Sarah Palin gave valuable publicity to Sacha Baron Cohen after complaining she was duped into an interview for the comedian’s show — which she ultimately didn’t even appear in.
The former half-term governor of Alaska and failed vice presidential candidate sat down for an interview with Baron Cohen, who was in character as right-wing conspiracy theorist Dr. Billy Wayne Ruddick Jr. PhD, but he frustrated Showtime executives by cutting her segment from the series “Who Is America?”
“Just like her candidacy for vice president, she wasn’t good enough to make the show,” the comedian told The Daily Beast.
Baron Cohen didn’t do much publicity before the show premiered last summer, but Palin raised its profile by calling the British comedian “evil, exploitive (and) sick” in a Facebook rant and subsequent talk show tour.
“She was going around the talk shows and talking about how outrageous it was that we put her in the show and saying, this is disgusting and it’s on Showtime at 10 o’clock Sunday nights,” Baron Cohen said. “She was literally promoting a show that she was not in, and I had this dilemma, which was I didn’t want to reveal that she wasn’t in the show and yet part of me wanted to correct her, because she was spreading some misinformation, which I know is quite a popular thing to do now.”
“I was particularly worried,” he added, “because obviously Ms. Palin is known for her factual accuracy. I mean, she was saying that I was a disgusting person, she mistakenly accused me of imitating a veteran, but the problem was the interview wasn’t very good.”
Showtime executives pleaded with Baron Cohen to include Palin’s interview in the show, because she had generated so much publicity, but he said the conservative celebrity just wasn’t good enough for his high comedic standards.
“You need someone to fully engage and answer the questions,” Baron Cohen explained. “(She) sort of gave these rote answers as if she was on a presidential campaign.”