One of my favorite Zach Galifanakis jokes was one of his first about refusing to sleep on a strange girl’s futon after partying together because
“I don’t sleep on anything that rhymes with ‘crouton’.”
Galifanakis’ humor, and that joke in particular, comes from the context and his delivery, which is used to great effect in his interview with Hillary Clinton in Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifanakis, a mock interview style talk show that seats his guest, literally, between two fern plants. In the show he plays a character that is semi-illiterate, politically incorrect, prententious, and often offensive. The tone of the show is mostly improvised and mostly unscripted and has garnered mass appeal amongst younger audiences.
Take a few minutes to watch the clip & read the short nytimes review by Katie Rogers: “A Deadpan Hillary Clinton Visits ‘Between Two Ferns’” .
Both the video and article posted on September 22nd, days before the first political hee-haw and presumed Presidental show-down on September 26th, one can’t help but wonder if her critics will hail this ‘Hail Mary’ appeal to young audiences as just another strategy to appear authentic versus successfully revealing her humourous side through satire that younger voters will be board for- at least authentic ‘enough’ to show up for her at the polls.
I’m curious about this in light of the fact that she is following Obama’s lead, who appeared on the show in 2014 to plug his healthcare initiative Obamacare. His appearance had widespread popularity with younger constituents, those she would certainly like to rope in and secure before the November elections.
The interesting thing the article mentions is that Obama had no idea of the reach of the show until his daughter Malia clued him in when he was invited to appear, as opposed to Clinton’s apperance which was the result of Clinton’s staff reaching out to the show, egged on by Clinton herself who asked for the sit-down ‘between two ferns’.
Does this attempt to reach out to younger voters through the pop culture media venue work for or against her image in the long run? Does she seem funny and relatable? Will it even matter?
Or, will her efforts ultimately fall flat, much like the deadpan performance she knowingly mocks, and fail to ingratiate her targeted audience?
For a counterpoint, check out The Atlantic perspective that argues her “apperance wasn’t brave”.
*Update: By Jennifer Agiesta, CNN Polling Director 12:42 PM ET, Tue September 27, 2016:
Hillary Clinton was deemed the winner of Monday night’s debate by 62% of voters who tuned in to watch, while just 27% said they thought Donald Trump had the better night, according to a CNN/ORC Poll of voters who watched the debate.
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