When Ali G infuriated Donald Trump - and other inspired spoof interviews
Fifteen years ago, when Donald Trump was merely a business tycoon and not the most controversial US president since Nixon, he found himself face to face with Sacha Baron Cohen's cult comedy alter-ego: aspiring UK rapper Ali G.
Now that Diane Morgan's Philomena Cunk is currently rekindling the trend for spoof interviews, we look back at one of the best.
'For real, it's Trump innit?'
In a 2003 episode of Channel 4's Da Ali G Show, presciently titled 'Politics', an in-character Cohen journeyed to the US for a conversation with Trump.
With shades of Brass Eye's celebrity-baiting campaigns, his aim was to try and get the corporate chief to invest in 'G's' brand new invention: ice cream gloves.
Ironically, for a man now synonymous with the phrase 'fake news', Trump was about to find himself at the centre of a tremendously awkward fake media opportunity.
Speaking to comedian Marc Maron in 2016, Cohen recalled waiting for an hour and a half in Trump's office before their meeting, during which time he claims he heard his interviewee screaming at the Mayor of New York on the phone.
If Trump was not in the best of moods prior to his Ali G encounter however, he was soon to be even less amused.
You can watch their conversation below (Warning: some strong language):
To his credit, the future President maintains outer calm and politeness throughout the infamous exchange. Though inside he appears to be raging.
"You can call me Donald," he intones softly, at the outset.
"For real. It's Trump, innit?" responds Cohen, setting the tone for what will follow.
An embarrassing exchange
The conversation kicks off with some painfully childlike questions about business from 'G', which Trump answers as if addressing a primary school class - helpfully pointing out that early man "traded in rocks and stones and other things".
A hilariously stony-faced glance to camera soon after suggests his patience is already being tested.
Trump denied he had fallen for Cohen's "scam", and claimed he walked out immediately
Then Cohen plays his, if you'll excuse the expression, trump card - bringing the conversation around to that aforementioned topic of ice cream.
Wonderfully, we get a brief look of triumph and satisfaction from Trump when Cohen remarks that his suggestion for drip-proof ice cream is a "brilliant idea".
But the smile is swiftly wiped off when 'G' brings up his own brainwave for sticky-proof gloves, prompting Trump to look around anxiously for help.
When none is forthcoming, he promptly shuts down the interview himself by addressing the camera directly:
"Good luck folks, it's been nice seeing you. You take care of yourself," he offers, before hurrying off stage left.
'He did not invest'
In 2012, almost a decade later, Trump made his thoughts on the matter clear:
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 27, 2012
The business magnate denied he had fallen for Cohen's "scam", and claimed he walked out immediately. Cohen insisted that the edit was a highly trimmed version of the interview, and that he had stuck around for a whole seven minutes.
"Quite a long time," remarked the comedian, adding: "Anyway, he did not invest, and decided to move into politics instead."
Of course, Cohen went on to take his satirical craft to the big screen: controversially tearing through America in the movies Borat and Bruno, as well as popping up in theatrical supporting roles in the likes of Sweeney Todd and Hugo.
As a new twist in the tale, meanwhile, a certain outrageous gag involving Trump at the climax of Cohen's bad taste comedy Brothers Grimsby took fresh aim at his nemesis only recently.
Other great spoof interviews
Chris Morris baffles Jas Mann
As Brass Eye's fearless creator and frontman, Morris famously got Phil Collins to wear clothing branded 'Nonce Sense' and conducted preposterous exchanges with the likes of Peter Tatchell. Then he brought in the lead singer of flash-in-the-pan pop act Babylon Zoo for a chat, and asked him if he'd "ever write a spherical song". Surreal media satire at its finest.
Mrs Merton grills Debbie McGee
Before she became a darling of the public on Strictly Come Dancing last year, McGee was best known as the stage and real-life partner of a certain magician. Cue the late, great Caroline Aherne asking the entertainer: "What first attracted you to the millionaire Paul Daniels?"
Dennis Pennis corners Hugh Grant
Paul Kaye is now known to TV audiences the world over as Thoros of Myr from Game of Thrones. But back in the '90s he rose to fame as the witheringly snide shock interviewer Dennis Pennis, who specialised in ambushing red carpet stars with terribly rude questions. Poor Grant gets told he's so wooden as an actor Pennis thought "someone threw a chair in the room".
Philomena Cunk has an existential crisis with Brian Cox
Upon being told that the Earth will inevitably be obliterated at some point in the future, Cunk informs the D Ream musician turned scientist he's much gloomier than she expected. "You once said 'things can only get better'. So how can we trust anything you say?"
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This article originally appeared on our sister site, iNews.