In-Your-Face the Nation

If you've had enough of smooth late-night chat, these confrontational conversationalists are for you

There are too many competent interviewers in talk TV. From David Letterman's grumpy-uncle persona to Jay Leno's Chamber of Commerce bonhomie to Larry King's slow-pitched softballs, there are plenty of formats on which guests can happily plug their products or agendas. What TV needs are more bad interviews--unpredictable showdowns that don't glide to a safe three-point landing.

Enter Ali G, a tracksuit-wearing "hip-hop journalist" and the alter ego of British comic Sacha Baron Cohen. Da Ali G Show (HBO, Friday nights, 12:30 a.m. E.T.) is a little like This Is Spinal Tap, if the doltish rockers were asking the questions....

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