Obamacare promotion goes viral as President Barack Obama appeared in an episode of the Funny or Die show, Between Two Ferns, hosted by comedian Zach Galifianakis. Obama does best when he appears on entertainment shows, and this may be his best performance yet.
Obama was well prepared, as he delivered his jokes appropriately deadpan in the custom on the show that has hosted mostly entertainment figures like Justin Bieber, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, and Charlize Theron. Galifianakis and the President traded insults in-between healthcare.gov plugs, such as when Obama was asked if he was upset that he couldn’t run for a third term as president, he shot back that he wasn’t because running a third time would be “like doing a third Hangover movie” which “didn’t really work out very well.” Galifianakis, who carried all three Hangover movies despite the President’s suggestion that Cooper was the star, seemed visually shaken, his tongue-in-cheek loathing for the Hollywood pretty-boy being well documented.
Galifianakis shot some torpedos of his own, saying, “Is it going to be hard in two years when you’re no longer president and people will stop letting you win at basketball?” He also touched on the birth certificate controversy, saying, “Where do you plan on building your presidential library – Hawaii or your home country of Kenya?” Obama gave the response that die-hard supporters of the President have always wanted to hear delivered to birthers like Donald Trump, which was a forceful “where is your birth certificate, why don’t you show it to us right now.”
When Obama got to the true reason for appearing on a web comedy show like Between Two Ferns – the Affordable Care Act – Galifianakis perfectly channeled a conservative in opposition to the law, quipping, “Oh yeah, I heard about that. That’s the thing that doesn’t work?” Obama delivered his plug in a familiar diatribe about affordability and the importance of access to health insurance for everyone, especially young adults, to which Galifianakis replied, “Is this what they mean by drones?”
Galifianakis also rehashed topics like Obama’s famous comment that due to long-term health risks, if the President had a son, he wouldn’t let him play football and threw in a barb for good measure, saying, “What makes you think he (Obama’s hypothetical son) would want to play football, what if he was a nerd like you?” Obama delivered a smooth come-back, replying, “Do you think a woman like Michelle would marry a nerd?”
Both Galifianakis and Obama were at their best in the bit. Even if his approval ratings suffer, only the people most ardently opposed to the President could find him off-putting in these types of appearances. Obama always tends to do well with his cool, charismatic demeanor and willingness to be silly. The President also benefits greatly from well written scripts – just as much as a well written speeches on a teleprompter – and spirited hosts with their own popular shows like Jimmy Fallon, host of Late Night and Between Two Ferns’ Galifianakis. It’s a refreshing break to see Obama, the man, separated from Obama, the president, but it remains to be seen if this latest publicity stunt will do much to bolster Obamacare’s lagging enrollment numbers.
Opinion By Matt Stinson