British actor Sacha Baron Cohen reprized his Borat character and stole the show at the prestigious Kennedy Center Honors in the United States on Sunday night, targeting former President Donald Trump, rapper Kanye West, now known as Ye, and anti-Semitism.
President Joe Biden smiled broadly and his wife, Jill, laughed as Cohen told risque jokes in the comedic accent of Kazakh TV journalist Borat Sagdiyev.
“I know the President of the United States and A is here,” Borat told an audience of politicians and celebrities during a segment celebrating Irish rock band U2. “Where are you, Mr. Trump?
As the audience roared, Borat continued, “You don’t look so good. Where did your glorious big belly go? And your pretty orange skin has turned pale. He then asked if Russian leader Vladimir Putin and the novichok nerve agent were responsible.
Borat, the star of two hit satirical films, added: “But I see you have a new wife.” Wawawoooah! She is very erotic. I have to look away before I get a Bono.
The comedian, who is Jewish, then turned to anti-Semitism after Trump had dinner at his Mar-a-Lago home with Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes and Ye, who later praised ‘Adolf Hitler and was banned from Twitter for posting an image of a swastika.
Borat said: “Before I continue, I will say that I am very upset about anti-Semitism in the United States and in A. It’s not fair. Kazakhstan is the #1 nation that crushes Jews. Stop stealing our hobby. Stop the stealing! Stop the stealing!” Some guests burst out laughing while others sat in uncomfortable silence.
He continued: “Your Kanye, he tried to move to Kazakhstan and even changed his name to Kazakhstanye West. But we said: No, he’s also an anti-Semite, even for us.
Borat then sang a short parody of U2’s song With or Without You with the lyrics changed to “With or without Jews”. He broke off and asked, “What’s the matter?” They loved it at Mar-a-Lago. They chose Without Jews.
The Bidens seemed to enjoy Baron Cohen’s routine, but it also came as a shock to the usually stuffy and buttoned-up Washington. Asked by the Guardian what she thought about it, Biden’s sister Valerie Biden Owens diplomatically said, “I think I like U2,” while Roy Blunt, a Republican senator from Missouri, replied, ” Not much”.
Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin said “I was surprised to see it” and fled without giving further details.
Alongside U2, actor George Clooney, singer-songwriter Amy Grant, singer Gladys Knight and songwriter Tania León were celebrated at the 45th Kennedy Center Honors, the highest honors for lifetime achievement artistic. There was also an appearance by Big Bird from Sesame Street.
A spectator from the political world also received a standing ovation. Paul Pelosi, the husband of Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, used the honors events over the weekend to make his first public appearance since being attacked in October at their San Francisco home.
La Pelosis sat next to Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff on a balcony. Paul Pelosi wore a black hat and a glove on his left hand.
The show highlighted the work of all five artists and represented a return to pre-coronavirus norms. There were no testing requirements to attend and few guests wore masks. Anthony Fauci, the president’s chief medical adviser, was among the guests.
Double Oscar winner Clooney was also praised for his commitment to political causes and spoke to reporters after attending a reception at the White House.
When asked how he thought Biden’s presidency was going, Clooney replied, “Beautifully. I love it. He’s a nice guy with big intentions and he’s got amazing legislation that’s kind of been overlooked and they’re not very good at bragging about it right now. He did a very good job and I’m very proud to be a supporter.
A follow-up question about whether Clooney, 61, would consider a career in politics made his wife, attorney Amal Clooney, smile and shake her head. The actor said in agreement, “Listen, we have a really nice life.”
During a celebration at the State Department on Saturday, Clooney told guests, “I’ve been blessed to meet millions of people, every country, literally 125 countries, and they all, without exception, agree and they’ll come up to me and specifically say, ‘You suck as Batman.’ It’s unified. We could solve the world’s problems if we could all agree on more than the fact that I suck at as Batman.
During Sunday’s main event at the Kennedy Center, Julia Roberts, who has co-starred in several films with Clooney, wore a long dress with framed pictures of him on it and called him a “Renaissance man.” Actors Don Cheadle, Matt Damon and Richard Kind also paid their respects, with Damon recalling how Clooney once stole President Bill Clinton’s stationery and wrote notes to other actors on it.
But the one who moved Clooney to tears was his 88-year-old father, Nick, a journalist and TV presenter. He recalled that he was hosting a TV show in 1968 when Martin Luther King was assassinated in Memphis. His family entered the green room. “George, seven years old, had a large paper bag in his hand. I asked him what was in the bag.
“Well, he went to the coffee table, he turned the bag upside down. All of his toy guns spilled out and landed with a snap. He said, ‘Pop, I don’t want it anymore. None of them. Never.’ Well, I tore up my speech. Nothing I would have written would have been as eloquent as what George had just done and said.
Nick Clooney said he was often asked what he wanted people to know about his son. “Well, here it is: George’s best and most important work is still ahead of him.”
Knight, who won seven Grammy awards, is famous for his hit songs including I Heard It Through the Grapevine and Midnight Train to Georgia as the lead singer of the Pips, who became Gladys Knight and the Pips in 1962. Singers such as Garth Brooks and Patti LaBelle performed some of Knight’s songs.
Grant rose to prominence as a contemporary Christian music singer who then rose to pop stardom, winning six Grammys. Singers Sheryl Crow, Brandi Carlile, CeCe Winans and BeBe Winans were among the artists who paid tribute to her.
Cuban-born León is both a conductor and a composer, whose orchestral piece Stride won the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for Music. Jazz pianist Jason Moran, singer Alicia Hall Moran and cellist Sterling Elliott have played one of his creations, Oh Yemanja.
The final tribute of the evening was paid to U2, which, along with its members Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr, won 22 Grammys. Eddie Vedder performed Elevation and One, while Ukrainian singer Jamala joined Carlile and others to perform Walk On. Actor Sean Penn described U2 as “four scrappy Dublin punks” who were also “great musical poets of the era”.
Other guests at the event included Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Senators Amy Klobuchar, Patrick Leahy, Joe Manchin and Mitt Romney, as well as Representatives James Clyburn and White House press secretary Steny Hoyer. , Karine Jean-Pierre, and the British Ambassador. in the United States, Dame Karen Pierce.
Deborah Rutter, President of the Kennedy Center, said, “That’s probably the most administration and congressional staff we’ve ever had, so that’s really awesome. People are ready to fully get back together and they want to see a good show.