A Trump administration COVID ad campaign blacklisted Zach Galifianakis for previously refusing to invite Trump to star on Between Two Ferns.
Actor and comedian Zach Galifianakis was reportedly blocked from a COVID-19 advertising campaign because Donald Trump wasn’t asked to be on Galifianakis’ Between Two Ferns series. The campaign was intended to raise the spirits of Americans during the pandemic.
Since 2008, Galifianakis has hosted his satirical interview series in which he plays a clueless and arrogant version of himself. Between Two Ferns’ stripped-down aesthetic literally meant that Galifianakis and his celebrity guests sat in chairs between two ferns. Regardless of the profile of the guest, Galifianakis was always rude, resulting in hilariously awkward moments. All the celebrities involved took the fun in stride, and Galifianakis even managed to get former U.S. president Barack Obama to join him, as well as 2016 presidential hopeful Hilary Clinton. Though there hasn’t officially been a new episode of the series since 2018, Galifianakis released a feature film adaptation of it on Netflix last year. Between Two Ferns: The Movie received generally positive reviews from fans and critics alike, increasing the profile of the series and offering a decent share of laughs along the way.
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According to The New York Times, however, one guest that Galifianakis declined to have on the show was current U.S. president, Donald Trump. This refusal to give Trump the spotlight has apparently resulted in Galifianakis being banned from taking part in a reported $265 million COVID ad campaign from the Trump administration. The strategy was billed as a “star-studded campaign to lift American spirits” and when previously asked by The Los Angeles Times if Trump could ever be a guest on Between Two Ferns, Galifianakis had replied:
“Doing it the other way doesn’t interest me. He’s the kind of guy who likes attention — bad attention or good attention. So you’re dealing with a psychosis there that’s a little weird. I wouldn’t have somebody on that’s so mentally challenged. I feel like I’d be taking advantage of him. And you can print that.”
The comment seems to have found its way to Trump, who, never one to take any criticism of himself or his public profile lightly, barred Galifianakis from taking part in the campaign. Though the Trump administration’s plan was to lift the spirits of Americans during the difficult and lengthy pandemic battle, the campaign apparently wasn’t intended to bring joy to all Americans. When deciding who would or wouldn’t be invited to join the pricey publicity stunt, those who’d previously ridiculed or criticized Trump, as well as those who supported gay rights and same-sex marriage, were stricken from the roster. The campaign was never completed or released.
It’s ironic that the Trump administration saw fit to exclude Galifianakis from the COVID campaign, mainly because The Hangover star never asked to be a part of it in the first place. What’s more, given that Galifianakis isn’t a Trump supporter and that he does support LGBTQ+ rights, it would have been highly unlikely for him to have ever wanted to take part in the current administration’s idea of spirit-raising. And of course, as far as Galifianakis fans are likely concerned, the star’s refusal to allow Trump on Between Two Ferns is more uplifting than any pro-Trump, anti-LGTBQ+ campaign ever could have been.
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