September 23, 2016

"A Deadpan Hillary Clinton Visits ‘Between Two Ferns.'"

That's the NYT headline, which mutes what I think is really a criticism of what blatantly deserves criticism. Check it out:



The Times piece, by Katie Rogers, begins carefully:
Hillary Clinton, a candidate who has gone to great lengths to showcase the playful side of her personality, apparently wanted to prove that she can take not only a joke but a full interview of nonstop lampooning when she appeared on the mock celebrity interview show “Between Two Ferns.”
If you read far enough, you'll see that Hillary was trying to do something Obama had done, but she didn't copy his approach:
While Mr. Obama had playfully laid into Mr. Galifianakis during his 2014 interview — “What’s it like for this to be the last time you ever talk to a president?” — Mrs. Clinton appeared mostly deadpan, letting her host do most of the comedic legwork....

At one point, she was actually asked a policy question. But while she was explaining her hopes for improving the economy, she was interrupted by a Trump ad. Mrs. Clinton played along: “Why would you play a commercial from my opponent in the middle of our interview?”

“He paid me in steaks,” he replied, adding a scatological joke. (This is the one that got a loud laugh out of Mrs. Clinton.)
Wait! The "scatological joke" — at 5:13 — is "It's a good cut of meat. I think it's part of the asshole." And Clinton doesn't laugh at all.  She keeps a flat, glum face. How do you get "loud laugh" out of that? I'd remembered that the joke was about "the asshole," so I was curious to see Mrs. Clinton bust a gut over "asshole." Why did the NYT get that wrong — in an article that highlights that Clinton was "deadpan"? She was just as "deadpan" over "asshole" as she was about everything else.

97 comments:

Hagar said...

Fernwood Tonight.

Bob Ellison said...

Boy, he's lost a lot of weight.

Yancey Ward said...

Is it possible the linked video is edited? I remember you posted a video of a fake Clinton interview that had me fooled almost to the end. I kind of got the same impression of this video. Of course, I have always had the impression that Hillary! is humorless, so that is why the first video had me fooled so long into it- it rang true to me.

traditionalguy said...

That was as close to a Press Conference as Queen Hillary has permitted in a year. I bet somebody got fired over accepting that gig.

YoungHegelian said...

While I think HRC may have been a nasty bee-yatch to those around her for many years, I don't think she has been a humorless scold.

I think the poor woman is physically ill, & is being held together with bailing wire & duct tape. This clip does nothing but re-enforce that belief.

I sure as hell ain't voting for her, ever, but I'm starting to feel sorry for her. Her family needs to put a stop to this, even if she wants it more than anything else. It's cruel to her & unfair to the American people.

Yancey Ward said...

Ok, I watched the entire video rather than just the 5:13 bit, and I think maybe The Times is actually wrong all around. I think Hillary! didn't play deadpan at all- the entire thing is edited to make it seem that way. She couldn't even pull that off.

Henry said...

Hillary Clinton, a candidate who has gone to great lengths to showcase the playful side of her personality.... (my emphasis).

Ouch.

Beth B said...

Maybe the NYT doesn't expect anyone to actually watch it. So, they're giving her the best spin they can muster?

dreams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
traditionalguy said...

That was Hillary in person. " Don't tell me what to say..." was a command straight out of The Devil Wears Prada

Bob Ellison said...

And, uh, "Why did the NYT get that wrong"-- because the whole thing was scripted.

You know that, don't you?

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Biased and inaccurate...the NYTimes gettin' it done.

Henry said...

Oddly enough the local sportstalk radio station played a clip from that interview. I laughed at the joke about "the younger younger generation" but the Obama coffee joke was painful, which is why I think it got the airtime.

Rob said...

The poor thing wasn't deadpan, she was practically catatonic. Was her reduced affect a comic styling or was it the result of medication, her brain injury or clinical depression (and who could blame her)?

khesanh0802 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Henry said...

This the first I've heard of this show. Galifianakis is no Martin Mull.

FullMoon said...

Watched vid and thought it a bad imitation of Borat. Really not funny at all, just stupid. Clinton looked terrible, really pissed off, not playing along.

khesanh0802 said...

Look at the difference between this interview and Kelly Ann Conway and Bill Maher. Ms. Conway smiled all the way through , was energetic, put up with Maher's BS and came off the winner. I am overwhelmed by Clinton's bubbly personality here, her ability to laugh at herself, to breathe. Clinton does, as Ann says, look dead or close to it.

Birkel said...

Zeroes and ones are not funny.

eric said...

I saw this on my Facebook feed last night. I'm really surprised my reactions were so much different than many of the other commenters here.

