Via Andrew Sullivan, I see that President Obama has taped a Between Two Ferns segment with comedian Zach Galifianakis to promote Obamacare. Time’s James Poniewozik comments:
It’s a specific, unusually edgy kind of comedy for any politician, much less a sitting President–a cringe-humor show whose whole idea is playing off staged discomfort with the guest. Obama trades insults, he stews at the clueless slights (will he build his Presidential library “in Hawaii or your home country of Kenya”?), he needles Galiafinakis about his handsome Hangover co-star Bradley Cooper. (“He kind of carried that movie, didn’t he?”)
It’s the tone of the comedy as much as the online medium that really targets the young audience Obama is pitching to here. There’s a cringe-humor generation gap; if you’re over a certain age, or simply haven’t watched much of a certain kind of contemporary comedy, you’ll probably watch it thinking that the segment is bombing and Obama is getting legitimately angry. But it’s a good fit for Obama’s sense of humor, which is a little dry and a little cutting–in ways that don’t always play in rooms when there are no ferns present.
This doesn’t seem quite right to me. I’m in my fifties, and I thought it was pretty funny. Maybe you have to be even older not to get it? Post-SNL, perhaps? I’m not sure. Go ahead and watch it here and let’s do a reader poll. Rate it from 1 to 5 stars and be sure to include your age.