By Michael Slezak
July 11, 2005 at 11:42 PM EDT

Sounds like it’s time for Sacha Baron Cohen, star of HBO’s Da Ali G Show, to cook up some fresh comic personas, ai’ight? New York magazine reports that when Cohen took his latest movie project to the city’s subway system, the joke ended up being on him: Commuters instantly recognized the comedian disguised as Borat, a clueless Kazakhstani TV reporter, when he approached random male passengers and tried to kiss them.

Unfortunately for Cohen, his shtick only works if he’s duping his interview subjects — and, of course, not inciting them to riot. Borat’s controversial rendition of the national anthem at a Virginia rodeo earlier this year prompted director Todd Phillips (Old School) to flee the big-screen Borat project.

So the question remains: Can Cohen cook up some new characters to score laughs, or has his kamikaze-style humor worn out its welcome in the States?

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