The Between Two Ferns-ification of American Political Life

by Andrew Johnson

Democrats are hoping appearing on awkward, odd web series will bring them success. After President Obama joined Zach Galifianakis on Between Two Ferns to promote HealthCare.gov earlier this month, Alaska senator Mark Begich, who faces a tough reelection race this year, sat down with Alaska Robotics News, a spoof news show in the state.

In the mock interview, the anchor presses Begich on the NSA’s spying of American citizens. “Maybe you’re spying on me right now, listening to my every word,” he asks suspiciously.

“No, I stopped listening a while ago,” a fed-up Begich replies.

“Well, there’s some progress,” the anchor says.

The president’s appearance on Between Two Ferns reportedly boosted visits to the federal exchange’s website, and Begich is hoping his appearance on Alaska Robotics News brings him similar success in November as he looks to hold on to his seat as one of the handful of vulnerable red-state Democrats up for election. But the idea of appearing on a satirical web series was actually Begich’s first: His staff told Yahoo! News that he planned to do the video before President Obama did Between Two Ferns.

Elsewhere in the Begich episode, Alaska Robotics News goes after oil companies by comparing them to a banana republic (complete with a caricature of a Latin American dictator) and an infomercial for ExxWow, a ShamWow-esque product that wipes away Exxon’s responsibility in the Valdez oil spill.

The entire episode is here: