Between Two Ferns, Rightbloggers Find Few Laughs, Much Concern-Trolling for Presidency

tomt200.jpgWhile the world waited for word on a referendum in Crimea and the whereabouts of a missing jet airliner, there was plenty of time last week to pick apart a comedy sketch starring Zach Galifianakis and the President of the United States. The brief Funny or Die "Between Two Ferns" segment, which Obama used to pimp Healthcare.gov, got a good deal of traffic, some of which, we were told, led to some Obamacare signups.

Rightbloggers may have been upset that the sketch did some good for Obamacare, which they still believe should be overturned. But mainly they complained that in making the video Obama, to whom they regularly refer as a tyrant (or a sissy, depending on the available news hooks), had demeaned the office of the Presidency.

Readers over a certain age will remember that in the 2008 Presidential campaign, one of the charges brought against Obama was that he was an empty suit propelled by mere celebrity, as an unfortunate McCain ad associating the Senator from Illinois with Britney Spears and Paris Hilton attempted to convey.

It didn't work, as the alleged empty suit was elected, and charges of unseriousness wear even less well against sitting Presidents -- though Karl Rove tried it again in 2012. In that same campaign season, Somebody at RedState listed all the TV shows on which Obama had appeared, e.g. "The View - Met with them instead of Benjamin Netanyahu who requested a meeting so he could be 'eye candy' for the female hosts," and "SportsCenter - Every year for March Madness." "Then think about whom some of his most ardent supporters have been, Hollywood celebrities," cried Somebody. "Americans are supposed to take political advice from people who can't articulate thoughts for themselves, but who choose to recite the words other people tell them to speak." (This paired nicely with the brethren's obsession with the teleprompter, a device used by previous Presidents but thought suggestive in Obama's case of vacuity.)

fernsurnswhut.jpg
We''ll be honest: We have no idea whether this is pro or anti. We just like the superannuated elephant sitting among various forms of human remains. (Via.)
Obama was nonetheless reelected, and continues to use his celebrity contacts as part of his communications, particularly in the White House counterattack on Obamacare. The Galifianakis interview was part of this, but seemed to provoke the brethren more than others. This may owe partly to the sluggish news week, but also to the President taking an active role in the comedy, trading ba-doom-booms with his comedian interlocutor. Even worse, people found it funny.

It must be said that some of the brethren took the sketch as a pleasant diversion rather than as yet another occasion for outrage. Glenn Beck's The Blaze at least enjoyed Galifianakis' zingers on Obama. Others, like Rare, just admitted it was funny. "Barack Obama and Zach Galifianakis just won the Internet," said Rare; "Collectivists assert that society is a creation of the legislator's genius and magically exists apart from the individuals who comprise it," replied its only commenter at this writing.

But that was the minority opinion. You probably heard the complaints of Rush Limbaugh ("if you wonder why people are losing respect for the president -- and I think people are. I think what's happening here is actually devastating to the office") and Bill O'Reilly ("All I can tell is you Abe Lincoln would not have done it"). This attitude disseminated further down the chain, sometime in more imaginative forms.

When the White House revealed that "http://FunnyorDie.com is the #1 source of referrals to http://HealthCare.gov right now," the Washington Examiner's Ashe Schow offered the co-stars career counseling: "Not sure that's something for the administration to brag about," he wrote. "But for Galifianakis, it's certainly brag-worthy, although maybe he won't want to play it up, considering the unpopularity of the law." Maybe follow up with an inspirational drama? It worked for Sandra Bullock!

At libertarian flagship Reason, Elizabeth Nolan Brown took a that's-not-funny-that's-sick approach.

Brown related one of the gags: "'Healthcare.gov works great now, and millions of Americans have already gotten health insurance plans,' says Obama (in one of the video's more humorous bits). Then Galifianakis, feigning boredom, asks, 'Is this what they mean by drones?' Zing! Get it? Because the Obama administration kills innocent people with drones? And now Obama is droning on? AHAHAHA--wait. That is not really very funny at all. In fact, it seems kind of sociopathic to joke about."

