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National News

March 15, 2014

Obama's 'Funny or Die' skit gets 15 million hits

NEW YORK (AP) — President Barack Obama’s appearance on the “Between Two Ferns” satirical online talk show this week has reached 15 million views — almost at Justin Bieber levels.

The website Funny or Die said Friday that Obama’s interview with Zach Galifianakis, posted Tuesday, will likely beat Bieber’s record of 17.8 million views for the show. The pop singer’s appearance was posted in September.

The president’s appearance to persuade young people to sign up for health insurance is a key moment for the Internet, much like Franklin Roosevelt’s fireside chats were for radio and the Kennedy-Nixon debate for television, said Dick Glover, CEO of the comic website started by Will Ferrell.

“It truly validates that it is an incredibly valuable medium for the president,” he said.

Obama told Ryan Seacrest in an interview that he figured he’d reached his target audience when his daughter Malia was excited that he’d done the interview after he told her at the dinner table. She’s seen most of the “Between Two Ferns” posts, he said.

Galifianakis’ act is to ask his guest hostile or inappropriate questions. But Obama said he seemed nervous at the White House taping.

“He was looking around at all the Secret Service guys with guns and thinking, ‘I wonder what happens if I cross the line?’” the president said.

Obama will have a way to go to beat Funny or Die’s record of 81 million views for a video posted in 2007, showing Ferrell being harassed by a pint-sized “landlord.”

Now that Galifianakis has interviewed Obama, who’s next on the “Between Two Ferns” wish list?

“(Russian President Vladimir) Putin is certainly up there,” Glover said.

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