Jesse David Fox: Behind The Scenes Of Obama’s ‘Between Two Ferns’

Obama didn’t just do “Between Two Ferns,” he did “Between Two Ferns.” He took host Zach Galifianakis’s harsh burns and hit back with even harsher ones — “If I ran a third time, it’d be sort of like doing a third Hangover movie. Didn’t really work out very well, did it?” — all in the name of promoting the Affordable Care Act. To find out exactly how it happened and what it was like to work with the Commander-in-Chief, we spoke with Scott Aukerman, host of IFC’s Comedy Bang! Bang! and executive producer and director of “Between Two Ferns.” He talks about how the White House let them get away with basically everything, how the president was easier to work with than some celebrities, and what it was like to give notes to the most powerful man on earth.

You said the idea had been floated before. Was the president familiar with the videos?
I can’t really speculate as to whether he is a fan of the videos or has seen them at all. Because every time we do one of these, we’re told the person is a fan of it and then you find out that the person has never seen it before. We were told that he took a look at the videos, but the most important thing to me is whoever’s idea it was — whether it was someone on his team or he himself — the fact that they would do it and the fact that they would keep it such a pure experience was really kind of amazing. I mean, they were easier to work with than some people we’ve had on the show before who should have been easy to work with. [Laughs.] So, it was really not only cool like, “Oh, it was cool we did it,” but it was actually a really good artistic experience.

President Obama’s Between Two Ferns Appearance Here


Were there certain things that you had to go back and forth on or cut out?
Zach and I both at a certain point in the process were looking at each other going, “I can’t believe they’re letting us do this,” so pretty much the whole thing — we definitely couldn’t believe it. We kept expecting resistance, but there wasn’t any. It was really an incredible situation. We kept expecting them to say “No, no, no, you can’t have that joke,” or “No, no, no, you can’t be funny, it has to all be about the Affordable Care Act,” but to their credit they really wanted it to be what it was and got out of our way.

Did he pitch jokes?
I don’t think the president has to pitch jokes, he just says jokes and we enjoy them.

Do you remember one thing specifically that you enjoyed? 
I just loved how he was going for the jugular with Zach regarding Bradley Cooper. I could tell the president was really enjoying that, and that’s obviously a funny sore spot for Zach. I really enjoyed that exchange.



You directed it. Did it ever feel normal? What was it like to give the president notes? 
It was definitely something I was very concerned about. I remember asking someone, “Am I allowed to speak to the president?” And they said, “What do you mean?” And I said, “Well, you know, I’m the director, am I allowed to direct the video?” They said, “Of course!” It was strangely collaborative. It wasn’t that we went in there and did our regular process and they worked with us on it. I think people in Hollywood are so used to getting their own way with how they’re treated in interviews that they’re more difficult than people at the White House, who are just excited to be in there.

Now that the video is out there, have you read any comments from conservatives saying it demeans the presidency?
I’ve seen some tweets about that kind of stuff. Like someone wrote like, “How does the president have time to do this?” And it’s like, how does anyone have time to do anything? The great part about it is, this president knows how to reach young people in a way that no other president has, and it’s very important that he reach young people with this issue. This is so much better and will attract so much more attention than him going on a Sunday morning show and talking about this issue when most people I know of this generation aren’t even up that early on a Sunday morning. The outrage about it is from a different generation, and the younger people really get it.

More here




Pete Souza

130 Responses to “Comedian-In-Chief”

  1. 1 MightyPamela
    March 12, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    • 2 MightyPamela
      March 12, 2014 at 1:29 pm

      Wha???? Now there is a Like This button?? Whoa, I’d better keep up!

      • 3 vcprezofan2
        March 12, 2014 at 1:31 pm

        Hi, old girl! How’s life?

      • 4 vcprezofan2
        March 12, 2014 at 1:32 pm

        Oh dear! Who’s adding ‘like this’ to every comment?

        • 5 MightyPamela
          March 12, 2014 at 1:37 pm

          Life is good, I can see clearly now, my windows are clean… la La la! Am on my way to the bank and to Trader Joe’s, so am pleased to have nailed FIRST, now I can be happy!! 😆 (actually, I am usually pretty happy, especially for having POTUS and FLOTUS, and TOD in my life!) Be back in a while! Y’all have fun without me, y’hear?? 😆

          • 6 vcprezofan2
            March 12, 2014 at 1:42 pm

            Have yourself a good day!
            I’m sitting here looking through the window at the snow, and in truth, not minding that my windows are not as clean as they should be. The snowfall and the obvious windy weather are a blur that I gladly turn my back on as I’m not going anywhere today.

