Comedian Sacha Baron Cohen on Sunday brought back his Borat character to take on Kanye West’s incessant antisemitism.
Cohen appeared at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington DC for the annual Kennedy Center Honors in front of an audience that included US President Joe Biden.
Borat Sagdiyev, a fictional Kazakh journalist, was the iconic main character of Cohen’s 2006 film. The character’s antisemitism was used to mock anti-Jewish stereotypes.
“I will say I am very upset about the antisemitism in US and A,” Cohen said at the event while in character. “It not fair. Kazakhstan is No. 1 Jew-crushing nation. Stop stealing our hobby. Stop the steal! Stop the steal!”
“Your Kanye,” he continued, “he tried to move to Kazakhstan and even changed his name to Kazakhstanye West. But we said: No, he too antisemitic, even for us.”
The event paid tribute to Bono, the lead singer of the Irish rock band U2, and other notable performers.
Cohen, who is Jewish, sang his character’s version of U2’s hit song “With or Without You,” switching the chorus to “With or without Jews.”
“What’s the problem? They loved this at Mar-a-Lago. They chose ‘without Jews,’” he said, referring to former president Donald Trump’s recent meeting with the Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes and West at his Mar-a-Lago home.
Cohen’s performance was met with applause, with Biden and his wife Jill seemingly enjoying the show, according to The Guardian. Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi were also in attendance with their spouses. It was Paul Pelosi’s first public appearance since a conspiracy theorist attacked him at home in October.
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts annually honors a select group of people for their artistic influences on American culture.
This year’s event was held in honor of U2, singer Gladys Knight, actor George Clooney, composer Tania León, singer Amy Grant.
AP contributed to this report.