The last time Sacha Baron Cohen appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live, he was in-character as Borat Sagdiyev, introducing his “daughter” Tutar—AKA Bulgarian actress Maria Bakalova—to the world. On Thursday, on the heels of his double win at the Golden Globes, he returned as himself. But it was anything but a typical late-night spot.
Baron Cohen was joking that he got stuck talking to the losers in his category in the awkward Zoom rooms at the ceremony after he won when Kimmel added, “If they had any sense of humor, they would have stuck Rudy Giuliani in that room with you” and asked, “Did he send you flowers or an edible arrangement of anything?”
“He sent, actually, a huge box of condoms,” the actor joked of his Borat Subsequent Moviefilm co-star.
The pair spent much of the interview talking about Baron Cohen’s Oscar-buzzy performance as Abbie Hoffman in Aaron Sorkin’s The Trial of the Chicago 7, but when the conversation turned back to Borat, he explained how a 2018 appearance on Kimmel’s show actually helped inspire the follow-up film.
“The only time Borat existed after the first movie was on this show,” Baron Cohen said. “I came on once during Trump’s campaign for election where Borat was saying that Trump was a Sacha Baron Cohen character.”
He said he had always believed another Borat movie would be “impossible” but after bringing him back on late-night TV, he met with his writing team and asked, “Is there a movie we could get out in time for the election? About 15 minutes later we had an idea, three days later we’d set it up at a studio. So I thank you, but you’re not going to get a cut.”
After a break, Kimmel asked Baron Cohen if it’s “fun” to play Borat in the real world. “Jimmy, I’m not here to talk about fun,” he replied. “It was important to make this film. And I really wanted to expose the hypocrisy.” As his cell phone began to ring, he added, “Those using power to get ahead, criminality.” From there, he launched into a bit in which he was secretly selling black market COVID-19 vaccines to his famous friends.
“Bono? Oh hey man, what’s up?” he said into the phone. “Yeah, I’ve got AstraZeneca, Pfizer, what do you want? Yeah, Venmo is fine.”
Later, he took a call from “Tom Cruise,” who he joked was “old enough to get it legally” and, in a rare Scientology dig, added, “I thought the thetans were immune.” Baron Cohen then took another call from “Kanye,” saying, “Yo, yo, yo, I can get you Johnson & Johnson. No, not Dakota and Don. What do you mean you only need one now? I’ve got you down for six. Oh, sorry, I hadn’t heard.”
Next came a cameo from his wife and accomplice, a disheveled Isla Fisher. “Isla, you look higher than Don Jr.,” he joked. “Have you been drinking vaccines? How many have you had?”
When Kimmel suggested that Baron Cohen should perhaps be more focused on his Oscar campaign, the actor replied, “This is my Oscar campaign. Jimmy, put it this way: None of the Hollywood Foreign Press are catching COVID anytime soon.” It only got more insane from there.
For more, listen to Sacha Baron Cohen on The Last Laugh podcast.