Silvio is Cohen’s oldest surviving character, having been around for some 17 years, and probably his most well known around the world. Ironically, as the character is so convincing, many people don’t even realise that Berlusconi is a comedy character, so his creator gets much more recognition for his Ali G, Borat and Brüno personas.
‘Silvio will always be very dear to me as the guise of a politician has allowed me access to some of the world’s most powerful figures who would never have granted Ali G or Borat an interview.’ said Cohen. ‘It’s amazing how people let their guard down when they believe they’re in the presence of a fun-loving, racist, sexist simpleton, and there have been some classic comedy moments over the years.’
He then continued, ‘There wasn’t the same opportunity for cheap gags like lowering his bare buttocks into Eminem’s face that Brüno gave me for example, although I did consider trying it with Angela Merkel at G20, but the Bunga-Bunga scandal was hilarious. And I still can’t believe I got him elected, that’s just priceless. Unfortunately he has become so well known now that the effect has been lost somewhat, and it’s time for him to step aside. I’d like to take this opportunity to apologise to the Italian people for running their country into the ground in the name of comedy, I just hope they can see the funny side when they look back.’
Although this signals the end of regular appearances on our screens for Berlusconi, there are likely to be numerous specials over the coming years. Including a rumoured movie deal for 2012 where Silvio, no longer benefitting from immunity from prosecution, faces trial on charges of massive corruption and embezzlement.