Now aren't you ashamed for laughing? Brown was similarly unamused when the President parried a Galifianakis gibe about the NSA ("Zach, nobody's interested in your texts"). "Of course, the National Security Agency is not only interested in Zach's texts but the text messages of millions of others, too," she sniffed. "...When you remember what kind of civil liberty abuses the Obama administration is perpetrating, it's kind of hard to be amused, even between two ferns." One can only imagine what Brown thinks of Springtime for Hitler.

Others were outraged that Obama took time out from his duties to do the sketch instead of clearing brush at a ranch like a real President.

"Crimea is on the brink of being annexed into the Russian federation, unemployment numbers showed an uptick in February," groused Independent Journal Review's Caroline Schaeffer, "and the President is appearing with celebrities and doing whatever he wants while still hung up on trying to promote - not fix - his signature program, Obamacare," Still, her headline showed something to be grateful for: "Doing the Job the Media Won't: Comedian Zach Galifianakis Hits Obama with Hardest Interview of the Year."

"The economy continues to sink, the world burns, and Barack Obama has the perfect solution: he spends time shooting a comedy routine with 'Hangover' star Zach Galifianakis, to pimp the faltering ObamaCare on 'young Americans,'" hystericized Debbie Schlussel. "...Can this guy defile the Presidency anymore than he already has?"

"Health care is important, of course, but, I repeat, he's the leader of the free world, parts of which are under siege," bemoaned Kathleen Parker of the Washington Post before repeating some of the gags from the sketch which she affected not to understand: "I did find myself smiling, though probably at the wrong things. I'll never tell." (?) "But like most people older than 30, I also wondered whether this was an appropriate venue for the president, especially in consideration of current events." We wonder how many people in their thirties actually feel this way; maybe Parker has an old-fashioned idea of 30somethingness.

The Daily Caller's Giuseppe Macri took the trouble to fact-check the comedy sketch. Obama said Obamacare premiums are about the same as your cell phone bill. Aha! "The cheapest bronze plan on the D.C. health insurance exchange has a $124.05 monthly premium -- still almost 70 percent more expensive than the average wireless service bill," reported Macri. We expect Darrell Issa to make a filing to the Internet Crime Complaint Center next. Who's laughing now, funny man?


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20 comments
sean.peters3
sean.peters3

Lolol. "Conservative intellectual Jonah Goldberg". Stop, you're killing me.

spectrum2255
spectrum2255

So long Dem Senate. Don't forget to turn out the lights.

MrWonderful
MrWonderful

Maybe WE'RE the chumps, for taking any of this seriously enough to comment about it.  It all makes more sense if you think of these rightbloggers and their audience as a decentralized, distributed colony of lunatics, writing, opining, deploring, and agreeing for and with each other.  Did any of them, in their concern for the office of the presidency, mention "You lie!"?  Of course not.  Bless their hearts.

StringOnAStick
StringOnAStick topcommenter

The whining makes it clearer than ever that these guys don't want a democracy, they want a monarchy (as long as their guy is on the throne).  I suppose they'd find comfort in having a set cast of boots to lick.

McSalmon
McSalmon

George Bush read the Top Ten List for Letterman and showed up on Deal or No Deal. Why should anyone care what comes out of the mouths of these bluenosed wankers? Conservatives simply have no capacity for parody, satire or irony. Frankly, anything more nuanced than the Abbott and Costello Cartoon Show is a simple loss on them. 

It wasn't always that way - there was a time when Conservatives could have fun, and point out the weird trends in the world, and even laugh at themselves. They've culled those guys out, through simple age and attrition, and are left with dim scolds like Jonah Goldberg and Ben Shapiro, who can't watch a short video without deciding if it meets the political criteria of the Norsefire Party.

glennisw250
glennisw250 topcommenter

"...I've talked to a lot of older folks (and not just conservatives) about the skit in the last 24 hours and it's a bit of a surprise how many of them just didn't get the premise, didn't think any of it was funny, and thought the whole thing was kind of pathetic."


The oldsters just didn't get that whole rock and roll thing back in the '60s, either.


Seriously, can Jonah be any more dense?

alanhw
alanhw

"their sons and daughters read it regularly for its cat lists -- and some of them stay for the leftist politics."


Damnit, they're on to the "cat list" trick.  We could have destroyed America, if it hadn't been for those meddling conservative intellectuals.

