Politics

The Thinking Behind Obama's 'Between Two Ferns' Appearance

While appearing on Funny or Die's "Between Two Ferns," President Obama plugged Healthcare.gov while also trading barbs with host Zach Galifianakis.

The Thinking Behind Obama's 'Between Two Ferns' Appearance
Funny or Die

It's not often the President of the United States goes head-to-head with this guy. (Via The White House

GALIFIANAKIS: “In 2013, you pardoned a turkey … What do you have planned for 2014?”

OBAMA: “We’ll probably pardon another turkey.” (Via Funny or Die

On Funny Or Die's "Between Two Ferns" Obama showed off his comedic chops, managed to plug Healthcare.gov, and get in a few passive aggressive digs at host Zach Galifianakis. (Via Funny or Die) ​

The president's best jab may have come when Galifianakis asked whether he’s disappointed he’s constitutionally limited from running for a third term.

"If I ran a third time, it'd be sort of like doing a third 'Hangover' movie. Didn't really work out." (Via Funny or Die) ​

If you’re unfamiliar, Funny or Die's "Between Two Ferns" parodies of the interviews you typically see on public access TV. Galifianakis and his guests sit awkwardly between, well, two potted ferns. Past guests have included Justin Bieber and Tila Tequila. (Via Funny or Die) ​

An odd platform for the Commander in Chief ... or perhaps, just the right one.  

After all, the president's no stranger to this sort of thing, having made several late night appearances before — the first sitting president to do so. And he's even slow jammed the news.   

“He’s the POTUS with the mostest” (Via NBC / “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, CBS / "Late Show with David Letterman")

​​He's also hosted Google Hangouts, grilled with Food Network star Bobby Flay, and then there was that time he took questions from Charles Barkley. (VIa YouTube / The Daily Conversation, The White HouseTNT

As for this latest appearance, White House aides told The New York Times it was part of a push to encourage young people to sign up for Obamacare. As Obama's chief communications strategist Dan Pfeiffer told The Times:  

“We have to find ways to break through ... This is essentially an extension of the code we have been trying to crack for seven years now.”

Conservative blogger Jim Geraghty at the National Review would call that overexposure. He writes: "The presidency of the United States is not meant to be [an] all-encompassing, ubiquitous role in the national culture. It is a job, with a four-year contract." 

On the left, a writer for ThinkProgress says not only did Obama pulled off what was otherwise a risky move, but also, "It shows that, with some thought, public officials can penetrate even the weirdest parts of the internet." (Via Think Progress