            • 7 MightyPamela
              March 12, 2014 at 1:47 pm

              As I have to leave, I will refrain from reporting our weather. But will say the frost has finally left the rooftops I can see out my Oh-So-Sparkly windows! 😉

    • 12 jacquelineoboomer
      March 12, 2014 at 1:42 pm

      Congrats, MP!

    • 13 57andfemale
      March 12, 2014 at 1:44 pm

      I ‘like’ you all the time. do I have to push the little blue button to prove my devotion to you, MP?

      • 14 MightyPamela
        March 12, 2014 at 1:51 pm

        Maybe, 57, but I am innocent of this button appearing, best to ask a BT, perhaps even our brilliant NW, in whose post this phenomenon is first appearing! Thanks for ‘liking’ me, the feeling is totally mutual! ♥

        • 15 57andfemale
          March 12, 2014 at 1:56 pm

          It’s just like ‘liking’ a comment on Facebook. it’s a way of agreeing with the comment without being long-winded about it.

          I’m sure many of the TOD family will be pleased to see less verbiage from me.

          • March 12, 2014 at 2:00 pm

            nawwwww i like your verbiage…smilin

          • 17 MightyPamela
            March 12, 2014 at 2:03 pm

            Not I, I love verbiage!! And I love you! I SOOOOO need to leave. It must be that I can finally see out the windows (they were very dirty), and am so captivated by the view I am unable to ACTUALLY GO OUT AND BE IN THE VIEW. Reality Check needed badly!

            • 18 57andfemale
              March 12, 2014 at 2:51 pm

              go out and enjoy, MP. Maybe in a few days, Chicago sidewalks will be passable enough for me to get out as well. So, enjoy the outdoors for both of us.

      • 19 jackiegrumbacher
        March 12, 2014 at 2:50 pm

        57, I’ve never seen that blue star before. Is it new or has it been here all the time and just didn’t show up for me?

        • 20 57andfemale
          March 12, 2014 at 2:52 pm

          It’s shown up a few times before and then disappeared. It’s a new thing today, that’s for sure. And it’s been around longer than it has in the past.

    • 21 No Child Left Behind
      March 12, 2014 at 2:09 pm

      Congrats, MightyPamela!

  2. 22 GGail
    March 12, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    I love this paragraph!

    The exchanges, though hitting some clearly prearranged points, feel ad lib; the show is usually improvised. (Interestingly, Sonny Bunch, posting in the conservative Washington Free Beacon, criticized Obama for not understanding “the point of the show — the guest is not supposed to get in good zingers; he’s supposed to be taken down a peg.” In fact, Galifianakis, playing an idiot, is usually the one who looks bad.)


    • 23 MightyPamela
      March 12, 2014 at 1:42 pm

      Sounds like Mr. SonnyBunch missed the entire thing?? Too bad his ODS got in the way of bringing him a good belly laugh – he sounds as if he needs one! (of course I have no clue who he is, or who he thinks he’s supposed to be, and I don’t give a flying eff anyway!) 🙂

      • 24 GGail
        March 12, 2014 at 1:48 pm

        MP, ain’t that the truth! I imagine poor SonnyBunch, stomping his foot and saying “that’s not how it’s suppose to go”!!!

        • 25 MightyPamela
          March 12, 2014 at 1:53 pm

          He might as well go bash his head against a wall for real now, instead of doing it with his words! Dumb dumb.

        • 26 vcprezofan2
          March 12, 2014 at 2:10 pm

          Teeheehee! I clicked your ‘like’ star to see who liked your comment and it added me right in. That shows me not to snoop. 😛

  3. 27 vcprezofan2
    March 12, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    Okay, let’s try a ‘fresh’ comment and see if ‘Like this’ is going to follow me. /grump/ I don’t like to be followed.

    • 28 vcprezofan2
      March 12, 2014 at 1:39 pm

      Sigh, I guess WordP is playing around again! Wish they wouldn’t play with my comments. Yo, WordP, If you’re going to add ‘like this’ at least do so in such a way that we can CHOOSE it when the comments merit it.. 🙄

  4. 35 Roberta in MN
    March 12, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    That was freaking hilarious. Thanks for re-posting. Watched it twice last night. The look on the Zach’s face was priceless.

  5. 36 Allison
    March 12, 2014 at 1:41 pm

    • 37 MightyPamela
      March 12, 2014 at 1:45 pm

      Abuse is abuse. Good for her, and why should she change the truth after everything they put her through. It’s high time Clarence is reminded of his evility. (made up a new word) I really gotta get outta here… VC – just ignore the Like This feature. It’s easy. Bye.

