Sacha Baron Cohen

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Sacha Baron Cohen shot to fame when his character Ali G started appearing on The Eleven O'Clock Show on Channel 4.

Sacha Baron Cohen (born 13 October, 1971) is a British comedian, notable for his highly successful comedy character Ali G.

He was born into a middle-class Jewish family, the second of three sons of Gerald Baron Cohen and his wife Daniella. His father, who owns a menswear shop in Piccadilly, is originally from Wales, while his mother is from Israel. Much of his youth was spent volunteering for Habonim Dror, a Jewish youth movement.

Cohen attended Haberdashers' Aske's School, a public school in Elstree, and went on to study history at Christ's College, Cambridge.

In 1994 Channel 4 was planning a replacement for its series The Word and put out an open call for new presenters. Cohen sent in a tape of him in character as Borat, a fictional television reporter from Kazakhstan, that caught the attention of one producer who kept him in mind. Cohen marked time by working for a Swindon based television company.

Cohen shot to fame when his character Ali G started appearing on The Eleven O'Clock Show on Channel 4. Da Ali G Show began in 2000 and won the BAFTA for best comedy series the next year. The show was taken to the United States in 2003, where it airs on HBO. He has had some troubles because of the racist or prejudiced comments his characters make (see Da Ali G Show), but Sacha's ultimate goal is to use the prejudices and racism of people to elicit funny reactions. HBO spokesman Quentin Schaffer has replied to the criticisms with, "Through his alter-egos, he delivers an obvious satire that exposes people's ignorance and prejudice in much the same way All in the Family did years ago." [1] (http://www.thejewishweek.com/news/newscontent.php3?artid=9732)

Other characters created by Cohen include Borat, a television reporter from Kazakhstan with a fervent hatred of Jews and a misogynist attitude, and Bruno, a gay Austrian fashion show presenter, who often lures his subjects into unwittingly making provocative statements and engaging in embarrassing behaviors.

Cohen played the voice of King Julien the lemur in the 2005 animated movie, Madagascar, a performance strongly reminiscent of Robin Williams.

Sacha Baron-Cohen is also reported to be a cousin of University of Cambridge Professor of Developmental Psychopathology Simon Baron-Cohen. [2] (http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/001311.html)

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