I have been in West Bloomfield, Michigan since Wednesday for the extended Thanksgiving weekend, and this Shabbat morning at Congregation B’nai Israel I heard my classmate and colleague, Rabbi Eric Yanoff, deliver a brilliant sermon on the movie “Borat.” Using a Rashi commentary on the section of Parshat Toldot in which Jacob seemingly dupes his father Isaac into thinking he is his twin brother Esau and bestowing the birthright on him, Rabbi Yanoff asks if perhaps Jacob was just joking and the old man didn’t get the joke. Perhaps it’s a stetch for both Rashi and Rabbi Yanoff, but the question of whether Sacha Baron Cohen’s humor is dangerous because not everyone “gets it” as humor is a good one.
Here’s an article about two people who were duped by Sacha Baron Cohen (er, Borat) in the movie, but after seeing the movie and being let in on the joke are able to recognize its comedic value. Joe and Miriam Behar are the Bostonian Jewish couple who own the bed ‘n breakfast that Borat stays in on his way to Malibu in the movie. They seem to be the only ones not suing Baron Cohen for being taken advantage of for the sake of the film… and for the sake of humor.
Here’s another Blog that writes about the Behars.