McSalmon
McSalmon

@spectrum2255 Nothing to celebrate - the GOP ran it into the ground last time, and I would expect nothing different from them a second time at the bat. They'll screw it up, until the public gets sick of them, then bring back the adults to clean up their messes. Of course, the new strategy of 'don't let them clean our mess, then blame them for the mess we made', as read by dozens of TV and radio flacks across the nation, will raise ire against the Dems for doing their job, and get the GOP elected again, and so it goes.


But if it makes YOU happy, feel free to jerk off to your favorite picture of Orly Taitz.Free country and all, at least until the GOP takes away the right to do that too.

autonomousthomas
autonomousthomas

@StringOnAStick   WTF...LOL.... Now I find YOU funny...  Obama IS the cult of personality (who is it on the Republican side again?... Mitch McConnell?)  Now go wash the boot wax from the tongue... lol.... monarchy.... serious liberals are the best comedians... 

autonomousthomas
autonomousthomas

@McSalmon @spectrum2255  Are you high? Seriously are you on drugs… a constitutional conservative encroaches our individual liberty?? The Federal government consumes 25% of our economy annually; yet we are 17, 300,000,000,000.00 in debt and growing. We have over 100 trillion in future liabilities… The Federal Government is the largest creditor, debtor, insurer, property owner, lender, employer, and consumer.Almost 1,000,000 pages of laws in the federal register with thousands added every ear.... And YOU worry about the local Tea Party… My God man…. My God…

McSalmon
McSalmon

@autonomousthomas @McSalmon@spectrum2255Your "constitutional conservative" wants to limit who can vote, protect industries from regulation, redistribute money from the middle class to the wealthy, punish the poor, turn women and minorites into second hand citizens, allow the public infrastructure to crumble, sell public lands to the highest bidder, designate Dominionist Christianity as the religion of state, and wage wars with other peoples kids. So, yeah - I think they would encroach on my liberty. 


And I love the scary quotes around your deficit - it's clear you listen to those poltroons fervently. Did they mention that that $100 trillion is a 75 year projection, and based on current trends, as opposed to actual conditions in the future? Did they remind you that the one time the government had a surplus, that it was under Clinton, and that GWB ran against it? Do they remind you that the deficit has been cut significantly by this administration, as opposed to his predecessor, who, again, ran against having a surplus?In short, most of the economic woes we have are the fault of the "constitutional Conservatives" who have done everything to cut the government's ability to boost revenue, from tax cuts and abatements to wealthy individuals and corporations, deregulating the financial sector, and allowing tax exempt status to organization who are clearly abusing that status, all the way to kneecapping the governments ability to audit and investigate tax fraud. So, before you lament the mote in my eye, you might want to remove the log from yours. 



McSalmon
McSalmon

@autonomousthomas @McSalmon@MrWonderful@spectrum2255

And it's always to see Tommy The Berk wandering in out of the mighty derpfields of conservative news, meeping blandly on conspiracies that have been disproved by anyone with an internet connection and the reason God gave a snapping turtle. 

No one cares about your IRS audits, because nothing happened - can you name one group that actually lost their tax exempt status without merit? Do you think tax exempt status should be granted to a group without verifying that it is going to comport itself under the rules for said status? Doesn't the IRS have the duty to the taxpayer to audit a group that is breaking those regulations on political activity? And this applies to left and right, as I stated earlier, and which you predictably ignored - they audited progressive and Occupy groups as well, didn't they? Go on, look it up. 

You're not only wrong, but you've drifted from a topic that I point out you haven't even discussed. So, I put it to you that you not only didn't watch the interview, but you still believe that he shouldn't have done it. So, do us a solid, find the video and watch the thing, then you can entertain us about how mumblemumbletyrantgrumblefartlol.

autonomousthomas
autonomousthomas

@McSalmon @autonomousthomas @MrWonderful @spectrum2255  Speaking of yuks… “Tourette McSalmon “!!Good to see you again…. Lol… The fuzzy liberal who argues by denial… Tell me again how 100% of all audits by the IRS, on established 501c(4)s, were just “coincidentally” completed on conservative groups? From there we can go into your defense of NSA surveillance… Please Keep Calvin Coolidge, George Bush, and your balls out of it…  I will go get some popcorn... 

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