On Saturday night in SNL’s opening segment, Jay Pharoah’s President Obama credited his social media team for coming up with the idea of having him appear on Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis before the group brainstorms other ways to get people to sign up for Obamacare. But in reality the credit for coming up with the idea and pretty much making the whole thing happen goes to one person, and that is Bradley Cooper.
Politico today published a behind-the-scenes account of how the whole thing transpired…
Back on Feb. 11, Cooper was at the White House for the state dinner in honor of French President François Hollande. Before he got to his fingerling potato velouté, the actor met with Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett in her office to brainstorm ideas about how to help get the word out on Obamacare. Enlisting the website Funny or Die had come up before, an administration official said, but Cooper was pushing hard for them to think about “Between Two Ferns,” the mock-interview web show hosted by his friend (and “The Hangover” co-star) Zach Galifianakis.
Cooper pulled out his cell phone, got Galifianakis on the line and put him on speaker. He was ready to help. Now they just needed to sell the idea to the president.
The next day, at the end of a non-Obamacare briefing in the Oval Office, Jarrett, communications director Jennifer Palmieri and press secretary Jay Carney made the pitch. Obama had never heard of the show before, but he liked the idea.
“Zach Galifianakis and Bradley Cooper are going to do this for me?” a very pleased Obama asked. Um, not exactly, they said.
Administration officials don’t know if Obama ever clicked the links they sent him to previous shows. They don’t know how he stayed so calm trading insults with Galifianakis.
On Monday the White House reported that it had, after a well-documented disastrous start, achieved its goal of getting at least 7 million people to sign up for Obamacare by April 1, and many credit the president’s appearance on Between Two Ferns as the springboard that got them there — traffic to healthcare.gov surged after the clip hit the internet. Let the history books show that it was People magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” in 2011 that made it all happen.
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