British funnyman Sacha Baron Cohen has hit out at persistent allegations his character interviews are set-up, insisting his subjects are convinced he's for real.
Following the huge success of Borat: Cultural Learnings Of America For Make Benefit Glorious Nation Of Kazakhstan last year (06), Cohen has been dogged by claims his bumbling personas are revealed to the public before the camera starts rolling.
But Cohen says, "I can tell you that none of them know what's coming. They all think they are being interviewed for a very serious show and none (of them) think it's a joke.
"The rule is I have to make them believe within a minute that they are dealing with a moron.
"They see me coming in the door dressed like Ali G (another of his alter egos) or Borat and I'm holding the camera. And I walk in with our director who is a handsome guy. And they assume he's the one who will be interviewing them.
"And then when they realise it's me, their mouths drop. When I leave them they're thinking, 'That guy was incredibly stupid,' or 'That guy was incredibly naive,' or 'That guy was incredibly gay.' None of them think, 'Hey, I was part of a comedy show!'"