1) I laughed. A lot.
2) I thought Hillary was a good sport playing dead pan.
3) at first I thought it was edited to make her look like the straight man to his Jerry Lewis routine. But then at the end I got the impression the whole thing was scripted, which is why I thought she was a good sport to play along.

It takes a certain character to allow yourself to be teased and mocked like that. Good for her.

P.S. This is probably the only nice thing I'll ever say about Hillary.

samsondale said...

I read that she did that 'interview' the day she supposedly was diagnosed by her Westchester-based physician with pneumonia.

Joseph Angier said...

“She really set us at ease early on by being so game to do it,” Mr. Aukerman said, “and one of the first few jokes she laughed really loud at, so we had to reset.”

The article should have been clearer. What Aukerman is saying with the "reset" reference is that the plan was for her to dead-pan the whole thing, and that the laugh was out of place.

Kate said...

What kind of presidential candidate will submit herself to this degradation? God, I almost* feel sorry for her.

mezzrow said...

Well, Katie laughed enough for both her and Hillary, and besides, solidarity.

Everybody reading this will article be on her side anyway, so why does it matter?

Go State.

MayBee said...

After her weird, medicated union video speech, I think deadpan was what her team felt safe with.

michaele said...

It was like she was trying to out-deadpan him...not a flattering or winning demeanor for her. And, how strange that the NYTimes completely fabricated a lively response from her over the asshole joke. Whew, if they can't even get that right...

Nigel Tufnel said...

That was only successful if her intent was to come across as awkward and cold.

Is she having fun yet? NYT tries to show she is.

1992 GHWBush: "MESSAGE: I care."

2016 Hillary: "MESSAGE: I am having fun."

Michael McClain said...

Interesting. An effete douchebag interviewing a corrupt, failed lawyer. Truly, we, as a nation/culture are on the down-ward slope of civilization.

Todd said...

Joseph Angier said...
“She really set us at ease early on by being so game to do it,” Mr. Aukerman said, “and one of the first few jokes she laughed really loud at, so we had to reset.”

The article should have been clearer. What Aukerman is saying with the "reset" reference is that the plan was for her to dead-pan the whole thing, and that the laugh was out of place.

9/23/16, 12:20 PM


Or did they literally mean "reset" as in reset the computer? Maybe Hillary has a memory leak from poor coding (from her last upgrade) and occasionally needs to be reset to make the unused, allocated memory available cause the OS runs low?

jacksonjay said...

I get the feeling she will conduct a green screen campaign from here til election day. One, maybe two debates, Twitter and lotsa videos. Maybe a few short public appearances, just to prove she's alive.

n.n said...

Deadpan or punch drunk? Choices. It's all comedy.

rhhardin said...

What's this hole in my rump steak? - 1959 dining hall joke.

The joke I heard was asking madam secretary how fast she could type. She was offended.

Typical feminist.

I type very fast myself, enough to get interesting consciousness-free finger memory mistakes, but nobody asks me.

Xmas said...

The last joke was really funny. The Trump ad in the middle of her response was good for a laugh. Uncomfortable comedy isn't my bag, but Zach Galifianakis's dumb act can be fun.

Patrick said...

There's a silly little kerfuffle on Twitter about this. The Federalist did a column complaint about the lack of tough questions for Hillary. Each of the lines, however were direct quotes from columns criticizing Jimmy Fallon for going easy on Trump, but substituting HRC and ZG.

The left reacted exactly how you would expect.

Nonapod said...

I find this sort of stuff really uncomfortable to watch. First of all, there's a clear goal with these sorts of things: Make the candidate appear more natural, affable, and generally more appealing. In order to do this, jokes have to be made at the candidates expense. We like it when people are able to take a joke. So the whole thing is desperately contrived to begin with, which makes it that much worse when it fails.

Unfortunately for Hillary, she's just not that likeable. She's usually comes off as stiff and robotic. It also makes the decision for her to behave in a deadpan fashion seems a bad one. If your goal is to change peoples impression of her to a less robotic one, then maybe it's a bad idea for her to play it straight. That said, I don't know what the right move would be other than to not do it at all. I think the fact that they've done this is a measure of just how desperate they are.

Some people enjoy watching people they dislike fall on their faces. I generally don't. I tend to dislike "cringe comedy". I find myself empathizing with the target too much.

MadisonMan said...

I watched it. I feel like I wasted time. Back to work.

D.D. Driver said...

Wow. Tough crowd.

How does President Obama like his coffee? Like himself...weak?

That's does funny stuff.

William said...

She went the Margaret Dumont route. She made fun of her lack of humor. She's a pretty good straightman. I think she would really be good playing the part of Deuce Gigolo's perplexed client. If worse comes to worst, she can always pursue a career in Hollywood.

coupe said...

