How does Sacha Baron Cohen get people to make such asses out of themselves in his films? Here's one method: heavily subsidized booze. From an interview the Telegraph did with the sales director of the Arkansas arena where the big gay steel-cage match in the finale of Bruno was filmed:
‘Beer here is normally four bucks. That night it was a dollar a cup. The production company had paid the difference. And there were between 750 to 1200 people there so that was a lot of people they were buying drinks for. They gave most of the tickets away plus it cost $13,000 to rent the venue. They just kept throwing money around. It was crazy.'
I like Ali G--who's almost always making the rich and powerful look like idiots--but when it comes to Borat or Bruno or any of Cohen's other characters, I think George Saunders had it exactly right.