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Thank you to the EMMYs for the nominations— Sacha Baron Cohen (@SachaBaronCohen) July 16, 2019
for Who Is America. It was a bare-bones production - I went out into the heartland of this country armed only with a camera crew, a makeup kit and my trusted pedophile detector.
I want to thank my crack team of researchers told to uncover bigotry, racism and hate in the US. That took them about 30 seconds… they just started following the President.— Sacha Baron Cohen (@SachaBaronCohen) July 16, 2019
While I am flattered at these nods, it is a shame that my co-stars were not recognized. Particularly Dick Cheney, who I had hoped would come across on camera as someone who’d gleefully sent hundreds of thousands to their pointless death – and boy did he deliver.— Sacha Baron Cohen (@SachaBaronCohen) July 16, 2019
I’ve played some lunatics in my time, but the look of vacuous evil in his eyes as he autographed a waterboard kit, would put Daniel Day Lewis to shame.— Sacha Baron Cohen (@SachaBaronCohen) July 16, 2019
There’s one more person I need to thank even though she didn’t appear in the final project, Sarah Palin. Sarah, if you are out there, and you are WAY out there, please know the last time unseen footage generated as much interest, was when Donald Trump visited a Moscow hotel room.— Sacha Baron Cohen (@SachaBaronCohen) July 16, 2019
“While I am flattered at these nods, it is a shame that my co-stars were not recognized. Particularly Dick Cheney, who I had hoped would come across on camera as someone who’d gleefully sent hundreds of thousands to their pointless death–and boy did he deliver,” Cohen wrote on Twitter.
On the show, Cohen goes undercover as an Israeli anti-terrorism expert. He and Cheney joke back and forth about torture and their favorite wars, with Cheney even proudly signed a waterboarding kit–a clip prominently featured in the show’s promos.
A similar stunt with Palin ultimately ended up being cut. Palin went public about being pranked by the satirist. However, her attempt to garner bad press for the show ultimately served as free publicity for the series. Cohen hasn’t publically explained why the scene with Palin was cut. When asked about it in a Deadline interview, he simply responded, “I don’t think you missed much.”
“Sarah, if you are out there, and you are WAY out there, please know the last time unseen footage generated as much interest, was when Donald Trump visited a Moscow hotel room,” he quipped.
President Donald Trump’s victory in 2016 prompted Baron Cohen to create the series. The seven-episode special is up for Outstanding Variety Sketch Series along with nominations for directing and editing.
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Alyse Stanley is a video game and culture reporter based in Virginia with words at Polygon and USGamer. When she’s not writing about memes, she edits Unwinnable’s monthly magazine. You can follow her on Twitter @pithyalyse.