Culture House Daily

Isn’t Obama’s Two Ferns interview just a bit crap?

12 March 2014

8:28 AM

12 March 2014

8:28 AM

Have you seen Barack Obama’s appearance on the satirical interview show Between Two Ferns? What did you think? According to some pundits, it is amazingly funny. Obama is the ‘best Between Two Ferns guest ever’, says Oliver Franklin at GQ. I must be missing something, because I found it painful and somewhat depressing. There a couple of quite good moments, granted – such as when Obama is busy plugging Affordable Healthcare and the host, Zach Galifianakis, says ‘Is this what they mean by drones?’ – but the rest is just a bit crap.

It is weirdly off, too. At times Obama, trying to be dead pan, just seems to miss the point, and in some moments it looks as if he is having a sense of humour failure. I do get that the key to Two Ferns is that it is awkward. The show is all about Galifianakis being a terrible interviewer. But this one jars in an unfunny way. One ends up wondering how well Obama gets the joke.


The pompous reaction to such obvious popularity-courting from a sitting president is to say that it is unworthy of his office. I’m more inclined to agree with the journalists Ross Douthat and Sonny Bunch, however, who say that what the latest Between Two Ferns really diminishes is the dignity of American comedy.

Americans are very funny. They make superb comedies and send themselves up far more effectively than we Brits do. Galifianakis is regularly hilarious. So are Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. Hell, Obama is usually pretty good at delivering punchlines. But too often now American comics confuse being witty with being a liberal Democrat; and all these President Obama skits are starting to get a little pathetic. Did everyone catch the recent one of Obama and Vice President Joe Biden running around the Oval Office? Yikes.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.

Show comments
  • BaraccoBarner

    It does demonstrate that comedy is hard to do. The best comedians make it look easy, hence Barraco looks rubbish in comparison.

  • Baron

    If the two were to change jobs, would it help or hinder the Republic? Baron leans towards neither, but reckons if it were to happen the Americans would laugh more, weep less.

  • Ken

    I found it funny. Shoot me.

  • zanzamander

    This was all scripted. Pay attention to Obama’s diction and eyes, there is no doubt in my mind that he was reading it off on an autocue, which I suspect was placed behind Galifianakis.

    And not just the American, but our pathetic lot of comics here also confuse being witty with being a lefty liberal Democrat. In fact it has become so easy and predictible, all you have to do is mention Bush (in US) and Thatcher (here) and you’ll have them rolling on the floor.

    The fact of the matter is, the media (including dare I say this one) is controlled by lefty Islamohugging liberals. Witness the total derision with which the recent CPAC convention was universally greeted by the US media.

    Do not believe anything in the media – it is nearly always (99.99%) of the time manipulated by the lefties.

  • Hexhamgeezer

    Bracken Bad