In the Who Is America? finale on Sunday night, things got awkward as host Sacha Baron Cohen, in disguise as Italian character Gio Monaldo, grilled ex-con O.J. Simpson about the murder of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson.
Cohen as Monaldo tries — and fails — to get a confession out of Simpson.
(The former pro footballer was charged with killing his ex-wife and her friend Ron Goldman in 1994, but was ultimately acquitted. He was later found liable in a civil lawsuit brought against him by Goldman’s parents, who were awarded $33.5 million in compensatory and punitive damages. In 2008, Simpson was found guilty on 12 counts, ranging from robbery to assault, after breaking into a man’s hotel room to steal sports memorabilia. He spent 9 years in prison.)
Cohen begins the interview by explaining to his character’s girlfriend Christina who Simpson is, regaling his exploits on the football field and movie screen. At one point, Monaldo makes stabbing gestures, and his girlfriend appears to understand who he is based on that.
“She knows that,” Simpson said, laughing. “Oh Jesus.”
Christina eventually leaves the room, and Simpson comments that she’s “gorgeous.”
“She’s gorgeous but sometimes I want to kill her,” Gio replied. “I want to send her on a private helicopter and throw her over the Grand Canyon — oopsie daisie!”
He gives Simpson a high-five. The Hall of Famer laughs, then said “Stop.”
Cohen, as Monaldo, also says he wants to be introduced to Simpson’s defence lawyer, Johnnie Cochran. “I would have to introduce you in the afterlife,” Simpson said.
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“What? You didn’t kill him too, did you?” retorted Cohen.
The interview ended with some on-the-surface sympathy from Cohen’s character: “You’re not O.J. the touchdown. You’re not O.J. the movie star,” he said. “You kill two silly people and suddenly you’re O.J. the murderer.”
The much-ballyhooed interview segment with former Alaskan governor Sarah Palin — rumoured to be nixed by production after outcry from the politician — did not air as part of the episode.
So far, Cohen has duped ex-congressman Joe Walsh, former vice-president Dick Cheney, former Senate candidate Roy Moore, journalist Ted Koppel, ex-presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and former Republican state representative Jason Spencer.
This was Who Is America?‘s last-ever episode, at least according to Cohen. Simpson has not publicly commented on the interview.
(Watch some of the interview, top.)