Urban Dictionary says:

stuck up - person or animal who thinks they are above the rest, but who should really take a dose of their own shit.

I know this is probably a dated term, as my generation used it in the 5th grade. We'd have these girls who wouldn't come to our record party because they thought we dressed funny, were hoodlums, or worse, wanted stick our tongues in their mouth.

All of which were true, but besides the point...

MadisonMan said...

If worse comes to worst, she can always pursue a career in Hollywood.

...where people love her.

Bay Area Guy said...

I give her credit for the attempt at humor. Zach G is definitely funny, too.

But, she isn't funny and isn't a good straight "man" either.

SteveR said...

To the extent her recent medical issues have impacted her public persona, she's never been likable, never. My basic response is that she's fake in these presentations, beyond just scripted.


Fabi said...

That was -- odd. Not in the good way, either.

mockturtle said...

A.A. naively asked: Why did the NYT get that wrong

Chip said...

Wake me if the NYT prints a retraction because that would be hilarious.

BDNYC said...

Her physical condition doesn't even look good in a scripted, controlled environment. Watch her face and hands after the Trump ad came on. Tell me that doesn't scream "confused nursing home resident."

george said...

I am worried about the way Clinton is sitting unbent at the waist. There's a huge pillow against her back.

This cannot be good. My sympathies.

damikesc said...

That screenshot for this post makes it look like one of the most awkward interviews eve with somebody who is in the tank for her as thoroughly as humanly possible.

Zach G is definitely funny, too.

I've seen his stand-up. Can't agree. He took a joke about all of his ex-girlfriends forming a singing group and killed it.

Not killed it good. Killed it dead.

Ken B said...

His close was very funny. Indeed she didn't laugh at that joke.

I only watched snippets but she did often look to be drolly amused to me -- much better than in that 50 points ahead ad. Imagine how Rubio would have acted and you see she actually handled the interview with some skill.

BDNYC said...

The woman has really bad posture and almost no energy. There's no light behind those eyes. She's fading.

Mac McConnell said...

Obama says, "She should just be herself". WTF!

Gusty Winds said...

Was that funny? Seemed more like a train wreck in an attempt to get Bernie voters enthused.

Gusty Winds said...

For Hillary, its hard to fake that your laughing your way to the Presidency, when Trump is actually laughing his way to the Presidency.

wildswan said...

All the real questions can only be presented as tasteless jokes.

As for how Hillary looked I'm thinking she must look awful most of the time and so her staff see this as OK and very funny. Like going into a bad clothing store and thinking you see something OK. But when you get out you realize your taste was ruined by the awfulness around you and the Hawaiian floral tent is not amusing.

FullMoon said...

Watched it a second time . Just not funny. Watched him with Charlize Treron, still not funny.

For contrast, Sascha Baron Cohen, who sets up people for "serious interviews" and makes them look foolish. > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLK1aQsOKfg

And, Cohen tries to punk Donald Trump https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aUTnu1MaeX0

Limited blogger said...

weird.

bigkat said...

You don't get south of the border humor. NYT is Mexican now/ Press 2 for Anglo Edit

holdfast said...

Deadpan, Bedpan, whatever.

Anthony said...

Rogers writes: “She really set us at ease early on by being so game to do it,” Mr. Aukerman said, “and one of the first few jokes she laughed really loud at, so we had to reset.”

I think that's what is being referenced later on in the article. That is, they wanted her to appear deadpan throughout and she laughed at the steaks joke and they had to do it over.

zipity said...



The LameStream Media© is all in. They'd drag her rotting corpse over the finish line if it comes to that...

Rusty said...

eric @ 12:17

If she hadn't driven Vince Foster to suicide it would probably be funny.

Birches said...

@ nanopod


Agreed. When I watched it, I was thinking that she wanted to pull off the Brad Pitt Between Two Ferns. She is no Brad Pitt, therefore it seems awkward in spots. Zach was great though.

Birches said...

Here's the Brad Pitt one for anyone interested in how these things usually go.

R.J. Chatt said...

"Who's your designer? I want to look like a librarian from outer space." That was a good line. Attention: Marc Jacobs and Elon Musk, get on it!

If she loses the election will she start pushing Chelsea to run for office?

rhhardin said...

I watched Mr. and Mrs. Smith last night. They don't seem made for each other. It's possible Aniston is a bitch too, of course. She's an actress.

Darrell said...

Hillary will never have piles--she's a perfect asshole. That's my take.

David Begley said...

Wow. Not funny at all. She will regret doing that interview.

Clyde said...

