Da Ali G Show excelled when it came to musical guests – but they only lasted for the first series, presumably because coming on the show was seen (accurately, to be honest) as an exercise in ritual humiliation. But! Sacha Baron Cohen managed to trick a fair few musical guests into making appearances on his character’s show before people realised this. They are, for the most part, toe-curlingly brilliant. And we have ranked them for you.
5. Chrissie Hynde
The drum ‘n’ bass-obsessed prankster once memorably attempted to bring 1980s music into the 21st century with The Pretenders’ Chrissie Hynde. That was of course a totally doomed mission – following what’s one of his more awkward interviews, ‘It’s A Thin Line Between Love And Hate’ is sped up by Ali on the decks until it’s virtually unrecognisable – but the acceleration process and Hydne’s reaction is priceless.
4. Gaz Coombes
“I don’t know whether you know this but I is treasurer of the national campaign against indie music. But instead of fighting them we are offering to work with them.” And work with them he does – kinda. Supergrass’ Gaz Coombes – “about five years” out of school – is riled upon being told to shave his sideburns, and being mistaken for a Supertramp member. He does his best to perform ‘Sun In The Sky’, but a distracting backing track forces him from the mic and Ali takes centre stage as Gaz tries to hold his nerve.
3. Fran Healy, Travis
Poor old Fran is trying to explain that he’s not Travis – that that was from the film Paris, Texas, actually, but Ali can’t understand a single word in the Glasgwegian’s soft burr. After his accent, he rounds on Healy’s little mohawk, gives him a hat to cover it up, and then tells him his music is “fucking miserable.” But that’s ok, because G’s on hand to funk up “Why Does It Always Rain On Me?” with blaring sirens and awful, awful beats.
2. Jarvis Cocker
Look from Ali G’s blinged up, baggy shirted, behatted jester to Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker, who’s sporting thick glasses, a blazer, a mop of hair and a dour grimace. Ali’s really met his match – when he tells Jarvis he looks “like a kiddy fiddler” he just shrugs. It’s a good tactic – most of the interview is similarly shrugged off – but he can’t get away from their collaboration on “Help The Aged”. It starts with a bit of backing rap, then there’s a bit of disc scratching, and finally Ali launches into a dirty, solo rap – and Cocker is surprisingly into it.
1. Victoria Beckham
This last one is from Ali G’s comic relief skit in 2001, when Posh appeared alongside Becks. There’s no actual music involved, which means Baron Cohen can go totally overboard with the inappropriate questions over 10 minutes. He starts small on Beckham, telling him “Just cos this is Comic Relief doesn’t mean you should speak in a silly voice.” But he goes straight from 0-60 with Posh: “Does you take it up the batty?” he asks. “Beckham, you telling me you ain’t never been caught offside?” To be fair to them, they take it pretty well.