      • 38 jackiegrumbacher
        March 12, 2014 at 2:52 pm

        MP, nobody with any sense and certainly no woman doubted Anita Hill’s story. She had everything to lose and nothing to gain by coming forward. If the Senate goons had truly listened to her, we would not have the dead weight that is Clarence Thomas taking up space on the Supreme Court today.

  6. March 12, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    So I think I was correct about PBO apparently wanting to declassify:

  7. 41 jacquelineoboomer
    March 12, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    Dear Snow,

    No, thanks. I’ve had enough.

    Off I go to listen to pretty music! This’ll melt ya!

  8. March 12, 2014 at 1:54 pm

  9. 47 vcprezofan2
    March 12, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    It seems like a lot of TODers decided to take the day/week off. It has been so quiet since I signed on earlier this morning that I’ve almost been tempted to go do my chores, or clear away some old mail …..almost.

    • 48 57andfemale
      March 12, 2014 at 2:00 pm

      How are you doing today, vc?

      • 49 vcprezofan2
        March 12, 2014 at 2:06 pm

        I was thinking of you earlier when I awoke to falling snow and a driveway that’s no longer snow-free. Of course, I immediately scratched my night-time plan to go to the car wash. Since Monday and yesterday were nice and dry and the car is very dusty, I really wasn’t thinking your weather prediction would hit me – at least not so early. Ah, well.

        How are you faring today?

        • 50 57andfemale
          March 12, 2014 at 2:44 pm

          Coping. At least it will start melting tomorrow. The side streets and alleys are literally solid ice rinks. Not looking forward to going home tonight.

          Aren’t we strong enough yet?

        • 51 57andfemale
          March 12, 2014 at 2:47 pm

          There was a small rumble of ‘thunder-snow’ last night. I wondered if it was a truck, and then my little yorkie Pearl was cowering.

          Seriously? Her terror of thunder is bad enough all spring and summer – does it have to come with snow, too?

          • 52 vcprezofan2
            March 12, 2014 at 3:47 pm

            Poor Pearl. It will soon be better and brighter, 57F, because it has to! That’s my philosophy for right now.

            • 53 57andfemale
              March 12, 2014 at 3:50 pm

              I don’t even know where her thundershirt is because I don’t expect to need it when it’s snowing! I’m astounded that she can always tell it’s thunder even when I’m not sure or don’t even hear it.

              • 54 vcprezofan2
                March 12, 2014 at 3:51 pm

                A thundershirt? What does it do?

                • 55 57andfemale
                  March 12, 2014 at 4:13 pm

                  It seems like a gimmick but I know for a fact that it takes away about 50% of her anxiety: It’s a stretchy fleece-like thing that wraps the dog from around their necks and over their body. You wrap it kind of tight (it has a lot of stretch), and it’s like a ‘hug’ only it’s not a ‘hug’ which actually rewards the fear. Especially if I get it on her before the first rumble of thunder, it helps a lot. At least she won’t cower in complete terror under the furniture.

                  You can use the thundershirt in any anxiety situation: car rides, going to the vet, fireworks (she hates those too). It doesn’t work for every dog or every situation, but it helps Pearl and I know other people who have had success with it.

                  I also got one for Nickelby, who for some reason is terrified of the sound of the oven door. It helps him a lot. If I remember to get it on him before I use the oven, sometimes he won’t even notice or at the very least it minimizes the anxiety a great deal.

                  The downside of adopting adult dogs – God knows what they’ve been through. Anyway, I suggest trying the thundershirt for dogs who have anxiety issues – it’s worth a try.

    • 56 GGail
      March 12, 2014 at 2:01 pm

      VC, we’re working!

    • 59 jackiegrumbacher
      March 12, 2014 at 2:55 pm

      VC, for some reason the time change on Sunday completely disrupted by sleep patterns and I’ve been tired all week. I hate that the mornings are darker and so I think it’s early than it is and oversleep, which always sets me off in a cranky direction for the rest of the day.

      • 60 vcprezofan2
        March 12, 2014 at 3:46 pm

        ‘…oversleep, which always sets me off in a cranky direction for the rest of the day.’

        Sorry JackieG, but this made me smile.

        I understand about the dark, though. I’m a dark/light person myself, but am also a light sleeper. Once my offspring gets up to get ready and shuts the bathroom door, dark or not I wake up, so I can’t blame DST for *my* crankiness.

  10. 61 MightyPamela
    March 12, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    Dudette – I see the name of Jaimie Alexander 1984, also has a b’day on this day. I confess I do not know who Jaimie Alexander is.

