Sacha Baron Cohen Flashbacks Day 1: That Time Andy Rooney Angrily Tried to Teach Ali G Grammar
Years since his last projects as characters from his HBO series Da Ali G Show, comedian Sacha Baron Cohen is back with a new show where he once again goes undercover in outlandish personas to interview public figures.
With the series, “Who is America?” premiering this Sunday on Showtime, Mediaite is taking a look back at Cohen’s most memorable encounters as hip hop host Ali G, Kazakhstani reporter Borat Sagdiyev, and Austrian fashion journalist Bruno Gehard.
Sacha Baron Cohen’s beloved Ali G had plenty of interviews go off the rails due to his outlandishly ignorant or offensive questions. Back when he spoke to the Andy Rooney in 2004, however, G hadn’t even gotten to the controversial stuff when the cantankerous 60 Minutes personality was offended by his poor grammar.
“Does you think the media (pronounced meed-juh) has changed since you first got innit?” Ali G asked early in the segment.
“Does you think the media has changed? Do you think the media has changed,” Rooney corrected.
“Whatever,” Ali G said, trying to move the conversation forward. Rooney, however, would not let it go.
“No, it’s English, the English language would say ‘Do you think the media has changed,’ not ‘Does you think the media has changed.'”
After all that, he finally addressed the question, confirming, “Yes, I think the media has changed.”
Predictably for anyone who has seen Da Ali G Show before, Ali G started his next question the same way, and Rooney was quick to correct him. Ali G suggested that’s it’s just a cultural thing.
“I think it’s a English-American thing though, innit?”
Rooney insisted that this was incorrect, and offered proof.
“I have fifty books on the English language, if you’d like to borrow one.”
Eventually, Rooney got fed up and bailed on the interview.
“Is it ’cause I is black?” asked Ali G, who is very much not black but still accused Rooney of “racialism.”
“Racism, not racialism,” Rooney corrected, as he got up to leave.
Classic Ali G. Classic Rooney.
[Image via HBO screengrab]
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