No joke: Obama interviewed by Zach Galifianakis
Updated: 2014-03-11 11:31:16
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Obama took his message of health care for all to a cult internet comedy show, in an effort to get young people to sign up for Obamacare.
He appeared alongside Zach Galifianakis in the comedian and actor's mock talk-show called "Between Two Ferns." The interview with the President was recorded last month and posted Tuesday morning on the popular website "Funny or Die."
The six and a half minute wide ranging interview touched on pardoning Thanksgiving turkeys, to the president's ambassadorial picks, and health care. Galifianakis has become notorious for trying to make his guests on "Between Two Ferns" feel uncomfortable. But Obama appeared to hold his own, giving as good as he got.
Some of the bit was ad-libbed and some of it was scripted, according to a White House official. They had to stop the interview at points because the President would break out in laughter, the official added.
White House officials knew some of the questions were going to be "edgy," but the President was game for it. An official said Galifianakis expressed some concern about his material (we'll let you guess which parts), but officials assured the comedian that Obama would be just fine, they said.
Galifianakis: So how does this work? Do you send Ambassador Rodman to North Korea on your behalf? I read somewhere that you'd be sending Hulk Hogan to Syria, or is that more of a job for Tonya Harding.
Obama: Zach - he's not our ambassador.
Galifianakis: What's it like to be the last black president?
Obama: Seriously, what's it like for this to be the last time you ever talk to a president?
You know what I would do if I were president, Mr. President, I would make same-sex divorce illegal. Then see how bad they want it.
Obama: I think that's why you're not president, and that's a good thing.
Galifianakis: So do you go to any websites that are dot-coms, or dot-nets, or do you mainly just stick with dot-govs?
Obama: No actually we go to dot-govs, have you heard of Healthcare.gov?
Galifianakis: Oh here we go, okay let's get this out of the way, what did you come here to plug?
Obama: Well first of all I think it's fair to say I wouldn't be with you here today if I didn't have something to plug.
Have you heard about the Affordable Care Act?
Galifianakis: Oh yeah, I've heard about that. That's the thing that doesn't work? Why would you get the guy who created the Zune to make your website?
Obama: Healthcare.gov works great now. And millions of Americans have already gotten health insurance plans and what we want is for people to know that you can get affordable health care. And most young Americans, right now they're not covered. And the truth is that they can get coverage all for what it costs you to pay your cellphone bill.
Galifianakis: I don't have a phone, I'm off the grid. I don't want you people reading my texts, you know what I mean?
Obama: First of all Zac, no one is interested in your texts.
Undaunted, Obama brings the conversation back to Obamacare, and adds, "But second of all you can do it in person, and the law means that insurers can't discriminate against you if you have a preexisting condition any more."
Galifianakis then rolls up his sleeve and shows the President an ailment on his arm, that Obama says is "disgusting" And tells him he needs to get it checked right away. He then makes one more plug for Obamacare saying, "Zac you need to get that checked right away. You need to get on Healthcare.gov because that's one of the most disgusting things I've ever seen.'
Galifianakis retorts, "Is your plug finally over?"
"I suppose so." Says the President.
At the end of the sketch, Obama pushes a button on a table between them, and a black curtain behind them falls to the ground to reveal that Galifianakis had actually been taping the show in the Diplomatic Room at the White House. Galifianakis thanks the President for the interview and then adds, "Thanks for letting me shoot my show here all these years."
Obama asks, "Who gave you permission to do that?" Galifianakis responds, "Bush."
To say that "Between Two Ferns" is an unusual outlet for a president is an understatement. The show has a reputation for getting raunchy, and being very unscripted.
For example, when Justin Bieber appeared on set, Galifianakis told him, "Your dirty young punk attitude is not gonna work in this interview."
The comedian then called Bieber out for urinating in public, and then took off his belt and started whipping Bieber, telling him he didn't really think Bieber's mother would mind.
Galifianakis also made waves when he asked actress Natalie Portman for her phone number, and whether she shaved her private parts.