Brow Beat

Whether Sacha Baron Cohen’s New Show Turns Out To Be Good Or Bad, One Thing Is Clear: He Asked Dick Cheney To Autograph a Waterboard Kit

Dick Cheney signing a waterboarding kit.
You could probably get good money for that jug on eBay.
Showtime

Sacha Baron Cohen’s upcoming Showtime series Who Is America has been so shrouded in secrecy that the network’s ad campaign is about how impossible it is to promote “perhaps the most dangerous show in the history of television” without telling anyone anything about it. That’s probably a question of operational security as much as anything—since his Ali G days, Cohen’s work has depended on tricking unsuspecting guests into sitting down for interviews—but seriously, the trailer is just white text on a black screen:

But on Sunday, Cohen gave his fans a first glimpse of the new show. Specifically, he tweeted out footage of former vice president and longtime torture advocate Dick Cheney autographing a “waterboard kit” consisting of an empty two-gallon jug:

The interesting thing about Cohen’s act is that it depended on a notion of shame and embarrassment that seems to be quickly disappearing, at least outside of the Red Hen. Rewatch his interview with Donald Trump: besides Cohen’s ridiculous business pitch, the comedy comes from seeing Donald Trump slowly realize he’s being made fun of and look for a way to exit the interview. That fear of public humiliation is not really operative anymore now that everyone is saying the quiet part loud. Audiences will find out on July 15 how well Cohen’s humor translates to the age of Trump, but judging from the trailer, Cheney may have found the best way to defuse him: Just be a good sport and sign the waterboarding kit. If there were going to be any consequences they would have happened already.