Comedy loses in battle against shock in Sacha’s movies

Lisa Kane

“You’ll never get this, you’ll never get this, you’ll never get this,” proclaimed the hysterical Sacha Baron Cohen in his comedy fling “Borat” in 2006.His over the top, flighty antics had audiences giggling so delightfully they may have needed to make a trip to the restroom, but what kind of comedy is “Borat” really? And where does this leave his new movie, “Bruno?”

Comedy, as a genre, has progressed over centuries. It was once a more dry, humorous discourse simply intended to amuse, and has turned into the slapstick stand-up comedy seen in television and movies today.

Sacha Baron Cohen seems to have his own way of going about it though, a version of comedy so crude that the shock factor itself gets a laugh.

Baron Cohen is known for creating characters and pushing them over the top, to the point where he seems to be embarrassing himself simply for a laugh. His character “Ali G” from the “Da Ali G Show” always produced multiple laughs, but his movies are no longer skits, they’re outright mockery.

But is mockery truly comedy? Sure, it’s easy to laugh at another person’s foolishness, but can something so common to the everyday be blown into hilarity?

The shock effect worked for Baron Cohen in the first round of ridicule; the movie “Borat” follows a man from Kazakhstan on a cultural-learning journey through the U.S. in what Cohen classified as a “mockumentary.”

“Borat” raised millions upon millions at the box office, which is more than likely the reason Baron Cohen knew he was onto something with his new genre of comedy.

In 2009, he released his newest mockumentary, in theaters now, “Bruno.”

Just like Borat, Bruno is a character played by Baron Cohen, a gay Austrian fashion guru with a German television show in which he constantly disgraces himself at the mercy of a few muffled giggles.

The plot of the movie revolves around Bruno’s character moving to Los Angeles to reinvent himself with a new show, conspiring just the way Borat did, making a fool of himself as an out-of-place foreigner fumbling with America’s bewildering culture.

Unfortunately for Bruno, America already watched Borat consistently shame himself, so the tale has already been told.

It may make for a few good laughs, but even according to IMDb (Internet Movie Database) Bruno has gone down 51 percent in popularity in the theaters in just the past week.

Baron Cohen may have been aiming for satire, but right now he’s rolling down the boulevard in a comedy-mobile that’s running out of gas midway to the audience.

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These are archived stories from Mesa Legend editions before Fall 2018. See article for corresponding author.

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