TIME Barack Obama

Obama’s ‘Between Two Ferns’ Episode Nominated for an Emmy

Obama Visits Tech Hub
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about the economy at the technology start-up hub "1776" July 3, 2014 in Washington, DC. Pool—Getty Images

Obama himself won't get an Emmy, though

An episode of online comedy series “Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis” featuring President Barack Obama was among the Emmy nominees announced Thursday morning.

The six-minute, 30-second episode featuring the President has been nominated for Outstanding Short-Format Live-Action Entertainment Program. It was first published on the humor website Funny or Die on March 11. Galifianakis’ show sees the actor interview a string of famous guests whom he asks inappropriate and awkward questions.

Though Galifianakis is biting, he’s no match for the President who, when asked if he wishes he could run a third time, replies: “Uh, if I ran a third time, it’d be sorta like doing a third Hangover movie. It didn’t really work out very well, did it?”

Obama then proceeds to try and educate Galifianakis about the Affordable Care Act and registering with Healthcare.gov online or by phone. Galifianakis responds: “I’m off the grid. I don’t want you people, like, looking at my texts.”

While Obama himself is not up for an Emmy for the episode, he has previously received the Grammy for best spoken word album for Dreams from My Father and The Audacity of Hope in 2006 and 2008, respectively.

The 66th Primetime Emmy Awards will be broadcast on August 28 at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. Actor Seth Meyers is hosting this year’s awards.


Fake Toilet-Sharing App Rents 15 Minutes of Bathroom Time for $4

Line for the outhouse
Biddiboo—Getty Images

The motto for mock toilet-sharing app AirWC is "'Cause taking a dump doesn't mean you have to be in one."

AirWC presents itself as an airbnb for private toilets, in which those in desperate need can locate nearby facilities with a smartphone app, check out reviews left by previous “users,” and book a 15-minute session on the bowl for a reasonable $4 fee.

And yes, it’s a total gag. An Italian version of AirWC was posted on the web on the more appropriate date of April 1, and the current parody is now on the comedy site Funny or Die. Let’s just get the bathroom humor out of the way with the AirWC video put on YouTube this week:

While this is indeed a joke skewering the sharing economy, while simultaneously piling on gratuitous poop punch lines, one never knows. We live in a world where a business was launched based on the delivery of $10 worth of quarters for $15 to make it easier to do laundry, after all.

Like any good modern-day technological innovation, the AirWC app (if it was real) allows you to sign in via Facebook. “In seconds, AirWC will locate private toilets nearby—clean, and ready for you,” the video explains. Users can scroll through photos and read reviews “until you find one that meets your sphincter’s needs. Does this toilet inspire you? Does it make your bowels squirm with joy and anticipation?”

Such ad copy would surely be enough to attract the “business” of quite a few users, especially at a cost of only $4 for 15 minutes. Still, not to poo-poo the idea too much (sorry), but it would probably be a tougher sell to get homeowners on board with the idea.


Upstaged at the 22 Jump Street Premiere

Joel Stein Gets Schooled by an 'Amateur'


Charity auction winner Nick Gramenos got to interview celebs on the red carpet to the premiere of 22 Jump Street in Los Angeles. He talked to the movie’s stars, Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, and other members of the cast, including Rob Riggle, Heather Hill, Jillian Bell, Wyatt Russell and the Lucas Brothers.

He turned out to be better than anyone at TIME at doing the red-carpet thing. Ryan Seacrest should be concerned.

TIME Humor

Lindsay Lohan Recalls the Time She Had Sex With James Franco

Actress Lindsay Lohan speaks at a press conference on Jan. 20, 2014 in Park City, Utah.
Actress Lindsay Lohan speaks at a press conference on Jan. 20, 2014 in Park City, Utah. George Pimentel—Getty Images

(This is a work of fiction.)

Tuesday, James Franco published his fictional account of the time he did not have sex with Lindsay Lohan—another platform on which to deny her infamous “sex list.” Well, she maintains they did. Here’s what happened.*

James Franco says that we did not have sex and one of the things I learned growing up in a family of chaos was to respect other people’s truths, even if that truth is something they made up driving home wasted in an Escalade that I frickin bought. Anyway, since he has shared his version of events, I think it’s only fair that I share mine.

It was a few years ago. I don’t remember if I was sober or not. I think I probably was. I actually never even really drank that much, and as I told Oprah, I only did coke 10-15 times, so statistically, the chances are good I was not wasted when this happened.

I was wandering around the Chateau Marmont, which is a hotel. Some people like to go on and on about what it represents to them and all the stuff they did there, but I’m just going to stick with calling it a hotel, because on Long Island we like to keep it simple.

I will say that I do like the Chateau because there are lots of beautiful flowers tended by people who care as deeply about tending flowers as I do about my passion, starring in films. I had just taken a swim in the pool where, per the advice of several therapists, I had taken some time to imagine that I was one of any number of various sea creatures. Afterwards I had taken a leisurely shower and then put a deep conditioning pack on my hair. So I was just walking around inhaling the scent of night blooming jasmine and my deep conditioning pack when one of the bungalow doors opened.

This guy stuck his head out. I didn’t know who it was. In fact at first I thought it was this guy who worked at the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf on Beverly and I was like what is he doing here? “Hey,” he said.

As I got closer I saw that it was that actor who always wants people to think that he’s smart but I still couldn’t remember his name.

“Oh hey,” I said.

“What are you doing?” he said.

“I’m deep conditioning my hair,” I said.

“Why?” he said. He said it in this really challenging way, like deep conditioning your hair was against the law.

“Uh, because it has a lot of split ends from being so color treated and all the extensions that I have used over the last few years, being an actress who cares about my craft, the way that Chateau Marmont flower-tenders care about flowers.”

He shook his head. He was kind of good looking I guess but there was something about his face. He looked so serious, like he had just finished reading 1000 books and had to read 1000 more or he was never going to get to watch TV again.

He said, “Have you ever thought about all the time you spend deep conditioning your hair? Have you ever thought about how the expectations that society places on you as a celebrity and how you exploit yourself by responding to them?”

I said, “Duh, that’s all I think about. But deep conditioning my hair is one of the ways I find my center.”

“That’s beautiful,” he said. He actually got a tear in his eye. Then he said, “I’m sorry, it’s just that the intersection of the banal commercial world with narratives about inner peace triggers a conditioned, sentimental response in me that produces something like actual feelings.”

It was all clear now. “You’re James Franco,” I said.

He asked me to come in and I did. I sat in a chair.

“Gus Van Zandt once sat in that chair,” he said.

“I’m sorry, I don’t know who that is,” I said, even though I did. I knew anyone who went to school for as long as James Franco had was probably just enough of a jerk to imagine that everyone he came in contact with was the stupidest person in the world. “Is that your dad?”

James Franco laughed. “In a way he is, I guess. Parenthood is so – circumscribed by biology in this culture. And really, since what I am is an artist, really, more than a human, and since he is an artist, more than a human, really, why can it not be said that our relationship was more of a parenting relationship than the one I had with the people to whom I am attached by mere biology? Now, if biology was the ideology I adhered to, certainly, by that measure I would have to allow that he is NOT my father.” All of a sudden he looked really excited. “You know what’s intense? In a way, Gus and I are like – husband and wife. And “Milk” is our gay baby.”

He got very excited. “That is such a good idea for an art installation! A series of photographs, fake documentary style. Gus and I meet, we fall in love, and we have a baby, he gives birth to it, I think, not me – well. Wait. Maybe it should be me. Yeah. An image of me pregnant would be so super intense, and really open up a lot of intense dialogue about gender, whereas if an older, gay less gorgeous person was pregnant, it wouldn’t be as interesting. Don’t you think?”

“I guess,” I said.

James Franco went on. “And so I give birth to a baby, but the baby is a movie, not a baby. That is seriously twisted. A movie being a baby, but really being a movie? Don’t you think?”

“I guess,” I said. “Do you mind if I rinse this stuff out of my hair?”

I don’t even think he heard me. I went in the bathroom. He kept talking. “And the baby-as-movie goes to pre-school, and high school, and to college. And meanwhile, we get divorced and the judge puts the baby-move on the witness stand to see who it wants to live with.”

I came out of the bathroom. “And this is all in photographs? Why not fake documentary?”

He frowned again and snorted. “I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced the way that the medium of photography, particularly black and white, legitimizes the unreal,” he said. “In fact, I am pretty sure you haven’t, or you wouldn’t have suggested that.”

All of a sudden, I was really, really tired. As I said earlier, I definitely wasn’t wasted, so I think it’s more likely that I got really tired because the smell of my conditioner made me tired, not because some weird combination of alcohol and drugs had made me unusually animated and then left me suddenly drained of energy and any sense of self-will. I lay down.

“Anyway,” he said, “Not only does photography interact with our memory in a way that makes us think we are re-experiencing things we have never in fact truly experienced, it also, and this is probably even more crucial for this story, adds a shimmer of cold terror to the uncanny and that,” he smashed his hand down on the coffee table, “is my project as an artist.”

Then he got serious. He came over and stroked my hair. “I want to reward you for inspiring me. This is the best idea I have ever had, and I never would have had it about you. Can I reward you by reading you a story?”

He said it was called A Perfect Day for Bananafish. I don’t remember very much about it, except at one point, he stopped reading and started to explain to me that it should really be called something else gross and dumb because of something about the fish being phallic which personally I feel like he made up. I can’t really remember. I was so tired, but somewhere, a little voice piped up and let me know there was actually a really brilliant way to get through the next hour of my life without having to walk all the way back to my room, and I was like, “If I have sex with you, will you stop telling me your ideas?”

I am a lady, so I don’t want to tell you what happened next. But I think it’s messed up that the world is always waiting for me to fail. I mean, has James Franco ever come out with a series of photographs “documenting” his “relationship” and “parenthood” with Gus Van Zandt? No. He hasn’t. And it’s because of me. So leave me alone. I did you all a big favor.

*In Sarah Miller’s imagination. She also writes for NewYorker.com and The Hairpin, among other outlets, and has published two novels, Inside the Mind of Gideon Rayburn and The Other Girl.

TIME Humor

Do We Really Prefer Louis CK’s Take on Womanhood to an Actual Woman’s?

Louis C.K. attends the premiere of "Blue Jasmine" at the Museum of Modern Art on July 22, 2013 in New York City.
Louis C.K. attends the premiere of "Blue Jasmine" at the Museum of Modern Art on July 22, 2013 in New York City. Evan Agostini—Invision/AP

Who better to tell you about how women are treated than an actual woman? Why do we need someone like Louie to make our experiences palatable?

If you’re a fat woman, your ears tend to prick up when you hear that somebody allowed One Of Us on TV. If she’s doing something other than falling down or stuffing her face, you’re impressed. If she’s portrayed as a smart, funny person who calls out the show’s protagonist for his disinterest due to her size, your ears don’t just prick up, your jaw just about falls to the floor, too. It’s a rare thing. A recent episode of “Louie,” comedian Louis CK’s fantastic FX show, has received a lot of attention and praise for portraying a fat female character as something other than a punchline.

CK has received accolades for his takes on everything from cultural issues to personal ones. He’s hailed as one of our generation’s comedic geniuses, and rightly so. However, it seems much of the praise he gets for tackling topics like race and gender belies an implicit preference we have for our information on these issues — while we like to hear progressive stances on things like racial and gender inequality, we’d still prefer they come from white men.

Of course, the main reason people defer to Louis CK’s perspective on these subjects is because he’s extraordinarily gifted, not because he’s white and male. But it’s interesting to me that CK’s “stances” on these issues, hailed as groundbreaking — that being white in America is easy, that being a fat woman is tough — are not new comedic premises. They’re things non-white-male performers have been saying since they took the stage. It’s not that I think CK should stop talking about it, because I’m grateful for his perspective. I’m just uncomfortable with how much easier it is for people to swallow these ideas when they come out of his mouth than out of the mouths of the people he’s actually talking about.

I think the problem, like all problems in 2014, can be illustrated by a terrible Upworthy headline. The website posted a clip of CK’s excellent bit about white privilege on their website under the headline “Sometimes It Takes A White Dude To Get Real About Racism.” It should be obvious why that’s ridiculous. Non-White Dudes have been “Getting Real” about Racism for quite awhile. It’s just that for most of history, White Dudes have been lynching them for it. Now, we just accuse them of “making everything about race” instead. A more accurate title for that post: “If A Black Comedian Said This, He’d Be Stuck Doing Urban Comedy Nights Forever.”

It isn’t just issues of race. CK also frequently deals with gender inequality in his work in a way that is hailed as unprecedented — particularly his take on women’s vulnerability to sexual assault. While I’ve seen many women talk about the issues Louie covers onstage, few have been able to achieve mainstream success, and even fewer have been lauded for their incisive social commentary. Why is that?

I think there are a couple things going on — one is the idea that as a person who has not experienced sexism, CK is free to form an “objective” opinion on the issue, rather than having his position tainted by personal bias. But we’re talking about people’s lived experiences. Who better to tell you about how women are treated than an actual woman? Why do we need someone like Louie to make our experiences palatable?

Another issue is the fact that in entertainment culture, white and male are considered “neutral.” All types of audiences are presumed able to identify with white male protagonists, but the idea that people could enjoy a creative work with a different type of person at its center still seems to be novel. These types of creative works are sorted into special interest categories, intended for specific demographics — “chick flicks,” the aforementioned “urban comedy nights,” and so on. They’re the stuff of genre, not of High Culture. As such, they’re precluded from the kind of audience and accolades “Louie” receives. When these works aren’t ignored, they’re usually considered preachy or whiny — they make the audience feel bad.

Louis seems aware of this. On the show, his date tells him, “You can talk about how you’re overweight and it’s adorable, but if I say it, they call the suicide hotline on me.” I get that. I’m a comedian, and a fat woman, and I talk about it onstage. When I use the f-word to describe myself, the audience gets uncomfortable. They “Awwww” at me sympathetically, but the last thing I want is pity. I want laughter and, hopefully, understanding. I don’t want someone else to have to mediate that understanding for me.

Kath Barbadoro is an Austin, Tex. based stand up comedian.

TIME movies

Questions I Wish I Could Ask the Baby From Neighbors

Neighbors Poster

The true stars of Neighbors can't do an interview — but here's what we would have asked

In this poster for the new movie Neighbors, out May 9, the text makes it clear that Seth Rogen and Zac Efron are the stars. But as you may notice, that’s not a picture of either of them.

Instead, that’s a picture of Stella, the baby who makes Rogen’s character care that the frat-dudes next door won’t keep it down. She’s played by Elise and Zoey Vargas — as with most on-screen infants, two babies play the one role — and, despite the major comedy chops of her co-stars, she steals the show.

Though my colleague Richard Corliss was disappointed that she functions as a comedy prop rather than a character — and yes, she does go some kind of scary places where a non-prop baby ought not — she does have comedy bona fides when she’s allowed to shine. If she were old enough to talk, it could be a break-out performance — the kind an entertainment journalist would love to highlight. Unfortunately, however, the Mses. Vargas are not available for interviews. (I checked.) And, even if they were making a tour of the junket circuit, it’s tough to do a Q&A with an infant. (I assume.)

So, in lieu of such an Q&A, here are the Qs I would have asked them if they could talk:

What attracted you to this project?

What were your first impressions upon reading the script?

Who are your comedy influences?

Did you get any career advice from the veteran actors with whom you were working?

Did the director give you any room to improvise?

That scene where you roll over in the crib has some pretty impressive timing…

You’re welcome. Did you have to do a lot of takes on that one?

Stanislavski or Meisner?

Who has a smoother stroller-pushing technique, Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne or your real-life folks?

How do you feel about the number of funny, female roles available in mainstream Hollywood right now? Is it a tough environment for a comedienne starting out?

It seems like this must have been a pretty fun set. Who was the resident prankster?

Oh, really? Whoa.

The world may never know the answers to these questions, as it’s unlikely Elise and Zoey Vargas will remember them by the time they’re old enough to tell (fortunately for the reputation of any on-set pranksters). But there is one question we can answer on their behalf:

What’s next?

Catch Elise and Zoey Vargas as baby Trevor in the upcoming Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, in theaters this October.

TIME Humor

WATCH: Amy Schumer Says This is the Funniest Sketch of the Season


Warning: don't drink water while you watch this scene.


Amy Schumer says this sketch from Episode 5 (which just aired Tuesday night) is her favorite of the whole second season of her Comedy Central Show, Inside Amy Schumer. It doesn’t hurt that her comedian friends Scott Adsit, Parker Posey, and Jim Norton guest-star, and her sister Kim Caramele helped her come up with the most memorable sketch. When you see “Acting Off-Camera,” you’ll see why.

“It was my sister’s idea,” Schumer says of the scene. “Because of union rules or whatever, my sister [Kim Caramele] couldn’t be an official writer this season. But she helped produce this scene. She’s the funniest person I know. And she’s also a producer on the movie I’m making with Judd Apatow.”

At first, Schumer and her team weren’t sure Comedy Central was going to let them put a meerkat vagina on the air. “We wrote it and pictured it but then to see the animation, it was just… AHHH!”

“We were like, ‘okay I have to say that my character has a pussy. It’s an exposed vagina. How can we get them to not blur this animated meerkat vagina?’” she said. “Then we remembered that Tosh [who also has a Comedy Central show] had a bare vagina on one of his episodes.”

BOOM! Equality!

Once you’ve gotten over the vision of Amy Schumer as a grotesque meerkat, the scene is actually pretty spot-on about how some women tend to be overly optimistic when they rationalize the way they look. “Everybody is so ready to think that they’ve made it and they’re gorgeous. I feel like I always think ‘oh maybe I’m really beautiful I just haven’t found the right hairstyle,’” she said. “And so when they’re like ‘it’s you, Jessica Alba, and Megan Fox’ of course I’d be like ‘oh yeah! I could see myself running with those two.’”

