Ali G is the most original comedy character to come out of Britain since Alan Patridge. At first, on The 11 O'Clock Show, he was a stupid, uninformed waster, who wanted to be a black rapper, who thought drugs and violence and rap were cool because his friends told him so. An all-too-acurate parody of British youth today, and hilariously funny.
But when Ali G became popular enough to get his own show, it all changed. No longer was Ali a fool; he was somewhat of a hero for the kids who tuned in. They never understood his humour, nor where they mean to; this is 20-something cult comedy, and should have remained so. However, thanks to his new-found fame, Ali actor Sasha baron Cohen turned Ali into a character you laughed with rather than at. He was in on the joke, and instead of making viewers laugh at today's youth, he made today's youth laugh at the rest of society. It's still funny, but no way near as clever.
It's a shame that such a great concept has been so diluted, but hey, that's what happens when cult goes swimming in the mainstream. Atleast Cohen's other character, Borat, is as unchanged as he is hilarious.