Watch Borat Joke About Kanye And U2 At Kennedy Center Honors
Last night, the annual Kennedy Center Honors gala went down in Washington. Every year, the American government comes together to say nice things about a few artistic types, and this year’s honorees included George Clooney, Gladys Knight, Amy Grant, and the Cuban-born composer Tania León. U2 were the headliners among the night’s honorees, and Mary J. Blige was supposed to honor the band by singing her stirring rendition of their power ballad “One.” But Blige was sick last night, so Pearl Jam leader Eddie Vedder had to do a couple of U2 tributes himself.
During the ceremony, Vedder sang U2’s “Elevation,” and he also took on “One.” The Ukrainian singer Jamala also joined Brandi Carlile and others to sing U2’s “Walk On.” Garth Brooks and Patti LaBelle honored Gladys Knight with covers, while those paying tribute to Amy Grant included Brandi Carlie, Sheryl Crow, and BeBe and CeCe Winans.
The performance that got all the attention last night wasn’t musical. Instead, it was Sacha Baron Cohen, appearing in character as Borat, turning up to joke about Kanye West and antisemitism. Addressing U2, Cohen said, “Please remove your wretched album from my iPhone 6. Your band fight oppressions from around the world. Stop it!” But first Cohen joked about Donald Trump still being president: “You don’t look so good! Where has your glorious big belly gone and your pretty orange skin? I see you have a new wife. Wa wa wee wa!” He then offered up this:
Before I proceed, I will say I am very upset about the antisemitism in US and A. It not fair. Kazakhstan is #1 Jew-crushing nation. Stop stealing our hobby. Stop the steal! Stop the steal!
Your Kanye, he tried to move to Kazakhstan and even changed his name to Kazakhstanye West. But we said: No, he too antisemitic, even for us.
Cohen then sang U2’s “With Or Without You” as “With Or Without Jews” while all the assembled political types had to decide whether or not to laugh. “What’s the problem?,” Cohen asked. “They loved this at Mar-a-Lago. They chose Without Jews.”