    • 62 vcprezofan2
      March 12, 2014 at 2:16 pm

      O-O-O, you mentioned the magic word! 1 week and 3 days to go. 😀

      • 63 GGail
        March 12, 2014 at 2:18 pm

        vc, for your birthday, I’ve ordered sunshine and green grass….to be delivered…

        • 64 vcprezofan2
          March 12, 2014 at 2:22 pm

          Well now, can we negotiate? A present is meant to be enjoyed, isn’t it? See, green grass will mean that I’ll have to be cutting the lawn very soon, and I’m not mentally ready for that yet. (Actually you can delete the ‘yet’.) 😉

          • 65 GGail
            March 12, 2014 at 2:26 pm

            Picky, picky, picky, It’s a combined package – it’s all or nuttin’ honey

            Now be quick about it….the truck is ready to pull out of Cali

            • 66 vcprezofan2
              March 12, 2014 at 2:33 pm

              I think I’ll pass for now. Packaged deals often have pieces I can do without, but thanks anyway.

    • 67 Dudette
      March 12, 2014 at 9:07 pm

      Sorry. No idea who that is.

  11. 69 sherijr
    March 12, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    I think a lot of people didn’t know how completely humorous our President is.. he is a natural and has been making me (dare I say, Us) laugh for several years now. He’s been my favorite comedienne for quite a while- other than my 3 sons.. who crack me up all the time too.

    • 70 Nena20409
      March 12, 2014 at 2:12 pm

      Hmm? They have Not watched the WHCD in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013?

      How about the Dinner NYC thing……that they have every 4 yrs? POTUS was funny and his appearances with Jay Leno and David Letterman. All those went Viral.

      • 71 sherijr
        March 12, 2014 at 2:35 pm

        I know, because like you, I’ve watched these things.. because I’m all things President Obama. I’m just not so sure everyone else watches the WHCD – I mean until President Obama- I’d never even heard of that.

    • March 12, 2014 at 2:25 pm

      Well…the Washington Media…alawys tries to sell PBO as aloof…out of touch…does not connect….etc….

      • 73 sherijr
        March 12, 2014 at 2:35 pm

        eggzackly pf, they sure have tried to make that reality.. I think a whole lotta folks are finding they’ve been lied to.

  12. 74 sherijr
    March 12, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    oh wowzer Chips, theres a like button 🙂 but I like everything.. what to do what to do… !

  13. 75 jacquelineoboomer
    March 12, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    Thanks to prettyfoot58, I see if we “Like this,” the writer gets an email and a notification here. The email directs the writer: “You might want to go see what they’re up to! Perhaps you will like their blog as much as they liked your comment!”

    So, we don’t have to hang onto one blade of grass, to keep from falling off the face of the Earth, if somebody likes a comment.

    Back to my music! Love you guys!

    • 76 jacquelineoboomer
      March 12, 2014 at 2:06 pm

      And you can cancel the emails about it, if preferred, of course.

      This time, I’m really logging off for a bit!

  14. 77 yardarm756
    March 12, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    Gather ‘round mates and I’ll tell you a tale
    ‘bout Cap’n Obama and the Right wing whale
    While steering the ship to a far land fair
    The whale sounds ‘round the vessel fouling the air:

  15. March 12, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    My son completely concurs – he brought the show to my attention (I had already read about it) and he really enjoyed the way PBO “got” the show completely and gave as good as he got. It’s easy to say other presidents will need to do stuff like this, but how many will be able to do it with the style and panache of Barack Obama??

    • 79 MightyPamela
      March 12, 2014 at 6:33 pm

      Zero. Zip. Nada. NO ONE will ever be of the character to bring what PBO brings ~ to everything he says, does, thinks and believes. Well, IMHO. 😉

  16. 80 Allison
    March 12, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    What took her so long…

    • 81 Nena20409
      March 12, 2014 at 2:10 pm

      Hmm? I wonder what convinced her? That the GOP controlled legislature would not make special provisions for her?

    • 82 MightyPamela
      March 12, 2014 at 2:18 pm

      Don’t let the doorknob hitcha on the way out…is AZ weeping yet?

    • 83 GGail
      March 12, 2014 at 2:29 pm

      DF must be dancing in the streets of AZ!

      • 84 desertflower
        March 12, 2014 at 2:56 pm

        We are all in sync here:) MP’s comment, too….I hadn’t seen either one when I posted mine…..Where’s LL? Bartender, we be celebratin’ in AZ!!

