Chris Rock dominated the diversity conversation at the 2016 Oscars, but Sacha Baron Cohen did manage to squeeze in his own comedic cultural commentary. The actor's surprise appearance as his alter ego character, Ali G, from Da Ali G Show took the audience, and his co-presenter, Olivia Wilde, by surprise. But today, the Vinyl actress insisted that it was all in good fun. As Cohen told Good Morning Britain, he quickly ran his bit by Chris Rock before he went on and said Rock gave him "a thumbs up." But many viewers thought his joke about "little yellow" guys with "little dongs" was racist and disrespectful. (Rock faced similar criticism for his gag involving Asian children.) On stage, Wilde could barely keep a straight face as Ali G spoke about the lack of diversity at the awards. Now, a few days later, Wilde has clarified her feelings on the moment. The actress wrote on Twitter: "For the record, Ali G is a perfect gentleman. The whole thing was a hilarious and welcome surprise. Haters, lighten up."
Cohen also said the Academy discouraged him from appearing in character at the awards show, so his wife, actress Isla Fisher, helped him sneak into costume. The two pretended to have food poisoning to gain access to a private bathroom where they got Cohen into character, Deadline reports.
Here is the first episode of the HBO series, where we first met Ali G.