Every Time Sacha Baron Cohen Says ‘My Wife’ in His New Show A Who Is America? investigation.

Vulture | 7/15/2018 | Jesse David Fox
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At his core, Sacha Baron Cohen is a French clowning and Peter Sellers devotee, who prides himself in his ability to create characters that are both deeply absurd yet still believable in the real world. His three characters from The Ali G Show — Ali G, Borat, and Brüno — were so fleshed out, they each were able to make the jump to their own movie. (Only one of those movies was good, but it’s still a testament to his devotion to them.) After one episode, Showtime’s Who Is America? invites four more characters to enter the Baron Cohen canon. But are any of them any good? Do any of them match his best? Here is a ranking of where the Who Is America? characters stack up thus far.

At its best, Who Is America? is laser-focused, escalating the comedy of a piece with both a clear point and clear comedic perspective. At its worst, it feels arbitrary, if not cruel. Ricky Sherman is the show at its worst.

Character - Level - Ricky - Sherman - Funny

Before we talk about how he’s wielded, let’s focus on the character itself. On a basic level, Ricky Sherman doesn’t look or sound that funny. His clothing, hair, and makeup choices are neither grounded nor absurd. The British accent isn’t exciting and doesn’t totally make sense in this context. The idea of an ex-con with a heart of gold trying to go straight isn’t especially novel, either — same goes for the idea of a violent guy who is secretly an artist — though so far, the entire show has a character originality problem. Worse yet, Baron Cohen uses him to make the world’s 10 millionth prison rape joke. The fact that he uses bodily fluids to make his art is a funny-ish idea, but not a particularly interesting one.

The bigger issue is...
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