Sacha Baron Cohen's media blitz for "Borat" has seemed particularly awkward to us this week. Cohen always appears as Borat, and the joke has come to feel a little forced when it's live and a goofily game host lobs him softballs. Even on "The Daily Show" Jon Stewart, nobody's patsy, played along too affably. Borat's not quite as funny, we realized, when he's not truly freaking people out.
In this CNN appearance, the interviewer goes overboard proving to us how in on the joke she is:
Here, the broad Borat slapstick contrasts really strangely with Letterman's wry knowingness. It's actually utterly fascinating, if not terrifically enjoyable. And the appearance with Beck? We could only think of Yakiv Smirnoff.
And Borat with Matt Lauer ... this could've been a wonderfully strange, subversive moment. But Cohen just played along with Lauer's glad-handing. Slightly excruciating.
So our hopes were high when Cohen appeared on "The Daily Show" with Stewart, who might be a flinty enough foil to really start some fire. But instead ... well, what can we say. Judge for yourself. But we think we'd just like to see the movie again.