Not since Steve Martin and Dan Aykroyd portrayed the "wild and crazy" Czechoslovakian Festrunk brothers has an East Bloc country been so cheerfully maligned by a Western comic as Sacha "Ali G" Cohen has done with his character Borat Sagdiyev, the "second-string Kazakh journalist and sixth-most-famous man in Kazakhstan," he of the famous song, "Throw the Jew down the well so my country can be free!"
[A] document obtained by the International Herald Tribune indicated that the [Association of IT Companies of Kazakhstan] received two complaints in December from the government and the security service for Kazakhstan's president, which accused the borat.kz Web site of besmirching the "international image of Kazakhstan." They also asserted that the Web page had been registered by a nonresident of the country with the aims of "unconscientious usage." […]
Cohen riled Kazakh government officials last month when he was host of the MTV Europe awards in Lisbon. He was accompanied by a rumpled group of low-kicking performers, who milled below a giant sign: "Official Kazakhstan Government Dancers." By the time the show ended, he had introduced a one-eyed, drunken Kazakh pilot, insulted Uzbekistan and showered Madonna with effusive praise: "That singer before me. Who was it? It was very courageous of MTV to start the show with a genuine transvestite. He was very convincing."
Foreign Minisry Spokesman Yerzhan Ashikbayev told the IHT that "Cohen comes up with these ridiculous jokes that some people may take for truth." Borat's rebuttal?
In response to Mr. Ashikbayev's comments, I like to state I have no connection with Mr. Cohen. I support my government's decision to sue this Jew.
Whole funny story here. Borat's website viewable here. Website of the proud nation of Molvania here. IHT editorial on how the recent Kazakh elections were "a sad commentary on the plight of democracy in Central Asia" here.
And for you Czechoslovak trivia buffs out there: Aykroyd and Martin actually spoke real Slovak in some of those skits; "Borat" was the mid-1990s name of a popular rock club in Prague, and the character's greeting of "Jagshemash!", as proud Czech friends reminded me this week, is a near-phonetic rendering of the Czech way of saying how are you?