OffBeat

Obama teams up with Galifianakis to push HealthCare.gov to skeptical young folks

President Obama on Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis

Above: President Obama on Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis

Image Credit: Funny or Die

President Barack Obama thinks Zach Galifianakis’ spider bites are disgusting.

That’s one of many gems from Obama’s Between Two Ferns interview, in which the President went toe-to-toe with comedian Zach Galifianakis — and, arguably, came out ahead.

Among other queries, Obama responded to questions like, “In 2013, you pardoned a turkey. What do you have planned for 2014?”

“Was that depressing for you?” the President countered. “Seeing one turkey taken out of circulation — a turkey you couldn’t eat?”

Galifianakis has hosted delightfully awkward interviews on Between Two Ferns since 2008, when the show debuted on comedy video website Funny or Die. In Between Two Ferns, Galifianakis satirizes public access television by “interviewing” celebrities like Justin Bieber, who Galifianakis spanked with a belt, and Natalie Portman, who proved unreceptive to Galifianakis’ advances.

Funny or Die taped Obama’s episode two weeks ago, though the site kept the contents secret until its debut early Tuesday morning. The President used the appearance to plug HealthCare.gov, which “works great now,” he told the comedian.

This isn’t the first time Obama has turned to online media to reach a young demographic. In 2012, prior to his re-election, the President participated in an “ask me anything” session on Reddit. But with his Between Two Ferns interview, rather than courting votes, Obama is aiming to drive people to HealthCare.gov, which was plagued by technical issues during its initial rollout. Now that it’s (finally) working properly, Obama wants to dispel its tarnished reputation and prompt people to actually give it a shot.

Obama’s Between Two Ferns appearance seems to be working: Funny or Die is currently HealthCare.gov’s top traffic referrer, according White House communications rep Tara McGuinness.

Check out the full episode of Between Two Ferns with Barack Obama below.

Updated at 10:52 AM PST with traffic referral details