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'Between Two Ferns' director Scott Aukerman on how they got Obama to laugh at himself

Say what you want about his politics, but President Obama definitely has a sense of humor.

The leader of the free world appeared on Funny or Die’s Between Two Ferns With Zach Galifianakis to promote the Affordable Care Act, and EW talked with director/producer Scott Aukerman, who co-created the series in 2008, about filming in the White House, Obama’s improv skills, and how they thought the whole thing wasn’t going to happen until the last minute.

The viral video has already racked up more than 6 million views in less than one day on the Funny or Die website. Aukerman was on a plane Tuesday morning and was shocked to see such a large reaction right away. “That’s super nuts! It’s hard to imagine 6 million people watching something in less than six hours,” Aukerman told EW. “How many people are there in the country though? 300 million? We still got a little ways to go.” Aukerman and Galifianakis had been chasing down Obama as a Ferns guest for years, hoping he would follow in the footsteps of Bradley Cooper, Justin Bieber, Natalie Portman, and Michael Cera, among others, who have all appeared on the show. Rumors from the White House that Obama may be interested in doing something “like this” circulated, but nothing ever came of it. “There was a series of false alarms,” Aukerman said.

In July, Aukerman and a group of Funny or Die creators met with Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett with the intention of creating viral videos to promote the Affordable Care Act. Aukerman suggested again that Ferns would be a perfect opportunity for Obama and his platform but didn’t hear anything until just three weeks ago. “They said if it were ever to happen, it would be now so start preparing.” Aukerman and Galifianakis were still suspicious that the shoot would get canceled again, even after a specific date and time was set and plane tickets had been purchased for D.C. It wasn’t until the pair were actually in the White House when it finally hit them. “I think this might actually be filmed!” Aukerman joked to Galifianakis at the time. “I remember I stood outside that building when I was 13. I never thought I would be invited in and meet the President.” READ FULL STORY

Scott Aukerman on 'Comedy Bang! Bang!' season 2, Uma Thurman's long thumbs, and more

This April, we decided our readers deserved a good laugh. So we interviewed five comedians with upcoming projects. Get to know them as they answer our April Questionnaire. Then check out more of their comedy online.   

Get to know Scott Aukerman:
You might know Scott from his podcast empire, the video podcast network, or from season 1 of Comedy Bang! Bang! on IFC (now available on Netflix streaming). CBB returns this summer and Scott has an idea for how you can get ready in the mean time.  READ FULL STORY

SXSW: Comedy-nerd all-stars Fred Armisen, Marc Maron, and Scott Aukerman unite at IFC panel

IFC has made a mission of promoting up-and-coming comedians as part of the network’s growing lineup (in between the odd documentary or random indie flick from the ’90s, of course). Their poster child is Fred Armisen — along with Carrie Brownstein and their show, Portlandia — but the channel has also fostered new shows from comedians Marc Maron (whose upcoming show Maron grew out of his popular WTF podcast) and Scott Aukerman, whose Comedy Bang! Bang! show launched recently on the network. At a panel today, Armisen, Aukerman, and Maron discussed the transition from alternative comedy to television series.

Below, some highlights from the hour-long talk…

'Between Two Ferns' Oscar Special: Things get weird with Jennifer Lawrence, Anne Hathaway, and more -- VIDEO

Zach Galifianakis’ interview series “Between Two Ferns”  just got super-duper star-studded!

As you all eagerly await Oscar night, Galifianakis grabs the buzziest Oscar stars and asks the questions that would make Barbara Walters green with envy. Highlights: Anne Hathaway sings “Best Thing I Never Had” by Beyoncé, Jennifer Lawrence does not like getting played off, Christoph Waltz wants to avoid talking about his Mein Kampf tattoo, and Amy Adams says a pretty NSFW line with great conviction.

Watch the whole video here: READ FULL STORY

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