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To Sell Health Care To Young People, Obama Steps 'Between Two Ferns'

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Long-time fans of the comedy website, "Funny or Die," know this already. But for the rest of you, this is the theme song of "Between Two Ferns." The Web series mimics a low-budget, cable-access interview program.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

It's the brainchild of actor and comedian Zach Galifinakis. He plays an unprepared host who fumbles through awkward conversations with celebrities. But the guest of his latest episode, released today, was a little different.

(SOUNDBITE OF SHOW, "BETWEEN TWO FERNS")

SIEGEL: Yes, the host of "Between Two Ferns" is an imbecile, a very rude one.

(SOUNDBITE OF SHOW, "BETWEEN TWO FERNS")

BLOCK: But President Obama wasn't there to talk about North IKEA or other foreign policy questions for that matter.

SIEGEL: The president agreed to be a guest on "Between Two Ferns" to pitch Obamacare. His appearance on the online program is the latest attempt to reach a younger audience.

(SOUNDBITE OF SHOW, "BETWEEN TWO FERNS")

BLOCK: And the president kept pitching, but it came at a price.

(SOUNDBITE OF SHOW, "BETWEEN TWO FERNS")

BLOCK: The segment is six and a half minutes long, and the president came ready to play, quickly trading barbs with Zach Galifinakis.

(SOUNDBITE OF SHOW, "BETWEEN TWO FERNS")

SIEGEL: But whether it's your brand of humor or not, it seems that the stunt is paying off. It's already gotten more than 5 million views.

BLOCK: And the White House says the website "Funny or Die," which hosts the comedy show, was the number one source of referrals for people clicking over to the Affordable Care website this morning. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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Robert Siegel is senior host of NPR's award-winning evening newsmagazine All Things Considered. With 40 years of experience working in radio news, Siegel is still at it hosting the country's most-listened-to, afternoon-drive-time news radio program and reporting on stories and happenings all over the globe. As a host, Siegel has reported from a variety of locations across Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and Asia.
Robert Siegel
Prior to his retirement, Robert Siegel was the senior host of NPR's award-winning evening newsmagazine All Things Considered. With 40 years of experience working in radio news, Siegel hosted the country's most-listened-to, afternoon-drive-time news radio program and reported on stories and happenings all over the globe, and reported from a variety of locations across Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia. He signed off in his final broadcast of All Things Considered on January 5, 2018.
As special correspondent and guest host of NPR's news programs, Melissa Block brings her signature combination of warmth and incisive reporting. Her work over the decades has earned her journalism's highest honors, and has made her one of NPR's most familiar and beloved voices.
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