Big break ... Sacha Baron Cohen as Ali G in <em>Da Ali G Show</em>, 2000.

Big break ... Sacha Baron Cohen as Ali G in Da Ali G Show, 2000.

2000 - Ali G

Although his middle-class white rapper and interviewer first appeared in the '90s, English comic Sacha Baron Cohen got his first big break with Da Ali G Show in 2000. Winning the BAFTA for best comedy, it featured unscripted comedy skits using unsuspecting guests. That television series led to the film Ali G Indahouse and introduced two characters who went on to have their own hit movie spinoffs: Borat and Bruno.

2006 - Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

Sacha Baron Cohen in <em>Borat</em>, 2006.

Sacha Baron Cohen in Borat, 2006.

Cohen plays a Kazakh TV host reporting on American culture. The film cost $US18 million to make and earned $US128 million in the US and $US133 million elsewhere. Cohen also won a Golden Globe for best actor in a comedy and an Academy Award nomination for adapted screenplay.

2009 - Bruno

Cohen played flamboyant Austrian fashionista Bruno, who brings his show to the US with mixed results. The film got mixed reviews but was still a modest hit, with $US138 million in worldwide box office grosses.

2012 - The Dictator

The movie about the ruthless leader of the fictional north African country of Wadiya, Admiral General Aladeen, is a scripted comedy that doesn't use unsuspecting guests.