Even after years in the spotlight, there’s still a lot of mystery to Sacha Baron Cohen, and much about the comic many casual viewers wouldn’t know. Here’s a look at some of the most interesting and least known bits and pieces about Baron Cohen’s life.
Baron Cohen wanted to be a performer since childhood, having been most influenced by actor and comedian Peter Sellers. Baron Cohen told The Guardian: “He was this incredibly realistic actor, who was also hilarious and who managed to bridge the gap between comedy and satire.”
It’s an easy influence to understand: Sellers, who claimed he had no personality outside his characters, wouldn’t just act his roles, he’d become them.
When he was 12, Baron Cohen formed a breakdancing troupe specifically so they could perform at his bar mitzvah.
During his teenage years, he wrote and performed many sketches as part of a youth group, including one with his brothers: “The Schvitzing Brothers.” Baron Cohen described the sketch on the podcast WTF with Marc Maron, saying: “[It] was about how these Hasidic Jews get so hot that they end up shaving their beards and taking their clothes off and actually converting to Christianity at the end. And it would go down terribly. I mean these old-age homes would hate it.” In college, Baron Cohen joined Footlights, Cambridge University’s theater club.
After graduating, he gave himself five years to make it as a performer, and spent some time working for small TV stations, where he developed a character who’d later become Ali G.
Keep watching the video to see the untold truth of Sasha Baron Cohen.
Performer origins | 0:00
Deep Jewish Roots | 1:31
Borat as a tool | 2:22
Golden Globe Win | 3:43
Collaboration on set | 4:35
Original urn-spilling target | 5:33
Passing on Queen | 6:43
“Too dark and wrong” | 8:10
Numerous lawsuits | 9:30
Baron Cohen vs. the Silicon Six | 11:04
Close Calls | 12:33