Is this her Nixon-on-Laugh-In moment?

I think that both this clip and the one where she asks why she isn't 50 points ahead are very illuminating. I find the "50-points" clip interesting because it shows her blind spot to the fact that many people don't like her. She literally cannot understand why anyone wouldn't support her over Donald Trump; I think that she thinks they would have to be either stupid or evil not to back her, because from her perspective, she is a manifestly good person.

Like most people, Hillary sees herself as the heroic figure in her own personal narrative. Sure, she's done some sketchy things, but she tells herself that she's done them in the service of the greater good. What we see as criminality and deception, she sees as necessities done to advance her cause, and indirectly, all of the people that she wants to help (Her definition of "help" might not be the same as ours). She, like most of us, tells herself little white lies about her actions and motives. Nobody views herself as the villain in the narrative; if she did, she would slit her wrists, unless she was a psychopath. Even truly evil people like Hitler, Stalin, Mao, etc., whose actions resulted in the deaths of millions, did not see themselves as villains, but rather as heroes doing distasteful things to help their people. This is not to say that I agree that villains are actually heroes, only that they see themselves that way.

One way or another, this election is going to be a Hillary Clinton tragedy. Either she loses, which would be a personal tragedy for her, or she wins, which would be a tragedy for the country, and perhaps for Clinton herself, as she would likely be exposed as unsuited for the job and would face the withering effects of the world's most stressful job. She already seems old, and likely would seem a lot older very, very quickly.

Just_Mike_S said...

apparently the writer of the article, like most Americans, couldn't bear the prospect of watching yet another unveiling of "the human Hillary".

William said...

As noted, I can see her as a Margaret Dumont type straight woman. The jokes are funnier when she purses her lips at them. I could see her in "Ace Ventura and Hillary Meet The Mummy". Jim Carrey and Hillary Swank have a lot of chemistry together, and our Hillary was born to play the mummy. She would bring credibility to any undead role. Hollywood beckons.

Kate said...

@Birches -- thanks for the Pitt link. I recommend the end when Pitt represents the audience and acts out our every desire.

I can't believe ZG has been doing this since at least 2009.

Unknown said...

It's clear this has become a place where HRC haters like to hang out. What is also clear is how desperate some people are to express their HRC hating. Wow: she did not laugh at an asshole joke. If she had, would the analysis be

HRC agrees that Trump is an asshole? Do we want presidential candidates calling each other asshole?

Must be a slow anti HRC-news day.

Karen of Texas said...

Wow. If I missed it upthread, Ted Cruz endorsed Trump. Gave six very cogent reasons why. This should get even more interesting. Many #nevertrump peeps were vocal Cruz supporters. What say they now?

Cruz is a sellout of course.

darrenoia said...

Wow. I can’t stand Hillary. I would never vote for her. But I actually was expecting her to do a lot worse based on the description. She clearly went for the straight woman role.

I’m amazed that Galafianakis zinged her as much as he did. The email comment at the end in particular. Amazed.

Big Mike said...

@Karen of Texas, this may surprise you but politicians do politics. The latest RCP "no learners" electoral college map has Hillary at 272 electoral votes to Trump's 266. Trump wins by holding the states that lean in his direction and taking away any of the following states currently leaning towards Hillary: New Hampshire, Colorado, Michigan, Wisconsin, or Pennsylvania. There other states Trump can win to go up over 269, but New Hampshire is more likely than New York, for instance.

This is the point where it makes political sense for Cruz to do the obvious.

Birkel said...

Big Mike:

Tell Governor Kasich. And the entire Bush family.

Johnny Sokko said...

Ted Who?

Karen of Texas said...

@Big Mike - politicians gonna politic - never doubted that for a moment. My "wow" I guess is for the inevitable blowback. Reading the comments, many Cruz diehards were sure he was cut from a different cloth, so to speak. They were positive he would never "play politics". I wonder how many of his followers who were going to stay home because he isn't the nominee will now still stay home because he's just like all the others.

I'm somewhat surprised he finally came out but agree now is the time to make a move. Cruz has proven he can be pragmatic. And he sees what a disaster Hillary would be. Good for him. He's playing ball the way the democrats do.

sane_voter said...

Pretty much every Funny or Die I have watched has fallen into the Die category.

Mary Beth said...

Unknown said...

It's clear this has become a place where HRC haters like to hang out. What is also clear is how desperate some people are to express their HRC hating. Wow: she did not laugh at an asshole joke. If she had, would the analysis be

HRC agrees that Trump is an asshole? Do we want presidential candidates calling each other asshole?

Must be a slow anti HRC-news day.

