President Obama appeared on Zach Galifianakis’ webshow, “Between Two Ferns” this morning, and it was weird. Twenty-something years ago, when Bill Clinton first appeared on the Arsenio Hall Show and played his sax, he got heaps of sh*t for diminishing the stature of the presidency, and he wasn’t even the President yet. And here we are with President Obama appearing on a fake web show in order to answer awkward questions and deliver a few insults.
And he was awesome. Obama has a naturally awkward speaking style that fit in well, he allowed himself to be gently mocked, and he delivered a few nice insults. But even more than that, it’s genuinely appreciated that President Obama cares enough about the signature program of his Presidency to appear on something like “Two Ferns” in order to promote it to a generation less likely to know about or understand the Affordable Care Act.
This should work, too. Everyone is going to see this, because everyone is going to want to see how well Obama acquits himself and/or if Galifianakis takes it easy on him because he’s the President. The answer: Not really. And that’s the thing: For this gambit to work, Obama really has to get into the spirit of the show, and by doing so, he may get a few complaints from the Fox News crowd for lowering himself to this, but he wins a lot of respect points from the rest of us.
“What is it like to be the last black president?”
“What’s it like for this to be the last time you ever talk to a president?”
Well played, President Obama.