On Tuesday, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin accused Sacha Baron Cohen of “duping” her by posing as a veteran to get an unwitting interview for his upcoming Showtime series Who Is America? Cohen has a history of mocking military veterans. In 2004, he mocked a veteran to his face on the HBO program “Da Ali G Show.”
Cohen interviewed Dr. George Washington, a Vietnam veteran who was also a veterinarian.
“So does vets mainly look after sick animals?” Cohen asked. “Why was there so many sick animals in Vietnam?”
He continued to ask a very confused Dr. Washington, “Weren’t there like millions of Vietnam vets?”
The veterinarian took great pains to try to explain the difference between a military veteran and an animal doctor, a doctor of veterinary medicine, while Cohen appeared not to understand him.
“So, loads of people went to Vietnam and then treated animals there,” Cohen asked. “No, no, you’re confusing the terms,” the exasperated vet responded.
“So why do so many of those people from the military then later on in life want to start working with animals?” Cohen persisted.
Dr. Washington calmly explained, “There’s no relation between a veteran of the military and a veterinarian.” Then, of course Cohen asked him what he is, and the veteran veterinarian admitted, “I’m both.”
“Oh man, that’s so confusing, I don’t understand it,” Sacha Baron Cohen responded in his mock stupid routine. “To make this clear to young people out there, people who fight in wars is called veterinarians…”
Dr. Washington interrupted him, saying, “No, they’re called veterans.”
“Whatever, veterans,” Cohen responded. “People who does the animal thing is called veterinar — veterans.”
The exasperated military veteran started spelling out the words for Cohen: “V-E-T…”
Cohen, clearly amusing himself by driving this military veteran crazy, proceeded to ask, “When you was a kid did you know that you wanted to grow up and be a veteran?”
The sketch is funny, but not for the man who tried to explain himself to the comedian. Dr. Washington is clearly uncomfortable throughout, and he was clearly never told that this was a comedy sketch, rather than a serious interview.
This seems to fit with Cohen’s recent alleged shenanigans with Palin. The former Alaska governor said that she and one of her daughters, whom she did not name, were asked to travel across the country for the interview, where she claimed Cohen had “heavily disguised himself as a disabled US Veteran, fake wheelchair and all.”
“Out of respect for what I was led to believe would be a thoughtful discussion with someone who had served in uniform, I sat through a long ‘interview’ full of Hollywoodism’s disrespect and sarcasm — but finally had enough and literally, physically removed my mic and walked out, much to Cohen’s chagrin,” Palin explained. “The disrespect of our U.S. military and middle-class Americans via Cohen’s foreign commentaries under the guise of interview questions was perverse.”
Watch the Cohen “veteran-veterinarian” sketch below.