After playing a few real news clips, Erran begins training the politician, duping Spencer into taking an underskirt photo, making racist observations about the Chinese, and screaming the N-word multiple times. To think this man has any influence or power is shockingly scary and Cohen makes for there perfect foil, provoking increasingly distressing behaviour from Spencer.
That’s only the first sketch with Erran though, as Cohen takes on the persona to interview Dick Cheney, the episode’s best-known name. Rather than being quite as terrifying, the segment recalls Ali G thanks to multiple ‘Dick’ jokes, the best being “Did you want to get rid of [George] Bush and see some more Dick”. Cheney, for his part, stays relatively quiet but remains completely oblivious to being the butt of every joke, making for another comedy interview masterclass from Cohen.
The laughs continue when Corinne Olympios, the former Bachelorettecontestant, enters the fray. Cohen plays a new character here, the Italian photographer Gio Monaldo, and manages to fool the personality into lying about charity work. Again, Cohen manipulates her to perfection, Olympios happily claiming to have saved 6,000 people from an African warlord. When her PSA comes later on in the episode – calling on people to adopt a child soldier – you are convinced that she would read absolutely anything off a prompter.
Of course, as the first sketch demonstrated, Who is America? can be much more alarming than funny. Cohen returns as the “self-hating white man” Dr. Nira Cain-N’Degeocello, using the character impeccably at an Arizonan Town Hall meeting. Offering a $385 million investment, the townsfolk quickly turn on the liberal as they realise the money would be spent on a Mosque. The scenes become so obscene that one local even admits: “I am a racist towards Muslims. That Mosque would look good on fire.” Excruciating, powerful viewing.
There’s only one real weak point during the episode, and that comes with InfoWars spoofer Billy Wayne Ruddick. Last week, the character failed to get anything from Bernie Sanders (which, in retrospect, was a poor choice of interview to open the series considering the material after) and once again cannot break ‘liberal media’ broadcaster Ted Koppal, who deals with the situation as best anyone could. Cohen tries to make a mockery of both Republicans and Democrats, but has so far only landed excellent segments about the former. Still, if Who is America? stays on this upward trajectory, this could be sit among Cohen’s best work yet.