Sacha Baron Cohen isn’t laughing. The star of “Bruno” has mightily pissed off the wrong people.
The Palestinian Al-Aqsa Martys’ Brigades, whose suicide bombings have murdered scores of Israeli civilians, aren’t happy with how the British comic mocked them in “Bruno,” according to World Net Daily.
“We reserve the right to respond in the way we find suitable against this man (Cohen)” said the statement. “This movie was part of a conspiracy against the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades,” continued the statement, released through a senior member of the group in the West Bank.
Just what Al-Aqsa might do to Cohen isn’t clear, though considering the suicide bombers that have destroyed packed Israeli buses, it’s probably more than a stern warning. Cohen is taking this seriously enough to beef up security for himself and his family.
Cohen’s mistake was to forget that terrorists obsessed with destroying Israel and killing Jews probably aren’t blessed with a sense of humor or self-deprecation. His satrical alter-ego, the gay Ausrian hairdresser Bruno, asked Al-Aqsa if he could be kidnapped because he wanted to be abducted by the best. Al-Aqsa obviously didn’t appreciate the compliment. In fact, the duped Al-Aqsa leader who met with Bruno is threatening to sue Cohen (perhaps for endangering his life – Al-Aqsa probably isn’t too forgiving toward dupes in its own ranks).
Cohen also managed to antagonize ultra-Orthodox Jews, who almost rioted when he pranced down a Jerusalem street in his Bruno costume. It’s a sign of a good comic that he doesn’t play favorites.
I haven’t seen “Bruno.” I don’t find Cohen that funny (“Borat” was hit-or-miss). But I hope the Palestinian threat doesn’t chill political humor. Humor is often the best vehicle we have to understand the darker sides of humanity. Want to learn about the insanity of Nazism? Watch Charlie Chaplain’s “The Great Dictator.” You’ll learn more from Chaplain’s dead-on imitation of Hitler than from a dozen history books.
So I think I will see “Bruno.” If it’s bad enough for terrorists, it’s good enough for me.