By this point, much ink and many pixels have been devoted to highlighting the “Jewishness” of Sacha Baron Cohen’s humor. And, to a certain extent, the point is incontestable. In what amounted to a movie-length wink, the “Kazakh” spoken by his Borat was actually a well-polished Hebrew. And his interest in Hasidic garb predates Brüno by at least a decade. That said, it bears remembering that Baron Cohen is also a Brit, and that he is every bit as much an exponent of British comic traditions as he is Jewish ones. Take, for instance, the scene in his new movie (glimpsed already in the film’s red band trailer) where he shows up for a self-defense class armed first with one and then with two dildos. The scene reminded us, and was, no doubt, inspired, at least in part, not by the time he spent in the Labor Zionist youth group Habonim Dror, his undergraduate thesis on Jews in the American civil rights movement, or his nonagenarian Israeli grandmother, but by a classic Monty Python sketch. Anyway, happy Brüno -release day.
Monthy Python: Self Defence [YouTube]