US election

Comedic Relief or Risky Move?

By September 23, 2016 No Comments

This week while the two candidates prepare for the debates, Hillary Clinton found time to go on the fake celebrity interview show Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis, where she played along with the mocking interview, providing equal parts self-deprecating humor and awkward silence. Within just one day, the online clip has garnered millions of views and attracted attention from the press as well.

She wasn’t breaking new ground with the show, since President Barack Obama had already done it in 2014, but it still warrants the question why politicians campaigning for public office take the risk of embarrassing themselves on a comedy show.

Both in America and elsewhere, politicians have a long history of going on comedy shows, primarily as a way of endearing themselves to the target audience. Donald Trump even let Jimmy Fallon of The Tonight Show mess up his famous hair. Typically, the candidate’s staff¬†will make sure to set the rules well in advance in order to avoid embarrassment, but even if they can cut out parts, that isn’t always a guarantee that the word won’t get out somehow anyway.

Of course, the exposure the shows can provide is magnetic for the candidates. This is especially true when the audience is a key voting group that they need to win over. In this case, Hillary Clinton has been struggling to win over the vote of young Americans under the age of 35 who overwhelmingly supported her primary opponent Bernie Sanders, which is undoubtedly the primary driver behind going on Between Two Ferns.

Cover image: Getty