Ali G

Last night, I caught Da Ali G. Show on HBO. Brilliant and funny. Ali G. is the alter ego of British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen; he’s the quintessential white suburban gangsta/hiphop wannabe, and he conducts talk-show interviews and performs various stunts. Mostly he does the talk-show thing, asking his guests the most inane, stupid, and off-the-wall irrelevant questions, This is comedy as real-time performance art, in the manner of Andy Kaufman; the guests are “real” people, i.e. celebrities or authorites, and their encounters with Ali G. are unscripted. I was pretty much hysterical with laughter when Ali G. interviewed C. Everett Koop, asking him importunate questions about various body parts–questions about whether the heart could be reprogrammed to have a drum ‘n’ bass beat instead of its usual one-two; or about the growth of the bones and skeletal system, which turned out to be really about having a “boner”; and as a followup to that, Ali asked Koop (doubtless thinking of lots of chintzy horror films): “I know this is something of a generalization, but why are skeletons evil?” Koop struggled throughout to maintain his dignity, though his puzzlement was obvious, as well as his increasing conviction that Ali G. was an idiot. All in all, pop culture post-ironic performance at its finest.

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