    • 85 desertflower
      March 12, 2014 at 2:54 pm

      YAHOOOOOO!!!! Almost choked on my chicken, but YEA!!!! Bye, Jan:) Don’t let the door hit you on the way out! There should be partying in the streets…

      • 86 jackiegrumbacher
        March 12, 2014 at 3:01 pm

        So, Df, when is this “term” up? However long it is, it’s going to seem like an eternity.

      • 87 MightyPamela
        March 12, 2014 at 6:35 pm

        I surmise she knew she would lose anyway, besides, there is no doubt a lot more money and a lot less responsibility in becoming a lobbyist. Next.

    • March 12, 2014 at 3:00 pm

      ADIOS, verguenza

    • 89 Dudette
      March 12, 2014 at 9:11 pm

      Is she under investigation for something?

    • 90 Dudette
      March 12, 2014 at 9:15 pm

      Oh I know… The Half-Gov told her about all big $$$ she can make speaking to teabaggers and “contributing” to Faux News. Beats that gubmint salary and no prying eyes.

  17. 91 Nena20409
    March 12, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    Per Jay, the FL seat was held by the GOP for 50 plus yrs.

    I din’t know that.

    Jon Karl was the one on this…..TYPICAL RWNJ talking points leaning questions.

  18. 92 sherijr
    March 12, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    It’s feeling just a little too tornado-ish outside for my liking today… wind is blowing, warmish air.. thunder expected w/ showers shortly.

  19. 93 jacquelineoboomer
    March 12, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    My sweet Lord:

  20. 104 No Child Left Behind
    March 12, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    I love the Blue Star but can’t click on it because I don’t have a WordPress password. How unfortunate!

  21. 105 Nena20409
    March 12, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    So SoS John Kerry is Back to Russia this Friday to meet-up with the Russian counterpart……so said Jay.

  22. March 12, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    And I would just die of perfection if PBO ever went on the Stephen Colbert show! Which would mean I wouldn’t be around to enjoy the rest of his presidency and life so I hope he doesn’t do it! (But it really would be great…)

  23. 109 Linda
    March 12, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    Mark Udall is punishing John Brennan by putting a hold on PBO’s nominee for top lawyer at the CIA.

  24. 113 vcprezofan2
    March 12, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    Just remembered I haven’t had lunch yet.

  25. 114 Nena20409
    March 12, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    March 13th 2013-March 13th 2014…….Papacy

    His Holiness, Pope Francis will celebrate his One Year anniversary.

    • 115 jacquelineoboomer
      March 12, 2014 at 5:17 pm

      There’s a new online book with his most significant quotes on the Vatican’s website, which is so 21st Century for the Vatican, I’m smiling. I’m Catholic and also crack up how some of the Cardinals must have that deer-in-the-headlights look about his winning ways, but some are probably thrilled with the “back to basics” (we are our brother’s keeper, etc.) talk from the Pope. Happy anniversary to him – and I cannot believe it was an entire year ago!

  26. 116 57andfemale
    March 12, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    Hey, PBO, do you have a medal for my dear Mr. 57? He cleaned up the winter’s worth of buried-in-ice-and-snow dog poop yesterday.

    I think the Medal of Honor is in order.

    • 117 japa21
      March 12, 2014 at 3:24 pm

      I did the same thing. It was like an archeological dig, going down through the different layers.

      • 118 57andfemale
        March 12, 2014 at 3:42 pm

        I am deeply grateful, let me tell you. Deeply grateful.

        You two can share the medal. I’ll email PBO about it right now.

  27. March 12, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    Happening now …

  28. 121 Nena20409
    March 12, 2014 at 2:59 pm

    Crude Oil is off $2 plus to $98 plus due to the POTUS action.

    How I wish they will sale off more than 5M Barrels. Crude oil should Not be higher than $70.

  29. 122 yardarm756
    March 12, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    Folks. What’s up with these blue stars?

  30. March 12, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    Thanks NW and Chips for all the news and fun on one blog. Someone mentioned they wanted to hear happy news, I can give you a little. Two scores ago I gave birth to a tiny little boy, my first! Had to enjoy the experience by myself in a Navy hospital thanks to the Navy. Dad was in sunny Cuba training. Wow, does time fly. 😉

  31. 130 Kid kanga
    March 12, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    I had to watch our pres on two ferns last night as soon as I got home from work. my work computer has too old of a browser to view funnyordie.com. anyways, i thought it was awesome, and i couldn’t be happier the way he went around the useless beltway media to reach out to young people and encourage them and inform them about healthcare.

Comments are currently closed.







Enter your email address to receive notifications of new posts by email.



RSS Obama White House.gov

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS WH Tumblr

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.



Blog Stats

  • 40,585,990 hits

%d bloggers like this: