How Zach Galifianakis Scored the Legendary Interview of a Lifetime With President Obama
Yesterday the hippest president in history broke down pop culture barriers when he appeared on Funny or Die’s “Between Two Ferns” with Zach Galifianakis. The uncomfortably hilarious web series features Galifianakis probing his guests with awkward comments, which typically produce hysterical results. The series feels like the last place for the Leader of the Free World to appear, as the series features Galifianakis’ trademark crass brand of humor (he once asked Natalie Portman if she “shaved her V for vagina”). This epic showdown between Galifianakis, who apparently “smells like Doritos,” and President Obama, who apparently is a “nerd,” can be credited to executive producer Mike Farah.
Last year, after attending a meeting with White House officials on how to effectively publicize the Affordable Care Act, Farah pitched the idea to Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to President Obama. Apparently, Funny or Die created a “great working relationship” with the White House through the creation of ongoing satirical videos aimed at healthcare reform. Farah claims that the collaboration “came together pretty quickly” and that both parties sought to find a respectable balance in the humor. This balance was extremely successful. The video remains hilarious without the use of Galifianakis’ more controversial humor.
This video marks a landmark publicity tactic, never before undertaken by a sitting president. However, like any action the President takes, he received his fair share of criticism. Fox & Friends lambasted the interview as “so inappropriate” and “tragic.” In fact, at yesterday’s briefing, Press Secretary Jay Carney had to defend the video against attacks that it “demeaned the dignity of the White House.” Carney defended the video claiming, “I think we made the right call,” and “gone are the days when your broadcasts or your broadcasts or yours can reach everybody we need to reach.” Regardless, this seemingly insane maneuver was an almost instant success.
In a matter of hours, the video became the number one driver of traffic to Healthcare.gov. Furthermore, as of yesterday afternoon the video had exceeded 6 million views. Dan Pfeiffer, Senior Strategy and Communications Advisor to the President, claimed that, “this is essentially an extension of the code we have been trying to crack for seven years now.” It appears that this hilarious gamble may have paid off for the Obama administration, and further solidified President Obama’s place as one of the coolest presidents in history.
Check out the video below.