9/23/16, 4:55 PM


It shouldn't need explaining, but obviously it does. The point was, why did the NYT feel the need to say that she laughed loudly at that joke?

If it's okay for her to call Trump supporters names, it's no worse for her to call him names.

Big Mike said...

@Birkel, I don't think the Bush family is paying much attention to ordinary working stiffs like me (well, I used to be a working stiff -- I retired last year).

mockturtle said...

Karen of Texas says: I'm somewhat surprised he finally came out but agree now is the time to make a move. Cruz has proven he can be pragmatic. And he sees what a disaster Hillary would be. Good for him. He's playing ball the way the democrats do.

I agree! You can't hold grudges in the political game without cutting your own throat. Smart move. I was also pleased that Rand Paul is at least voting for Trump.

tim in vermont said...

Is her eye wandering in that screen grab? Looks like it to me.

Char Char Binks said...

Lame. Neither one is funny.

Laslo Spatula said...

I really like this bumper cars of tags:

Hillary and pop culture; meat.

It's already haiku without any unnecessary extra syllables.

I am The Replacement Laslo.

dunce said...

She might have been been more sedated than sedate by Dr Jack Daniels.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Serious question, dunce, and also for Dr. K and any medical people. Alcohol is contraindicated with a lot of medications. But we know, it is not in dispute, that Hillary likes to pull a cork. Could she be in actual danger? Contrariwise, if she is walking the line, could her erratic behavior be caused by withdrawal symptoms?

Jonathan Graehl said...

Clinton deadpan over "asshole" - brutal humor. Scott Adamsian.

Mary E. Glynn said...

The writer is saying that the line, "He paid me in steaks" got a loud laugh from Mrs. Clinton.

Did it?

Zach said...

If she was intentionally trying to be the straight woman, I think it was a poor choice. The straight man has to set jokes up, or make them funnier by reacting to them. The Brad Pitt interview looks like he's being unresponsive, but he's actually participating a lot -- a lot of the jokes have the form of set up, response, punch line, so that Pitt's response is a scripted part of the joke. The gum gag involves the gum starting with Pitt, going to Galifianakis, then going back to Pitt for the big finale.

Hillary doesn't look like she's in on the joke, mug for the camera, or get off any funny lines. She looked a million times better on Jimmy Fallon.

walter said...

NYT masturbation aside, she did surprisingly well in this..albeit edited pop culture "nugget"/turd.
Zach was nice enough to point out her attendance at the latest Trump wedding as well as the ongoing hang between Ivanka and Chelsea.
...., ....

walter said...

(Btw, Zach G mentions if she loses, "country goes to shit")

Rusty said...

Unknown @ 4:55
Hey! You have the Daily Kos and the Democrat Underground and all that lame ass occupy shit. OK? Intelligent conservatives got this.. Deal with it.

damikesc said...

Cruz is a sellout of course.

Nah. Trump was, undoubtedly, an asshole to Cruz. But Hillary is still worse, in every conceivable way. Voting for the worst option out of spite is stupid and Cruz, say what you will, is not stupid.

M Jordan said...

I'm late to this party but must say, I give Clinton credit for playing along and Galifianakis credit for delivering zingers ... real zingers. It reminded me of the Jeb bit as an Uber driver for Jimmy Kimmel: kind of amusing but kind of self-abasing. And one last thing: Hillary looked old.

mikee said...

I remember a time, not so long ago, before Nixon appeared on Laugh-In in a desperate attempt to appear "with it" to American youth, who knew better, when the US president and candidates for that office chose venues for appearances wherein the dignity of the office was upheld, not degraded.

Coolidge in an honorary Indian feathered headdress is not undignified; he treated the occasion with the dignity the Native Americans deserved, and was treated with dignity by them.

Bill Clinton playing sax on late night TV - popular, but undignified.

"Plastic Turkey" and "Mission Accomplished" by GW Bush - both perfectly respectable, but endlessly hammered as horrible by the lying press.

Dukakis in a tank - perfectly good fun for him, but endlessly hammered as horrible by the Republicans.

Kerry in a cleanroom - well, it was Kerry, his presence as a candidate for President was as degrading to the office of President as was Ted Kennedy's candidacy, and almost as much as Hillary's candidacy.

damikesc said...

I'm late to this party but must say, I give Clinton credit for playing along and Galifianakis credit for delivering zingers ... real zingers. It reminded me of the Jeb bit as an Uber driver for Jimmy Kimmel: kind of amusing but kind of self-abasing. And one last thing: Hillary looked old.

I loved it when the Federalist did a parody of the Left losing their shit over Trump on Fallon by using similar wording for a critique of this...and they completely didn't get the mockery.