Sacha Baron Cohen, perhaps the most consistent and raw satire artist of our time, has been putting out gold for the past few weeks with his Showtime show, Who Is America. The show takes a critical yet humorous look on the state of America’s most turbulent qualities — mainly, its politics and culture.
This week the Englishman turned his unflinching gaze towards the dance scene. In this side-splitting bit Cohen disappears into a character named Ricky Sherman aka DJ Solitary — a large, imposing, bald, bearded ex-inmate. At the Heart Nightclub in Miami, Cohen as DJ Solitary sits down with a club promoter Jake Inphamous to gauge whether he’s got a shot at making it at EDM. The tracks he presents are comprised of samples of soundbites he recorded during his time in prison and they’re nothing short of hilarious, even more interestingly they’re well put together, which makes sense a whole lot more sense now that we’ve learned they’re the product of none other than Scottish producer Hudson Mohawke.
Cohen completely composed and in an orange jumpsuit gleefully shows off his samples and riffs throughout the track stating, “about 35 seconds in, it’s like dinner hall mess tray smashing off someone’s head!” Inphamous is actually into the violent yet well-made soundbite and throws Cohen a high five after hearing the production. Later, Inphamous completely keeps it together after an especially disturbing sample comprised of, “Sorry mate I’m going to stab you… it’s for a song” followed by screaming.
Despite the sheer outlandishness of the character and what is being presented to him, Inphamous books Cohen’s DJ Solitary at Sway nightclub in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Hats off to Hudson Mohawke, he really made what follows possible.
Cohen goes so far as DJ Solitary that as performs in front of a real crowd he shouts into the mic, “If you believe we should stop shaming murderers, say yeah!” To which the crowd responds, “Oh yeah!” Total facepalm.
Cohen has never disappeared into a character without reason; with Borat, he shed light on our unfamiliarity with other cultures and backward perspectives on women; with Brüno he revealed our discomfort with sexuality; with this segment, it seems he is showing us how sometimes with music we hear but we don’t listen. Overall these lessons and all these years Cohen has taught us one thing above all: we need to look at ourselves, we need to listen, and most important of all we need to laugh.