For months he was only Borat.

But instead of appearing in character, Sacha Baron Cohen stepped out as himself to collect the Golden Globe for best actor in a comedy or musical for his role as the hapless Kazakh journalist in "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan."

Baron Cohen is often heard speaking colloquial Hebrew during the film, in which his character displays an extreme hatred of Jews.

The 35-year-old British comedian is no stranger to Israel. He is an observant Jew, his mother was born in Israel and his grandmother still lives in Haifa.

In high school, he belonged to a Zionist Jewish youth group, Habonim Dror, and upon graduation spent a year working and studying on Kibbutz Rosh Hanikra in the north.

Baron Cohen has since returned for several visits, his Hebrew is excellent and he has a good understanding of Israeli culture.

The transition back to himself to accept the award, Cohen said, was a bit of an accident.

"I woke up one morning and I was quite hung over, and I accidentally shaved my mustache off. I realized I had no alternative," he said, seemingly serious, backstage at the ceremony.

In a rare interview out of character, Baron Cohen told Rolling Stone magazine that he uses Borat as a tool to unearth the bigotry of others. "By himself being anti-Semitic, he lets people lower their guard and expose their own prejudice," he said.

But some American Jews have voiced fears that Baron Cohen's humor would go over people's heads and reinforce bigotry.

Baron Cohen said the real thanks for his award belongs to his fiancee, actress Isla Fisher: "She agreed to sleep with Borat for 10 months."

He is said to keep kosher and observe the Jewish Sabbath, and Fisher, an Australian actress, has converted to Judaism.