Entertainment & Arts

President Obama appears on Between Two Ferns chat show

Barack Obama and Zack Galifianakis on Between Two Ferns Image copyright Funny Or Die
Image caption President Obama's interview took place in Between Two Ferns very basic studio

US President Barack Obama has followed in the footsteps of Justin Bieber and Bradley Cooper, after being interviewed by comedian Zach Galifianakis for his spoof chat show Between Two Ferns.

Mr Obama joined The Hangover star in a bid to encourage young people to sign up for health insurance.

However, he was asked about sending "ambassador Dennis Rodman" to North Korea and outlawing "same-sex divorce".

The president was also billed on-screen as a "community organiser".

Streamed on the Funny or Die website, the notoriously awkward chat show takes place on a sparse set, decorated with two fern plants.

Mr Obama started on the offensive, declaring: "When I heard that people actually watch this show, I was actually pretty surprised."

"What is it like to be the last black president?" retorted Galifianakis.

"What's it like for this to be the last time you ever talk to a president?" Mr Obama replied.

"It must kind of stink, though, that you can't run three times?" the comedian continued.

Mr Obama replied: "If I ran a third time it would be like doing a third Hangover movie. It didn't really work out very well, did it?"

He then praised Galifianakis' previous interviews, especially one featuring his Hangover co-star Bradley Cooper, which ended with the pair slapping each other.

"That was a great show. He probably carried that movie didn't he?" said Mr Obama.

Image copyright Funny Or Die
Image caption After President Obama pressed the panic button it was revealed the pair had been chatting in a room that appeared to be in The White House

The Between Two Ferns series, which began in 2008, has become a cult hit online.

A typical recent video, which featured Galifianakis whipping singer Bieber with a belt for his bad behaviour, was watched by 16 million people.

The comedian's most memorable questions have included:

  • To President Obama: "Is it going to be hard in two years when you are no longer President and people stop letting you win at basketball?"
  • To Justin Bieber: "You've had three hairstyles. What's next for your career?"
  • To James Franco: "Of all the art projects you've done, which one has made people roll their eyes the hardest?"
  • To Natalie Portman: "You're an accomplished actress, you've graduated from Harvard, you've done some great international charity work. What is your phone number?"

Galifianakis and Mr Obama sparred for three-and-a-half minutes before the president revealed his real motive for appearing on the show, asking "Have you heard of healthcare.gov?".

The comedian replied under his breath "here we go", before adding: "OK, let's get this out of the way, what did you come here to plug?"

Mr Obama went on to explain why he felt it was important for young people to sign up for health insurance in the US, before the deadline on 31 March.

The interview ended with President Obama hitting a panic button, which prompted the standard black set to drop to the ground and reveal a room that appeared to be in The White House.

"Thanks for letting me shoot my show here all these years," said Galifianakis, claiming former President George Bush had given him clearance to film in the Diplomatic Room.

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