For almost a week now, Showtime has been running online promos, teasing the July 15 premiere of “perhaps the most dangerous show in the history of television” with a lead character that is “shameless”, “unhinged” and “cold-blooded.”
They were followed yesterday by a cryptic video tweet by Cohen that “He’s back as you’ve never seen him before.” There was no date listed about his project but the Borat and Ali G star said it was coming “soon.”
Reps for Showtime would not comment on the Sacha Baron Cohen series and whether it is the mystery show the network had been promoting.
There are clues to what the series would be about in Baron Cohen’s video, titled “a message from your President Donald Trump on Independence Day,” that included a clip of Trump dissing the comedian, saying he should “go to school” to “learn about being funny.” That is likely a reaction from a pre-POTUS Trump to his long-standing beef with Baron Cohen who interviewed the then-real estate mogul/reality star years ago for Da Ali G Show, trying to get him to invest in “an ice cream glove.” Trump later said he saw through the “scam” and “immediately walked out” of the interview, while Baron Cohen told James Corden on The Late Late Show in 2016 that Trump was there “for about seven minutes” which was a relatively long time for interview subjects on the mock series.
According to Variety, which first reported about the Sacha Baron Cohen Showtime series, it is said to be in the vein of the interview-based Da Ali G Show, which put the sock comedian on the map. It aired on Channel 4 in the U.K. before being picked up by HBO in the U.S. The irreverent comedy show introduced several characters that were spun off into their own movies, Ali G, Borat and Brüno.
It is part of the Baron Cohen’s MO to film his docu series/movies secretly in order to have the surprise element that is key to their success.
It is unclear whether the new show would have a deeper Trump connection — for instance a character played by Baron Cohen attending Trump University — but the Baron Cohen video ends with the tagline “Sacha graduates. Soon,” followed by the Trump University logo.
Such a connection would make for a Trump-themed block on Showtime. The network has Our Cartoon President returning on July 15 at 10 PM. Showtime had kept a hole on the schedule at 10 PM, likely for its secret show.
In TV, Baron Cohen also is set to star as legendary secret agent Eli Cohen in the Netflix limited series Spy.
Here is the Baron Cohen promo, followed by the two Showtime ones: