It was late 2013 and Obamacare was in trouble. HealthCare.gov, the website where people could sign up for coverage under the Affordable Care Act, had been marred by major technical problems and there was concern in the White House that not enough people would be able to obtain health insurance ahead of the pending deadline.
Around that time, President Obama’s senior adviser Valerie Jarrett convened a meeting with entertainers to brainstorm ideas on how to get young people to buy insurance plans on the exchanges before it was too late. Among them was comedian Scott Aukerman, co-creator of Funny or Die’s Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis and the writer-director of Netflix’s new Between Two Ferns: The Movie.
“It was a bunch of Hollywood players trying to come up with ideas for videos that would steer people to the Affordable Care Act,” Aukerman tells me on this week’s episode of The Last Laugh podcast. “And I think a lot of that stuff is really lame. The reason it can be really lame is everyone’s so protective of what gets out there into the world. So if you see a politician on a late-night talk show, if they’re reading jokes, all I can think about is the speechwriters that have gone through and red-lined jokes. They all seem so safe. They don’t seem dangerous at all.”
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