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Rick Perry Falls for Borat-Style Prank by Russian Comedians

Energy Secretary thought he was having a lengthy conversation about coal with Ukraine’s prime minister earlier this month — whoops

Energy Secretary and former Texas Governor Rick Perry just got punked by Russian comedy duo Vladimir Krasnov and Alexei Stolyarov, known for pulling pranks on famous people reminiscent of Sacha Baron Cohen in his Bruno, Ali G and Borat personas.

On July 19, the duo had a 22-minute phone call with Perry, who thought he was speaking with Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman.

During the call, Perry discussed a wide range of topics including the Paris climate accord, coal policy, development of gas and oil in Ukraine, and sanctions against Russia — unaware the whole time that he was speaking with comedians known for pranking famous people.

You can listen to a slightly edited version of the call here.

Energy Department spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes confirmed the conversation took place. “These individuals are known for pranking high-level officials and celebrities, particularly those who are supportive of an agenda that is not in line with their governments. In this case, the energy security of Ukraine,” she said.

Hynes did not explain how Perry’s staff mistook the pranksters for legitimate Ukrainian officials.

It could have been far worse, of course — at least it didn’t reach the depths of the infamous 2006 prank when, in an episode of “Da Ali G Show,” Sacha Baron Cohen led the crowd of an Arizona country bar to sing along to the song “In My Country There is Problem,” which featured highly antisemitic lyrics.

Back in 2012, Perry turned himself into a late-night punchline when, during a debate between contenders for the Republican presidential nomination, he forgot mid-sentence the name of a government agency he was planning to close down if elected president.

Oh, and by the way, the department Perry said he forgot? Energy.

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