At the time, the proto-Ali G was a slightly more upper-class character who delivered wack monologues and went by various monikers, among them MC Jocelyn Cheadle-Hume (named after an area of Chesire). But one day, everything changed: Baron Cohen, while filming an MC Jocelyn Cheadle-Hume segment, saw a group of white skateboarders who were also dressed like wanna-be gangstas. Baron Cohen and Toppin decided it might be fun to interact with them.
“Afterward,” he recalls, “me and Mike looked at each other and suddenly had this realization that people believe this character. And at that point, a tourist bus turned up at a bus stop right next to us. I looked at Mike and he looked at me, and I said, ‘All right, follow me.’ So we jumped on and essentially commandeered the bus. I took the microphone and I was like, ‘Yo, check it out. I is here, and this is me bus. Booyakasha.’ ”
High from their high jinks, Baron Cohen and crew marauded on to a pub, where he started break-dancing until the police were called and they were thrown out. “Then we saw this building, which was a home of a multinational company. I went into the lobby and said, ‘I’m here to see my dad; he works on the sixth floor.’ So we went up and essentially we were thrown out by security after about twenty minutes. We were walking over the Waterloo Bridge, back to the London Weekend Television studio, and the adrenaline was pumping and we were just so excited, because here was this new form of comedy that we discovered. Probably it existed, and other people had done it, but we’d never discovered it before — this idea of taking a comic character into a real situation.”