"Happy shooting, kids!"

After an episode full of shocking moments, those three words were the most horrifying of all.

Serial prankster and provocateur Sacha Baron Cohen makes his first proper return to TV since his days as Ali G in Who Is America? and he is determined to reveal the utter absurdity of Americans and American politics — and prank a lot of people along the way with Sarah Palin and Roy Moore among his notable targets.

Cohen is on classic form, with our jaws dropping over dolphin fornication and convincing a gallery owner to contribute her pubic hair to an artist's brush but it's the last few minutes that shocked the most.

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Disguised as Errand Morrad, a supposed Israeli anti-terrorism expert, Cohen makes the rounds in Washington DC, trying to promote a program called "Kinderguardians". The aim is to educate kids between four and 12 years old in guns so that they would have at least "rudimentary mortar" knowledge.

But it's not what Morrad is selling so much as what these Americans are buying.

Gun rights advocate and head of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, Philip Van Cleave, (yep, real-life guy) plays along with gusto — musing about how kids don't have fully developed consciences so would make effective little soldiers.

He says that when kids are confronted with "naughty men" — here he's shown cartoon pictures of black and Muslim men — children wouldn't hesitate to shoot, unlike those politically correct grown-ups.

Van Cleave even sings a little nursery rhyme — "heads, shoulders, not the toes!" — to teach kids exactly where to aim so those "naughty men" take a long nap. He happily goes along with a package advertising "kid-friendly" weapons like the "Uzi-corn" and "Rocket Ship RPG".

His compatriot Larry Pratt loves the whole thing and is also not above having a good old laugh about marital rape.

What champs.

You might dismiss Van Cleave and Pratt as part of the lunatic fringe element but Cohen trumps their dangerous idiocy with a much more chilling ending.

When Errand Morrad shops his program around to Congressmen in the government, he finds quite a few supporters who enthusiastically endorse arming kids, including Republicans Trent Lott, Joe Wilson, Joe Walsh and Dana Rohrabacher.

These are the fools, though mainly Pratt, that Cohen convinces to recite some bogus research on camera about why tiny children should be armed, which includes the line: "Children under five also have elevated levels of the pheromone Blink-182, produced by the part of the liver known as Rita Ora. This allows nerve reflexes to travel along the Cardi B pathway to the Wiz Khalifa 40 per cent faster, saving time and saving lives."

Who wants to tell them? So, yeah, "Happy shooting, kids!"

Donald Glover may have declared "This Is America" with his groundbreaking music video clip but Sacha Baron Cohen wants to know Who Is America? Hint: It's not Stephen Colbert.

If the first episode of Who Is America? is anything to go by, it's vintage Cohen — rude and crass (an extended joke about menstrual blood and the American flag involving unfailingly polite Trump supporters) but sometimes with something profound to say.

Cohen is clearly a clever guy with prodigious insight into how people function but he's also incredibly heavy-handed. Is it always necessary? Probably not. But it's good for laughs — many, many laughs.

Cohen and his team spent a year undercover, concocting at least four personalities and their extensive backgrounds, to make this show.

While we'll delight in how many high-profile personalities he's managed to punk and delight even more in how Palin and her ilk are doing his promotion for him in their rush to condemn his deception, but when the cackles die down there's a whiff about Who Is America?

Later episodes may lighten up but in a time when social division is rampant, and people are only all too aware of what they hate about the other side, Who Is America? will only cement those mean-spirited rifts. I'm not sure that's what we need right now.

Who Is America? airs Monday nights on Soho and is available to stream on Neon.