Sasha Baron Cohen’s Who Is America? isn’t for everybody (including, for the most part, me—it’s just not my bag.) Still, even SBC devotees would likely admit that the new Showtime series has lagged a bit after a hot start, sometimes wading into regressive waters or turning out sequences that just aren’t all that interesting or funny. Last night’s, though, including one “wow, well, holy shit” segment, and it involved not so much as a single American politician.
Rick Sherman, Cohen’s ex-con character who has previously made forays into the worlds of fine art and E.D.M., prepared a multi-course meal for Bill Jilla, the International Food & Wine editor for DinnerReviews.com, a site that’s no longer functional as of this writing. His “pièce de résistance”? Meat purported to be human flesh.
To say that’s not political—or gross—would be dead wrong. Jilla describes the texture as “butter soft” (“Who needs a knife?”), to which Cohen’s character responds, “And do you know why? Their dissidents in China are kept in such narrow spaces that they become fattened over the years.” Still, it’s true that this has less to say about American politics than it does about how easily people can be swayed by the presence of cameras and the suggestion that what they’re consuming—sometimes literally—is somehow elite.
Here’s Randall Colburn on the episode, for The A.V. Club:
I also appreciated the jabs at modern foodie culture, in which it’s considered close-minded to scoff at the idea of eating testicles, brains, and stomach lining. While incorporating offal is a good thing—less waste, etc.—you can’t necessarily fault someone for not wanting to eat intestines. One of this episode’s great joys was watching Jilla’s face slowly fall when he realized Rick was going to serve him human flesh, as well as the anticipation of whether or not he’d actually do it.
We contacted Showtime to find out what food, exactly, had that “butter soft” texture, but as of this writing have not yet heard back. It’s worth noting, however, that when art gallerist Christy Cones encountered Cohen-as-Sherman, the paintings she was shown—supposedly made from the artist’s feces and ejaculate—were, ah, realistic. Cones, speaking to Vulture:
I don’t believe that is was [really made from feces and ejaculate], but it stunk, whatever it was. When I went in the bathroom afterward, it smelled really bad. I was afraid to touch anything because I’m a bit of a hypochondriac.
So probably not human flesh, but possibly pretty weird? We will update this story if and when we learn more. Like, for example, if said meat was “seasoned with salt and pepper and then smoked for 12 to 14 hours like a brisket.”
Oh, and check out one of the other courses: