With two Grammys for the audio versions of his two books, then a Nobel Peace prize, and now an Emmy award nomination for the producers of his talk show interview, Barack Obama is racking up the popular recognition during his two terms as president. When Carson Daly from The Voice and Mindy Kaling from The Mindy Project announced the honors for the Primetime Emmy Awards early Thursday morning, the president’s name was on the list.
Although Obama is not directly the award recipient for the Emmy in the Best Short-Format Live Action Entertainment Program category, his appearance on the FunnyOrDie.com show, Between Two Ferns With Zach Galifianakis garnered a nomination for the executive producers of the segment. They are competing against shows from NBC.com, E! and the Super Bowl Halftime Show Starring Bruno Mars that aired on Fox.
Funny or Die is a video-based comedy website that encourages viewers to vote on which videos they think are funny (and which deserve to die). The site was co-created by Chris Henchy, Adam McKay and Will Farrell. The site features shows with titles such as Gay of Thrones, Drunk History and the nominated program, Between Two Ferns. The show is aimed at the 18 to 34 year-old demographic and, although critics contend the episode nominated for the Emmy Awards is not the best one this year, the Obama interview has been viewed more than 22 million times.
Guests from all walks of entertainment life grace Galifianakis’ set: from popular musicians like Justin Bieber and actors like Bruce Willis, Charlize Theron and Bradley Cooper, to pundits like Jon Stewart and Conan O’Brien. Galifianakis, who described himself to Obama as “short, fat, and smelling like Doritos,” gained notoriety in 2009 when he appeared in The Hangover with heartthrob Bradley Cooper.
Episode #18 with President Obama, which garnered the Emmy Awards nomination for the segment’s four producers, was posted on March 11 and ran for six-and-a-half minutes. If Obama’s episode wins, it will most likely be one of the most talked about awards since Judi Dench won the Oscar for her appearance as Queen Elizabeth in Shakespeare in Love. Dench was onscreen for less than ten minutes and uttered less than 500 words.
As the first question of the interview Galifianakis asked, “In 2013, you pardoned the turkey. What do you have planned for 2014?” President Obama responded, “We will probably pardon another turkey. We do that every Thanksgiving.” Despite the large number of views for the segment, many have expressed surprise that this particular segment gained notice from the Emmy Awards voters.
The two men bantered and traded plenty of insults, but the gist of the clip was a plug for people to sign up at Healthcare.gov for coverage under the Affordable Care Act. When Galifianakis implied that the ACA did not work, Obama replied that the young people of America could be covered for less than the price of their monthly cell phone bill. Toward the end of the episode, when the curtain behind the set dropped down to reveal that they were in the White House Diplomatic Room, Obama asked, “Who gave him clearance?” Galifianakis whispered back, “Bush.”
The Emmy winners will be announced on August 25 during an awards show at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles. NBC will broadcast the ceremony, emceed by Late Night host Seth Meyers, at 8 pm Eastern that same night. Those who wish to follow the Emmy process on Twitter can use the hashtags: #EmmyNoms, #Emmys or #Emmys2014. If a show featuring President Obama wins the Emmy Award, it is a sure bet that social media will spread the news as quickly as it has the nomination.
By Jenny Hansen