Dick Cheney, the former vice president of the United States under President George W. Bush, appears to have been duped into an interview by the comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, who even got Cheney to sign a “waterboard.”
That joke appears to derive from waterboarding claims about torture during the Bush/Cheney administration, and it appears that Cheney will be prominently featured at least in part of Cohen’s new Showtime series, Who is America? The former VP, who is now 77-years-old and largely out of the public eye, even guest stars (likely unwittingly) in a trailer/teaser video released by Showtime in advance of the series, which airs and streams on July 15, 2018.
Cheney is not alone; former Alaska Governor and Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin also says she fell prey to a Cohen scheme.
Here’s what you need to know:
Cheney Says In a Video That He’s Never Been Asked to Sign a Waterboard Before
Showtime called the program “the most dangerous show in the history of television,” and it’s been described as a “satirical half-hour series,” but some critics say it appears to be designed to mock conservatives and Donald Trump supporters. Fox News reported that a source claimed it was “a Hollywood hit job on GOP” complete with a conspiracy-theory-laden fake website and at least one character named Dr. Billy Wayne Ruddick, supposedly played by Cohen.
Sacha Baron Cohen posted a video snippet on Instagram that appears to show an interview with former Vice President Cheney. Fox News reported that Cohen posed as “an Israeli Mossad agent” to masquerade in the interview with Cheney.
“Imagine if Sacha Baron Cohen had been undercover secretly filming a new show for a year,” the video starts. A heavily accented voice asks Cheney, who is sitting in a chair, “Dick Cheney is it possible to sign my waterboard kit?”
“Sure,” Cheney says.
The words “coming soon” appear on the screen, and then Cheney says, “That’s a first. That’s the first time I’ve ever signed a waterboard.”
The former vice president also appears in the trailer or first “teaser” as Showtime called it:
Other indications point to politicians from both parties falling prey to Cohen’s skits, including Bernie Sanders and Howard Dean as well as Roy Moore and Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Palin Claims Cohen Posed as a Disabled Veteran to Trick Her
Sacha Baron Cohen is a comedian best known for his appearances as “Borat” and on “Da Ali G Show.” The show’s website contains a promo that features Cheney saying, “I hope you’ll tune in next week for an interview with me.” According to Variety, the show has seven episodes. It was written and directed by Sacha Baron Cohen and was kept a mystery until days before the launch.
The tease for the show says, “Who Is America? You know Ali G, Bruno, and Borat, but this summer Sacha Baron Cohen returns in a new series as you’ve never, ever seen him before. Who Is America? Series premiere Sunday, July 15 at 10pm ET/PT.” The premise of the show has been kept a mystery but what’s leaked out so far indicates it may be similar to past Cohen skits in which he tricked prominent people into sitting for interviews. It appears to have a political/American government focus and features Cohen in character/disguise.
Sarah Palin, the former Alaska governor and Republican vice presidential candidate turned political commentator, says she was duped into giving an “interview” to a man she now believes was the comedian Sacha Baron Cohen disguised as a disabled veteran in a wheelchair.
In a lengthy Facebook post on July 10, 2018, Palin appeared to be irate, writing that the ruse was “truly sick.”
“The challenge is to Cohen, CBS and Showtime: donate all proceeds to a charitable group that actually respects and supports American Vets. Mock politicians and innocent public personalities all you want, if that lets you sleep at night, but HOW DARE YOU mock those who have fought and served our country,” she wrote.
Daily Mail says the Palin situation happened in November 2017 and she was with Piper, her teenage daughter.
Cohen Shared a Video Mocking Donald Trump & Trump University on Social Media
According to CBS News, “The first episode of ‘Who is America?’ will air on Showtime at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Sunday, July 15, and debut on streaming, online and on demand Sunday at midnight. Subsequent episodes will air on Sundays at 10 p.m. ET/PT.”
Reports Indie Wire: “‘Who Is America?’ premieres on streaming, online and On Demand this Sunday, July 15 at midnight ET (9 p.m. PT July 14), and will premiere on air that same night at 10 p.m. ET.”
Cohen also posted a video on social media that satirizes President Donald Trump and Trump University, but it’s not clear how any of that figures into Cohen’s new show. In that post, Trump trash talks Cohen in a video. “This third-rate character named Sacha Baron Cohen, I only wish he that would’ve been punched in the face so many times right now, he’d be in a hospital,” Trump said in part.
“A message from your President @realDonaldTrump on Independence Day,” Cohen tweeted with the video. According to CBS, the video of Trump trashing Cohen dates to 2012 and related to Cohen dumping an urn of supposed ashes on Ryan Seacrest at the Oscars.
“Sacha graduates soon,” the Trump video concludes, before flashing the logo for Trump University.
Sacha Cohen Baron has interviewed Trump before:
Whether he managed to interview Trump again for the new show is yet to be seen.