Paula Abdul Revealed How She Got Tricked By Sacha Baron Cohen Into Appearing In "Brüno"

"Look, I heard I was getting International Artist of the Year award. I'm gonna show up."

Former American Idol judge Paula Abdul appeared on Andy Cohen's Watch What Happens Live on Wednesday and shared the story of how she was straight-up scammed into appearing in Brüno, Sacha Baron Cohen's 2009 mockumentary.

Abdul was asked a question from a viewer, who essentially wanted to know if the legendary choreographer was in on the joke. Judging by Abdul's body language upon hearing the question, the situation she endured 10 years ago was quite distressing.

"Not only did I have no idea," Abdul began, "I thought when I showed up— Look, I heard I was getting International Artist of the Year award. I'm gonna show up. I showed up. I wanted to get that award."

But then things took a turn when "some crazy freak answered the door," she said.

Now, for those of you who haven't seen Brüno, or if you have no idea what Abdul is referencing, you're in luck — there's a clip of the bizarre moment online.

Abdul and Baron Cohen, who is dressed as his Eurotrash character, Brüno, exchange pleasantries before he asks her to sit down on "Mexican chair people."

View this video on YouTube

The singer's face looks like she can't believe what's actually happening, but she obliges and they talk about her humanitarian work, all while sitting on the backs of other humans. 😬

"Helping people is so vital to my life," Abdul tells Baron Cohen as Brüno. "It's like the air that I breathe and water that I drink. It is extremely important to me."

The strange encounter came to an end when Baron Cohen assumes Abdul is hungry, at which point a naked man covered in sushi is rolled out on a gurney. Abdul leaves quickly afterward.

"When they started serving sushi on naked sumo wrestlers, it was time for me to leave," Abdul said on WWHL. In another interview about this incident a decade ago, Abdul said the hors d'oeuvres that Baron Cohen tried to serve "looked like dog food on a cracker and I wouldn't eat it."

But the tale gets even stranger, Abdul said on WWHL. While she and her publicist were leaving, she said that Baron Cohen, still in character, threw the award she was there to receive in the car as she and her publicist were taking off.

"Right after that I said, 'Thank god you didn't sign any agreement,'" she said. "And my then-publicist says, 'Oh, I had to. It was in German.'"

Abdul was stunned and said she attempted to rectify what happened by getting in contact with her attorney, Marty Singer. Her attorney tried calling a number that was presumably on the document her publicist had signed, but it was disconnected.

"I was on pins and needles for like, seriously, two months," Abdul said. "Then I forget all about it."

After about nine months passed, Abdul estimated, she began getting requests from outlets asking her about the experience of working with Baron Cohen.

Abdul said she replied, "I haven't worked with Sacha Baron Cohen! I think he's genius, but I haven't worked with him."

But then late one night she awoke "in a pool of sweat" and rushed to her computer and typed in Baron Cohen's full name, finally realizing who had duped her.

Some would consider Baron Cohen's performance to be that of a coldhearted snake, especially since Abdul wasn't even invited to the film's premiere.

But asked if she would have attended the opening after her ordeal, Abdul said: "I'll show up at anything."

Topics in this article

Skip to footer