Sacha Baron Cohen's "Anger, Disappointment & Revulsion" Over Trump's Election Inspired 'Who Is America?'
"I have to go back to this old style of comedy that's difficult for me to do, but I have to do it because I'm so upset," he told the Comedy Actor Roundtable.
"Donald Trump got elected, and I was upset by it. That anger and disappointment and revulsion, I was expressing it by sort of sending friends emails, you know, sharing articles," actor Sacha Baron Cohen told The Hollywood Reporter's Comedy Actor Roundtable.
"And in the end, I felt I was so angry, I felt I actually have to channel that into some characters who could expose some of those people. I wanted to sit with those people who were his friends," Baron Cohen said of his inspiration to create his Showtime series Who Is America?
"I have to go back to this old style of comedy that's difficult for me to do, but I have to do it because I'm so upset." Baron Cohen didn't do any publicity for the series, but said there was a two-fold goal in the content. "I love being funny, it has to be funny, and then, if I can get something that interests me, then I'm very satisfied with that."
The Borat star also noted being intimidated by three of the actors on the Foundtable, "particularly Jim [Carrey]," along with Ted Danson and Henry Winkler, whose work he grew up on. Known for his outrageous performances, the actor told the Roundtable he "was scared of becoming famous," saying, "I managed to get away with it because I was lucky enough to have my characters be famous in England too. For a few years, no one actually knew what I looked like. So basically, I was able to have the success without any of the — can I call it 'hassle'?"
"I think that fame thing is a tricky thing. I still struggle with it."
Baron Cohen earned an Academy Award nomination the screenplay for Borat and won a Golden Globe for his performance in the film. He earned a Golden Globe nomination earlier this year for his Showtime series Who Is America? and has four Emmy nominations for Da Ali G Show. He joined Jim Carrey, Henry Winkler, Don Cheadle, Ted Danson and Timothy Simons for the Comedy Actor Roundtable. The full roundtable airs June 30 on SundanceTV. Follow all the Emmy season roundtables at THR.com/Roundtables.