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To Sell Health Care To Young People, Obama Steps 'Between Two Ferns'

Mar 11, 2014
Originally published on March 11, 2014 6:51 pm

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Long-time fans of the comedy website, "Funny or Die," know this already. But for the rest of you, this is the theme song of "Between Two Ferns." The Web series mimics a low-budget, cable-access interview program.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

It's the brainchild of actor and comedian Zach Galifinakis. He plays an unprepared host who fumbles through awkward conversations with celebrities. But the guest of his latest episode, released today, was a little different.

(SOUNDBITE OF SHOW, "BETWEEN TWO FERNS")

ZACH GALIFINAKIS: My guest today is Barack Obama, President Barack Obama.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Good to be with you, Zach.

GALIFINAKIS: The first question: In 2013, you pardoned the turkey. What do you have planned for 2014?

SIEGEL: Yes, the host of "Between Two Ferns" is an imbecile, a very rude one.

(SOUNDBITE OF SHOW, "BETWEEN TWO FERNS")

GALIFINAKIS: Do you send Ambassador Rodman to North Korean on your behalf? I read somewhere that you'll be sending Hulk Hogan to Syria, or is that more of a job for Tonya Harding?

OBAMA: Zach, he's not our ambassador.

GALIFINAKIS: What should we do North IKEA?

BLOCK: But President Obama wasn't there to talk about North IKEA or other foreign policy questions for that matter.

SIEGEL: The president agreed to be a guest on "Between Two Ferns" to pitch Obamacare. His appearance on the online program is the latest attempt to reach a younger audience.

(SOUNDBITE OF SHOW, "BETWEEN TWO FERNS")

OBAMA: Have you heard of the Affordable Care Act?

GALIFINAKIS: Oh, yeah. I heard about that. That's the thing that doesn't work. Why would you get the guy that created the Zune to make your website?

OBAMA: HealthCare.gov works great now.

BLOCK: And the president kept pitching, but it came at a price.

(SOUNDBITE OF SHOW, "BETWEEN TWO FERNS")

OBAMA: The truth is is that they can get coverage all for what it costs to pay your cell phone bill.

GALIFINAKIS: Is this what they mean by drones?

BLOCK: The segment is six and a half minutes long, and the president came ready to play, quickly trading barbs with Zach Galifinakis.

(SOUNDBITE OF SHOW, "BETWEEN TWO FERNS")

GALIFINAKIS: I have to know, what is it like to the last black president?

OBAMA: Seriously? What's it like for this to be the last time you ever talk to a president?

GALIFINAKIS: It must kind of stink though that you can't run, you know, three times, you know?

OBAMA: Actually, I think it's a good idea. You know, if I ran a third time, it would be sort of like doing a third "Hangover" movie. Didn't really work out very well, did it?

SIEGEL: But whether it's your brand of humor or not, it seems that the stunt is paying off. It's already gotten more than 5 million views.

BLOCK: And the White House says the website "Funny or Die," which hosts the comedy show, was the number one source of referrals for people clicking over to the Affordable Care website this morning. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.