For more of Amy Schumer’s thoughts on sex jokes, joking while dating, and her fight over vagina-naming rights, check out the rest of our interview here.

TIME Humor

Here’s What Amy Schumer Thinks About Everything

Celebrities Visit "Late Show With David Letterman" - April 1, 2014
Amy Schumer arrives for the "Late Show with David Letterman" at Ed Sullivan Theater on April 1, 2014 in New York City. Donna Ward—Getty Images

"We had a really dark couple of years in our house and we would just laugh about it... the most awful stuff makes me laugh, and I think it's probably because of that," says the Comedy Central star about the origins of her sense of humor

Inside Amy Schumer is the funniest sketch show on Comedy Central, and maybe even all of television. On the eve of what Schumer promises is the best episode of her second season, she spoke to TIME about pushing the boundaries of cable TV, plastic surgery, and what happens when female comedians date.

Amy on what her parents did to make such funny kids:

[Schumer's sister Kim Caramele is also a comedy writer, and a producer on Schumer's next movie. Her brother is also funny.]

“It’s a combination of a naturally good sense of humor and also a good amount of pain at a young age. We had a really dark couple of years in our house and we would just laugh about it. My dad got M.S., then we went bankrupt, and then my parents split up and we moved a lot. I have such a dark sense of humor and the most awful stuff makes me laugh, and I think it’s probably because of that.”

On women making sex jokes:

“I do want women to feel comfortable with themselves as sexual beings, and I don’t think anyone should have to apologize for that or act like ‘oh no, I’m a girl, I only want to have sex if its to make a baby.’ But I’m just being myself. This is the stuff I think is so funny and I want to talk about.”

On how her sex jokes affect her love life:

“I think men are men, so it’s really hard to stop them from doing something that they want to do. But I think it has made guys a little guarded and a little hesitant. From some people it has created a skittishness, and a wondering, like ‘how slutty is this girl? Am I gonna get a disease?’

I’m luckily someone who doesn’t have any diseases. But that’s just the price that I decided to pay. I’m not someone who wants to live in a way that would make me the most appealing, and operates only for that reason. So I’m just gonna be honest. And I’m really only interested in someone who would appreciate that, instead of being scared.”

On the guys she jokes about:

“Any guy I’ve ever joked about, I’ve always asked if it was okay with them. I don’t ever say anyone’s name, but I always ask ‘is it cool with you if I talk about this?’ and sometimes they say no and I say ‘okay,’ and I don’t. I’ve always gotten their permission.”

On plastic surgery:

“I’m 32, and I’ve made a promise to myself to not get plastic surgery. And I don’t think that it’s wrong, I don’t think it’s stupid, I’m just really scared of the needle and stuff. And I just think things can go so wrong.

I know a lot of female comedians who have had plastic surgery. Most of the ones that are the most successful have. It’s nobody you’d be shocked by. It’s hard to be a girl, you’re judged so much on your appearance, you’re onstage being looked at, you’re on camera, it’s hard. I’m just like, ‘this is what I look like.’ Sometimes I’ll say that in the mirror, ‘This is what you look like. Youre beautiful, this is it. You’re a good person.’

I’m lucky because I grew up pretty delusional about how attractive I was. I was blessed with parents who filled my head with lies.”

On her next big project:

“It’s a movie called Train Wreck and it’s about me. It’s about a girl who’s getting into her 30s and her behavior just isn’t cute anymore. Her defense mechanisms are catching up to her. Bill Hader plays my love interest, and Judd Apatow is directing. My sister is helping on it also.

It’s very funny and very real, and people will be able to relate to it, even if they don’t want to admit it.”

On what to call certain body parts on TV:

“We fought to not have the word ‘pussy’ bleeped out this season. We’re talking about it just as a body part, not as a sexual term. So I’m very proud of that.

“It was important to me and to Jessi Klein (the head writer and executive producer) and to Dan Powell (the other EP) because it’s just such a part of our show. And you can say ‘dick’ and they don’t bleep that. The word ‘pussy’ has just become a word for the vagina. So we were like: ‘I don’t think we should have to bleep that.’ We weren’t gonna have a filibuster about it, but we wanted to discuss it. We told Comedy Central ‘we think this,’ and they were like ‘no’ and we were like, ‘no, we want to talk about it.’ So we had a phone call with them, and they were like ‘yeah, we thought about it, you’re right, and we’re not gonna bleep it.’ They were very cool about it.”

Stay tuned for more from Amy Schumer on why tonight’s episode is her favorite. Plus she has stuff to say about meerkats.



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