When Sacha Baron Cohen‘s first Borat movie premiered in 2006, its reception in the fictional title character’s homeland of Kazakhstan was complicated. Some understood that Cohen’s thing was parodying British attitudes towards other countries and found it funny enough, but many folks hated the movie; it was briefly banned from airing there.
Seems like the Kazakhs, however, are feeling a little more chill about Cohen’s ludicrous caricature when it comes to the second Borat, the just-released The Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. Watch the video above.
The Kazakh decision to apparently embrace the character had at least something to do with the novel coronavirus pandemic, according to the New York Times. Kazakhstan tourism board deputy chairman Kairat Sadvakassov told the Times that “in Covid times, when tourism spending is on hold, it was good to see the country mentioned in the media.”
“Not in the nicest way,” admitted Sadvakassov, “but it’s good to be out there. We would love to work with Cohen, or maybe even have him film here.”
The spots were the brainchild of American expat Dennis Keen and his friend Yermek Utemissov. They reportedly pitched the spots to the country’s board of tourism, got the go-ahead, then made the package for free.
It’s funny to see the people of Kazakhstan can take a joke, but hang on a bit if you plan on traveling there—U.S. citizens aren’t allowed to travel visa-free to the country until November at a minimum, and the Kazakhstani border is closed to all but a very limited selection of foreigners.
Still, the tourism videos do indeed make a vacation to Kazakhstan sound, in Borat‘s words, “Very nice.”