“Between Two Ferns,” hosted by comedian Zach Galifianakis, is one of the most successful skits on Will Ferrell’s “Funny or Die” Internet Web series. The show is no stranger to high-profile guest appearances, but the most recent appearance is perhaps the biggest that “Funny or Die” will ever see. It wasn’t an actor or musician — it was President Barack Obama.
Anyone who has seen “Between Two Ferns” knows that it doesn’t take itself too seriously. Hosted by Galifianakis (who plays himself), the short sketch is almost entirely made up of insults and self-deprecating jokes, all of which are presented in as dry a way as possible. While “Between Two Ferns” is usually for entertainment purposes only, President Obama’s appearance had an agenda. There are certainly plenty of funny moments during the sketch, but the real reason for the president’s appearance was to plug the Affordable Healthcare Act.
Appealing to America’s Youth
It’s no secret that the president’s healthcare reform has had plenty of detractors and indeed a rather difficult time getting off the ground. In the sketch, Galifianakis even jokes about how it doesn’t work. President Obama is quick to come back with a host of reasons why things are actually on track, though, also making a point to list reasons why people should be signing up.
It may seem a strange show for Obama to go on in order to plug healthcare reform, but it makes perfect sense if you think about it. Young Americans are a large subset of individuals who have been neglecting signing up for healthcare. The president even takes a moment to talk about how young people often feel they’re invincible (which Galifianakis turns around into “invisible”), stressing the fact that everyone needs healthcare coverage, no matter what their age. Given the fact that “Between Two Ferns” is largely viewed by a younger audience, it should come as no surprise why the president chose to take this route.
A Potential Disconnect
After you consider the details regarding why Obama chose to use “Between Two Ferns” as a vehicle for his healthcare reform PR campaign, there’s very little question as to whether or not it was a good idea. For some, however, this video will no doubt create a disconnect.
It’s important to take into consideration the myriad of individuals who not only disagree with healthcare reform, but aren’t exactly fans of the president to begin with. There is already a major backlash against the president’s appearance on a comedy show, with many people stating that he’s wasting time and “not working the way a president should.”
Backlash is to be expected, though, especially when one considers how much of an effect healthcare reform is having on the amount of money people need to spend each year for insurance. For those who are working for a small business, for example, it’s not unlikely that coverage under Obamacare will actually cost more than it would have under their employer’s plan. These individuals will likely be annoyed by President Obama’s PR campaign, especially considering how much of a left-field move this is.
No matter where one stands on Obamacare, the president’s appearance on “Between Two Ferns” is unlike anything that has ever happened before. If it turns even a few heads (which it already has), the president will have succeeded in getting more people to sign up for health insurance.