Zach Galifianakis Interviews President Obama for Funny or Die
Those familiar with Zach Galifianakis’s Funny or Die show, Between Two Ferns, may be surprised to hear that President Barack Obama chose to make an appearance on it. After all, the show is known for its rather rude style of interview — when Justin Bieber came on the show, Galifianakis whipped him with his belt, and when James Franco was a guest, he made some rather rude suggestions about Franco’s penis. The president’s interview with Galifianakis is, unsurprisingly, a bit more vanilla. But that doesn’t mean it’s not hilarious. The deadpan, awkward back-and-forth toes the line with just the right degree of fake hostility, with Obama getting in perhaps just a few more zings than Galifianakis, which is probably a constitutional requirement for this kind of interview.
Obama once again proves that he has a sense of humor, as we saw earlier this month with his speech on developing technology, when he announced that the United States is building Iron Man: “Not really. Maybe? It’s classified.”
The reason for his appearance on this particular show is clear, as Galifianakis asked, “OK, let’s get this out of the way, what’d you come here to plug?” The answer, it is made abundantly clear, is to remind viewers about the healthcare enrollment deadline on March 31. Still, it’s far more enjoyable to hear Obama’s political message with it being punctuated by Galifianakis saying, “Is this what they mean by droonnnees?” and “Why would you get the guy that created the Zune to make your website?” referring to the failed Microsoft media player.
It’s worth all that to catch some of the careful but still amusing questions posed and hear Galifianakis’s special brand of self-deprecating humor, something he’s forced to fall back on more since the president makes for a less open target — though still a funny one. “What is it like to be the last black president?” asked Galifianakis, eventually hitting on old issues by mentioning Obama’s lack of a birth certificate and inquiring where the presidential library would be built, Hawaii or his “home country of Kenya.” Asked if it sort of stinks that he can’t run a third time, Obama responded, “No, actually I think it’s a good idea. You know, if I ran a third time it’d be sort of like doing a third Hangover movie. Didn’t really work out very well, did it?”
Perhaps the best moment comes at the end, when the black backdrop falls down behind the two, revealing that the interview is being held in the White House, to Obama’s feigned shock. “Thanks for the interview, and thanks for letting me shoot my show here all these years,” Galifianakis said. He added, when asked, that Bush had given him permission to shoot in the Diplomatic Room a while back.
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