In case you haven't already succumbed to the avalanche of tweets about it - President Barack Obama appeared today on "Between Two Ferns" - a parody of celebrity interview shows hosted by comedian Zach Galifianakis. The "interview" - which appears below - was done two weeks ago. It was posted online today.
Galifianakis, probably most known for his roles in the Hangover movies, has interviewed celebrities such as Charlize Theron and Justin Bieber on the show. (Galifianakis also is the nephew of Nick Galifianakis, a longtime N.C. congressman who gave Sen. Jesse Helms a decent race for the U.S. Senate in 1972.) Some of the "Between the Ferns" segments are a little off-color, but not this one. It is, however, funny. It's suitable for work. And it gives the president another platform, albeit an odd one, to plug his Affordable Care Act to the young folks he needs to sign up.
But is the video, well, presidential?
New York Times writer Michael Shear isn't sure, noting today that "there appears to be no place that Mr. Obama is unwilling to go" in his search for young people. That includes the Jimmy Fallon show, an interview with Charles Barkley, and even Zillow.com, where the president appeared for an interview about housing. Says Mike McCurry, former press secretary for President Bill Clinton. "We have to worry about the dignity of the presidency."
Clinton, of course, famously answered the "boxers or briefs" question on MTV in 1994.
To be sure, everyone will have his or her own threshold on the dignity question - and that line will likely be influenced by how you feel otherwise about Obama. Those who support the president will appreciate the reminder of how he can be a smart, cool guy. Those who don't might at least laugh when Galifianakis asks if Obama plans to have his presidential library built in Hawaii or "his home country of Kenya."
We think the interview is harmless. Plus, it's doing what Obama hoped - the No. 1 source of referrals right now to HealthCare.gov is the host of Between Two Ferns, FunnyorDie.com.
Enjoy, if you can.
Peter St. Onge