not only uses Çağrı's "You can stay my home" catchphrase in the introductory scenes, but also poses during a game of ping-pong in revealing red shorts, referencing two of Çağrı's famous shots. However, Borat had regularly invited viewers to stay with him in broken English before Mahir's website became famous.
Çağrı has announced that he is travelling to London to receive an apology from Baron Cohen, and to receive money for the use of his likeness in the film. He said, "the world knows he is copying Mahir. I am not saying this — the world is. I have received so many e-mails from people in the United States who tell me he is imitating me." He added, "the bombshell is going to fall. (Cohen) is making money by using me."
Despite Çağrı's accusations, in Borat's 1997 "Guide to Britain" (Two years before Mahir's website existed), the Kazakh reporter speaks with broken English, wears his famous grey suit, has his trademark mustache, invites his audience to stay with him in Kazakhstan and proudly announces his catchphrase, "I like sex."
- "I KISS YOU!!!!!!!"
- "Who is want to come TURKEY I can invitate ..... She can stay my home ........"
- "I like music , I have many many music enstrumans my home I can play"
- "I like to be friendship from different country"