Who Is America? Sacha Baron Cohen’s New Series on Showtime

The first episode of Sacha Baron Cohen’s new series, Who Is America? included some of the biggest names in politics — on the left (Bernie Sanders) and the right (Trent Lott and more).

There were also segments about non-celebs (a Trump delegate from South Carolina and an art gallery consultant from California) and a PSA with real-life Republican members of Congress encouraging Americans to support a program, “Kinderguardians,” which would teach young children how to shoot guns.

Subject: Bernie Sanders

Pretending to be a character who runs an Infowars-esque website called Truthbrary.org, Baron Cohen spoke with Bernie Sanders about redistributing the wealth of the 1 percent to the 99 percent, but wouldn’t acknowledge basic math. After some circular logic and flow charts, Sanders ended the interview, saying, “Billy, I don’t know what you’re talking about.”


Philip Van Cleve, gun rights advocate; Larry Pratt, Gun Owners of America founder; Trent Lott, former Senate Majority Leader; Dana Rohrabacher, Republican congressman from California; Joe Wilson, Republican congressman from South Carolina; Joe Walsh, talk show host and former Republican congressman from Illinois; and Matt Gaetz, Republican congressman from Florida

Purporting to be an Israeli anti-terrorism advocate named Erran Morad, Baron Cohen convinced gun pundit Van Cleve to film a children’s show about arming toddlers, teaching them how to load toddler-friendly guns.

He then interviews Pratt about the same thing (where Pratt jokes along when the Morad character says “it’s not rape if it’s your wife”), and convinces Lott, Rohrabacher, Wilson and Walsh to film a PSA encouraging people to support a toddler-arming program called “Kinderguardians.” The only person refusing to participate was Gaetz.

After Sarah Palin was the first politician to publicly admit she’d been duped by the comedian, talk show host Joe Walsh came forward with his story on Twitter.  Republican congressman Gaetz later confirmed that he was approached by the same person Walsh was, but that he wouldn’t endorse anything when he was asked.

Subjects: June Page Thompson, South Carolina Trump delegate, and her husband Mark Thompson, a Trump voter

Purporting to be a liberal man riding his bike across the country and talking to Trump voters to bridge a cultural divide, the character went to the Thompsons’ home for dinner and told more and more outrageous stories about his life — that he forces his daughter to pee standing up, that he free bleeds on American flags instead of using sanitary products, that his wife had an affair with a dolphin; the couple politely nodded and played along.

They were polite, and never once called him out on the ridiculous stories. But once he was gone, they said that his values were “fucked up.”

Subject: Christy Cones, fine art consultant, Coast Gallery, Laguna Beach

Posing as an ex-con who paints on cardboard, Baron Cohen fed a Laguna Beach gallery consultant an outlandish story about his art.  At one point he went to the bathroom and “drew” a picture of her–with his own feces–that ended with her pulling up her skirt to donate a pubic hair to his special paintbrush, which he said was made with pubes from famous artists.

In The Washington Post’s website, Cones was shocked to learn the truth of what happened. “Oh my God, it was all an act? He faked his tears? I don’t care. Am I supposed to say I’m embarrassed? All conversations about art are important.”

The series writing staff includes creator Sacha Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines, Dan Swimer, Dan Mazer, Lee Kern, Adam Lowitt, Brian Reich, Kurt Metzger, Eric Notarnicola, Aaron Kern.

Hines, Todd Schulman, Andrew Newman, Dan Mazer and Lowitt are exec-producing.