Attention assistants of high-profile network news stars: You and your bosses are simple prey for Sacha Baron Cohen (search) — better known as goofy British rapper/TV host Ali G.
The latest newsman to fall victim to Ali G's inane questions is "60 Minutes" curmudgeon Andy Rooney (search), who lost his temper and tossed Ali G from his office while the rapper (who is white) accused him of being a racist — a sensitive subject with Rooney.
The surreal segment aired during the end credits on last Sunday's episode on HBO.
To land Rooney for the show, "Ali G" producers bypassed CBS News' usually cautious press department and contacted Rooney's assistant directly.
Rooney was sent an official-looking letter from what he believed was a "youth-oriented, educational, British show" and was asked to participate in an interview about pop-culture, says a network source.
Last spring, about three "reputable"-looking staffers from "Ali G" turned up at Rooney's office to set up their equipment. Minutes before the interview began, Cohen, in the guise of Ali G, bounded into the office — but didn't say a word until the cameras began to roll.
Instead of playing along, Rooney harped on Ali G's grammar — a hard-to-understand combination of British slang peppered with made-up street talk — and finally blew his top after getting hit with questions about "da media."
On "Da Ali G Show," Cohen hoodwinks unwitting guests into sometimes startling admissions with his in-depth portrayals of three characters: Ali G, Borat, a phony TV host from Kazakhstan, and Bruno, an openly gay fashion reporter from Austria.