Technology | Entertainment | Elections

Obama Goes Between The Ferns To Talk With Zach Galifianakis

NPR | March 11, 2014 7:09 a.m.

Contributed By:

Bill Chappell

President Obama sits for an interview with comedian Zach Galifianikis for the online show Between Two Ferns.

President Obama sits for an interview with comedian Zach Galifianikis for the online show Between Two Ferns.

Funny or Die

“My mouse pad broke, and I had to get my great-aunt some diabetes shoes.”

That’s how comedian Zach Galifianikis begins his segment with President Obama, in an episode of the online interview show Between Two Ferns that was posted today. It was an interview unlike any other for a sitting U.S. president, as Galifianikis probed the commander-in-chief’s views with a range of oddball questions.

As The New York Times reports, Obama appeared on the comedy show in an attempt to get more young Americans to enroll for health care under the Affordable Care Act before the program’s March 31 deadline.

“We have to find ways to break through,” White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer tells the newspaper, which notes other turns in the not-so-serious media taken by Presidents Bush (Deal or No Deal), Clinton (MTV’s Enough is Enough forum), and Ford (Saturday Night Live).

Sitting across from Galifianikis on the spare set that sets the tone for the show’s awkwardly funny moments, Obama kept a straight face throughout – and seized a chance to talk about the new health care program.

Here are some of the questions Obama fielded that no U.S. president has faced before:

“Why would you get the guy who created the Zune to make your website?”

“Is this what they mean by ‘drones’?”

“I don’t have a phone, I’m off the grid. I don’t want you people looking at my texts… know what I mean?”

We won’t spoil all the jokes – the segment ends with an elaborate one that’s best seen for yourself. The short video made a splash after it was posted Tuesday morning. Within two hours, it had been viewed more than 320,000 times, and the servers at Funny or Die, the comedy site behind the show, seemed to have trouble keeping up with demand.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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