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Sacha Baron Cohen to revive Ali G for stand-up tour – report

The prankster is planning to take to the stage

By Joe Goggins

The character had previously been retired in 2007. (Photo: YouTube)

Sacha Baron Cohen is planning a standup comedy tour that would see him revive Ali G, according to reports.

Per Variety, Baron Cohen will return to a character who has mad only a handful of appearances since Baron Cohen retired him in 2007, including at the 2012 British Comedy Awards, the 2015 Academy Awards and, perhaps most pertinently, during an impromptu appearance at The Comedy Store in Sydney in 2021. The outlet now understands that a full-scale stand-up tour is now in the planning, with this year marking 25 years since he debuted the character, full name Alistair Leslie Graham, on Channel 4’s The 11 O’Clock Show in 1998.

Sources close to Baron Cohen insisted that he is not working on film or television projects currently, in line with the current strike action being taken by the Writers Guild of America and SAG-AFTRA. This would leave the way clear for him to instead work on a stage show, something he hinted at in an interview with GQ in 2021. “I just wanted to get on stage and muck around and see what Ali G would be like with a crowd,” he said of the Comedy Store turn in Sydney, close to where he now resides with his Australian wife, the actress Isla Fisher. “It was really good fun.”

Pressed on whether he would do more of it, he said: “Yes, I think I would. Because the reason I became a comedian was that I loved people laughing at my jokes. To actually hear laughter is a rare thing for me. When I do the movies, I think it is funny, but I have to wait three months to hear an audience laugh.”

Ali G helped Baron Cohen shoot to fame in the late nineties, the character a self-styled gangster from Staines who served as an incisive send-up of faux-street posers. Baron Cohen interviewed unsuspecting public figures in character, including Donald Trump, Kobe Bryant and David and Victoria Beckham. He would employ similar tactics as subsequent characters, including Kazakh journalist Borat and Austrian fashion reporter Bruno. All three characters appeared in their own feature films, with Ali G Indahouse released in 2002. It met with mixed reviews.