Sacha Baron Cohen says Bernie Sanders’ team threatened to open a congressional hearing over his “Who Is America?” interview.
The “Borat” creator opened up about his experience making the 2018 political satire series in an excerpt from Judd Apatow’s upcoming book “Sicker in the Head: More Conversations About Life and Comedy,” out March 29.
In “Who Is America?,” Cohen interviewed Sanders while disguised as fictional conspiracy theorist Billy Wayne. During the interview, he urged the Senator to stop complaining about the ultra-wealthy and move the rest of America “into the 1%.”
“It’s my first time as this character, so I’m not deep in character; the accent’s not quite there,” Cohen said (via Air Mail). “We sit down, and it’s chaotic. We know we’ve only got an hour with Bernie Sanders. He’s late. And he gets pissed off within five minutes, when he realized that he was with this idiot. He didn’t think it was part of a prank; he just thought, ‘This is not the show that you told me that we’re going to make.'”
Cohen continued, “So, with Bernie Sanders, he comes out of it, and his team … immediately call up CBS, who owns Showtime, and they go, ‘What the hell is this? We’re going to the press with this. Who was this?’ And the good thing was CBS didn’t know what it was. So, they asked Showtime. They go, ‘Do you know anything about this show?’ Showtime said, ‘Yeah, we’re making it; it’s legitimate.’ Sanders’ people said, ‘We don’t know. These could be terrorists, and if you don’t pull the interview we’re going to go to Congress and get a congressional hearing on this terrorist group that’s going around D.C.'”
Sanders’ team did not immediately respond to Variety‘s request for comment.
“Who Is America” premiered in 2018 on Showtime and ran for one season. Other high-profile figures interviewed on the show include former Vice President Dick Cheney, Florida congressman Matt Gaetz, conservative talk show host Joe Walsh, former Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore and O.J. Simpson.
Watch a clip from Sanders’ interview below.