Sacha Baron Cohen Finally Said What Went Down During Sarah Palin’s Interview

"Even though I sat with her I think for about two and a half hours, there was no comedy gold."

by River Donaghey
Dec 20 2018, 6:16pm

Palin image via Kris Connor/Getty. Cohen photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty.

Sarah Palin will forever be tied to Sacha Baron Cohen's Showtime series, Who Is America?, but she never even made an appearance. Before the show was even announced, Palin came forward with a story about Cohen allegedly duping her into an interview by posing as a disabled war vet. Her misguided attempt to get out in front of the story backfired spectacularly. She wound up giving Who Is America? a huge amount of free publicity, got dunked on by Showtime, and did it all for nothing—her segment never even made it on the air.

In a new interview with Deadline about the show's Golden Globes nomination, Cohen finally spoke out about the infamous Palin clip—and why it wound up on the cutting room floor.

"The upsetting answer is, I don’t think you missed much," Cohen said about the missing segment. "There was a lot of pressure on me from the channel to put out Palin. And obviously, she did the only publicity for the show because I did zero interviews. There was no other publicity at all for the show. Thanks to her, people knew that the show was coming. But ultimately, I looked at the footage and it just wasn’t funny enough."

According to Cohen, the interview that Palin called "evil" and "sick" in a Facebook screed was actually, well, kind of boring. "For the pieces to be good, there has to be a good comic dynamic," Cohen said. "She was just delivering these kind of rote answers, as if she was doing a campaign speech. And even though I sat with her I think for about two and a half hours, there was no comedy gold."

Of course, Cohen had no shortage of hilarious, embarrassing, and fully batshit interviews with other politicians to fill out Who Is America?, so he didn't need the lukewarm Palin clip anyway. Unfortunately, though, it sounds like Cohen wasn't joking when he said that the show won't be coming back again.

"[Another season] would be impossible," he said. "We relied on the fact that no one was expecting me. I hadn’t done anything undercover for over a decade and so nobody thought, 'Oh wait a minute, is this a Sacha Baron Cohen character?' That’s the problem. You’d have to wait another ten years to get away with it again, otherwise you’d have some very slim pickings. And no publicist worth his or her weight would allow an interview with anyone suspicious now."

We may not get to see Erran Morrad or Billy Wayne Ruddick again any time soon, but maybe we'll finally get a chance to see Cohen and Palin together—if she accepts his invitation to be his date for the Golden Globes.

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