Friday, July 3, 2009

Separated at birth: Sacha Baron Cohen, Mike Myers, and Andy Kaufman

Part One: Brüno VS. Dieter

Left to right, Dieter &

Brüno (Sacha Baron Cohen, "Brüno", 2009)

Brüno is a fictional gay Austrian fashion reporter, who first appeared during short sketches on The Paramount Comedy Channel in 1998, before reappearing on Da Ali G Show. Following the success of Ali G Indahouse and Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, Universal Studios acquired the rights to make a Brüno film.

Brüno, who has no known surname, is a homosexual character claiming to be a reporter from an Austrian television station and interviews unsuspecting guests about topics such as fashion, entertainment, celebrities and homosexuality, with an emphasis on the last subject as each interview progresses. The Austrian TV station's logo features the letters ÖJRF (revealed once as Österreichischer Jungen-Rundfunk, or in English, Austrian Boys' Broadcasting) inside a baby blue square, with a smaller purple square in the upper left quadrant. The name is similar to that of Austrian national broadcaster ORF (Österreichischer Rundfunk). The logo often appears on Brüno's show in the upper right corner of the screen. Brüno's segment on Da Ali G Show is called Funkyzeit mit Brüno (Funkytime with Brüno). The show's theme song is "Crank It Up", by Scooter, from the album Our Happy Hardcore.

Dieter (Mike Myers, Saturday Night Live, 1989-1997)

Sprockets was a recurring fictional West German television talk show sketch created by actor, writer and comedian Mike Myers with Canadian actor Dana Anderson for Second City Theatre. He later ported the character to television for the American sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live. Myers played Dieter (based on a waiter Myers encountered in Toronto), a bored, disaffected West German expressionist and minimalist who would interview celebrities in whom he was barely interested and always bring the discussion around to his "limited" monkey Klaus. The sketch made fun of German art culture in the 1980s. Appearing asexual or effeminate, Myers' costume consisted of tight black leotards; round, wire-rimmed glasses, and slicked-back hair. The show itself featured, most notably, a section entitled "Germany's Most Disturbing Home Videos," which showcased scenes of old men's heads spinning around, dying cats, ants, and other disturbing sights.

The theme song for the sketch is Kraftwerk's 1986 song "Electric Café", sped up by playing the 33⅓ rpm album at 45 rpm, then remixed.

Three memorable phrases from the sketch that are well known by fans were "Touch my monkey", a recurring reference to his pet monkey, Klaus (to touch him was a privilege); "Your narrative has become tiresome" whenever Dieter became bored with a guest; and "Now is the time on Sprockets vhen ve dance!", which was always uttered frantically at the end of the show and followed by some robotic techno-dancing on the set.

Some later sketches featured Dieter outside of his talk show environment starring in parodies of game shows, TV dance parties, and art films.

Part Two: Borat VS. Latka

Left to right, Latka & Borat

Borat Sagdiyev (Sacha Baron Cohen, "Borat", 2006)

Borat claims to have been born on February 17, 1972 in the fictional village of Kuzcek, Kazakhstan to Asimbala Sagdiyev and Boltok the Rapist, the town rapist (who is also stated to be his maternal grandfather as well as his brother and uncle). He says his mother gave birth to him when she was nine years old. He has a thirteen-year-old son named Huey Lewis, twelve-year-old twin boys named Biram and Bilak, and seventeen grandchildren. He has an older sister, Natalya (who he has claimed at different times to be "the number four best prostitute in Kazakhstan") and a younger brother, Bilo, he describes as being mentally retarded and has a very small head but strong arms.

Borat has been married approximately 138 times[citation needed], after first having been betrothed to his half-sister's plough while in his teens. His first wife, Oksana, is reported in the Borat film to have been "broken" by a bear while taking his brother Bilo for a walk in the forest. Borat is not saddened by the tragedy; he thanks the man who brings him this "good news" by giving him a high five and celebrates his newfound freedom by pursuing Pamela Anderson and eventually reunites with and marries Luenell, an American prostitute he met while filming his documentary.

According to various in-character interviews with Sacha Baron Cohen, Borat attended Astana University, where he studied English, journalism, and plague research. He claims to have created five new plagues which supposedly "killed over 5 million goats and whores in Uzbekistan." Prior to his plague research, Borat worked as an ice maker, animal sperm retriever, gypsy catcher, and someone who removes dead birds from a computer. He now works as a professional journalist and announcer on Kazakh television. This job "helps Borat and other Kazakhs express themselves in ways they otherwise would not have been able to do."

Although nominally pagan for most of his life, sometimes remarking that his people "follow the hawk", in the film he attends a Pentecostal church service and later converts his village neighbours to Christianity. Borat greatly admires the political views of Joseph Stalin, and claims that both he and Stalin are strong men with powerful "khram" (genitals). He is strongly against women's rights and was quite aghast upon learning of women's suffrage. He frequently comments that it is like "a monkey driving a car" or "a monkey with a gun". In his spare time, he enjoys playing ping pong, sunbathing while clad in a lime green "mankini", disco dancing, spitting, sitting on comfortable chairs, and taking pictures of women while they "make toilet". He also enjoys hunting Jews in his homeland. He is particularly fond of "mouth-party" and "hand-party", and is inconsolably angry after a group of travelling American fratboys show him the sex tape of Pamela Anderson, having wished to "un-cork her" for himself.

Latka Gravas (Andy Kaufman, "Taxi", 1978-1983)

Latka Gravas is an immigrant from an island in the Caspian Sea. ( sank) He often speaks in his native language which consists of phrases such as "Yaktahbay" (Behind/Butt) and "nik nik" (sex). (Kaufman invented his own nonsensical language for Latka.) He works as a mechanic for the Sunshine Cab Company. He is very friendly and has a shy, child-like demeanor. He often says "Tenk you veddy much". His sweet personality makes him a favorite target of his loud, abrasive boss, Louie De Palma (Danny DeVito). The cabdrivers like Latka but are confused by his customs.

Latka also has multiple personality disorder. Being very love-shy, Latka wanted to fulfill his fantasy of being “an American fun guy taking each day in high gear". He studied Playboy and the voices of FM DJs. Latka developed an alter ego named "Vic Ferrari", a smooth-talking womanizer.

In one episode, he develops numerous personalities in addition to Vic including a cowboy named Arlo and an Englishman named Jeffrey. He ends up taking on his co-worker Alex Reiger's (Judd Hirsch) personality, with profound insights into "his" life. Just when he is about to reveal to the real Alex the perfect solution for all his problems, he reverts back to Latka with the help of a psychiatrist.

Facing deportation, the cabdrivers hire a prostitute to marry Latka so he can stay in the United States. It is assumed that they were soon divorced.

In the second season, Latka meets Simka (Carol Kane), a woman from his homeland. Despite coming from different classes - she is a "mountain person" and he is a "flatlander" - they fall in love. At the end of the episode Simka has to return to the homeland, but Simka returns in the fourth season and they rekindle their romance, finally ridding Latka of his Vic Ferrari alter ego. They get married at the end of the season.

(info from Wikipedia)

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