The actor and comedian appeared as all three characters, and himself, while accepting the 2021 Comedic Genius Award award at last night’s (16 May) ceremony.
Baron Cohen was nominated at the ceremony for his performance in The Trial of the Chicago 7, losing out to Chadwick Boseman’s turn in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. His much-publicised Borat sequel, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, was also nominated for Best Film.
Accepting the Comedic Genius award from Seth Rogen, Baron Cohen first appeared as fictional Kazakhstani journalist Borat Sagdiyev.
“Thank you Prince Harry. I’m very excited to be on this brand new music television channel,” he said.
Before long, his character is interrupted by Ali G (also played by Baron Cohen), who approaches from stage right. Digital effects were employed to allow Baron Cohen to portray the characters simultaneously.
“Easy now, me should be accepting this award, not you,” he said. “I is the original gangster, the OJ.”
The actor then appeared as himself, saying: “Thank you MTV. To the millions of fans out there who voted for me, I salute you. This is yours, I’d be nothing without you. I’m so humbled by this. I’m just a human being creating complex nuanced characters.”
Baron Cohen used the sketch to address the problematic elements of his famously boundary-pushing characters, joking that he was “officially cancelling myself” after Brüno appeared and made an offensive joke about BTS.
“I was actually really looking forward to this after losing at the Oscars. You can f***ing keep it. You’re a caricature,” he told his alter-ego.
The skit then ended with a final cameo, with Baron Cohen walking on-stage dressed as the lead character from his 2012 satire The Dictator.
The full scene can be viewed here.