WASHINGTON, DC – “Sorry I had to cancel a few times. My mouse pad broke and I had to get my great aunt some diabetes shoes,” Zach Galifianakis told President Barack Obama. And that’s how an interview between a comedian and a sitting President begins, but the twist came quickly as the Commander in Chief began firing away
“You know Zach, it’s no problem. When I heard that people actually watch this show I was actually pretty surprised.” The show, Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis, is an internet comedy series for the video website Funny or Die.
[Click link below for website to view full interview]
Celebrity interviews are conducted with him and his guests sitting between two potted ferns, ala cheesy public access cable programs. Obama kindly got his interlocutor out of a jam when Galifianakis asked “what should we do about North Ikea,” but the presidential graciousness was not returned.
“What’s it like to be the last black President,” the Greek-American comedian asked. In real life, he is no political slouch, and not insensitive to prejudice. His uncle Nick Galifianakis served as the Democratic U.S. Congressman from North Carolina between 1967 and 1973 and is believed to have lost a close race for the U.S. Senate race to Jesse Helms when the later turned around losing poll numbers against the son of immigrants with an ad that declared: “Jesse Helms: He’s One of Us.”
“Seriously?” the President responded. “What’s it like to be the last time you ever talk to a President?”
When the comedian – also a veteran actor – embarrassingly mumbled, “It must kind of stink that you can’t run a third time,” Obama said he thought it was a good idea. Running a third time “would be like doing a third Hangover movie. It didn’t really work out very well, did it?”
As Zach scowled, Obama launched into a critique the show and praise for rival actors, which prompted nasty talk about the President’s country of origin and birth certificates.
“Where’s your birth certificate,” Obama asked, and the talk turned even testier. After being called a nerd, the President asked “So you think a woman like Michelle would marry a nerd? Why don’t you ask her whether she thinks I’m a nerd?”
“Could I,” Galifianakis asked sheepishly. “No. I’m not going to let her near you,” Obama said.
What followed was a tongue-in-cheek but serious discussion of the affordable care act and its early problems. Obama shook off Galifiniakis’ snarkiness by saying “healthcare.gov works great now and millions of Americans have already gotten health care plans and urged uninsured young Americans to obtain coverage by March 31.”
The interview ended with fatherly advice from Obama for Galifianakis to have a medical condition checked out – and an unpleasant surprise for the president.