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When Howard Met Sacha

by Rob Eshman

July 14, 2009 | 8:31 pm

Bruno and Baby

Sacha Baron Cohen was on the show yesterday. It was theatre.  Cohen as Bruno, Stern and Robin as his straight man and woman.  If you didn’t hear it, imagine a Sid Caesar sketch from “Your Show of Shows”—funny accents, stream of consciousness humor, one-liners—but imagine Caesar dressed as a flaming queen, reveling in incest and body functions. 

Oh to have a Time Travel machine and have Howard and Bruno on stage in front of Caesar’s audience.  At first they’d laugh hysterically—it’s the same beats, the same funny accents—then slowly it would dawn on them what’s being said, and their faces would fall, dead silence, then homicidal rage….

Cohen/Bruno gets the credit for provoking those responses, but Stern paved the way.  As I blogged earlier, Cohen is the heir to a brand of humor that Stern (and before him Caesar and the Marx Brothers) pioneered.  Consider this:

THINGS BRUNO DOES THAT HOWARD DID YEARS AGO

Ambush unsuspecting celebrities in fake interviews

Display his butt for comic effect

Talk openly and matter-of-factly about gay sex, anal bleaching, every possible bodily function

Spoof celebrities who adopt African babies

Create skits about off the wall gay characters

This isn’t meant to detract from Cohen.  His talent is for acting, for taking concepts and ideas Howard used and literally taking them to the street, fully developing them as movie concepts.

Clearly, Stern appreciates that—he said he loved the movie, and he seemed genuinely enthralled by Cohen’s in-studio performance.  Sure: he’s a proud dad.

Click here for Bruno’s 5 Top Jewish Moments.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Rob Eshman created the blog Serious Stern on June 17, 2009.  Serious Stern is devoted to a serious (hence the name) exploration of the cultural impact of Howard Stern.

Rob is...

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