Lessons Learned from Between Two Ferns: Use humor to make a point

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What You’ll Learn:: 

In 2013, President Obama's top legislative priority appeared headed for disaster. Then the president appeared on a YouTube talk show hosted by a comedian best known for playing a weird loner in The Hangover. The day the video was posted online, it was shared by 11 million people. Unique visits to Healthcare.gov increased 40%—and the narrative around Obamacare began to change. Not everyone can star in a viral video with Zach Galifianakis, but anyone can use humor to reach new audiences with their message.

Key Takeaways:

  • Figure out which issues lend themselves to humor, and which don't
  • Write an effective joke, even if you're "not funny"
  • Amplify the effect of humor
  • Balance comedy with message
  • Maximize your chances to create content that goes viral
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Broadcast: 
October 2016
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Presenter bio: 

David Litt was a White House speechwriter from 2011 to 2016. Described as "an unlikely comic muse for the president," David led four of President Obama's White House Correspondents' Dinners, writing the annual speech dubbed "the State of the Union of Jokes." As the president's primary in-house joke writer, David collaborated on videos with Funny or Die, Buzzfeed, Steven Spielberg, and Veep's Julia Louis-Dreyfus. President Obama's onstage appearance with Keegan-Michael Key's character of "Luther the anger translator," which David helped write, was viewed online more than 42 million times. A 2008 graduate of Yale University, David left the White House in early 2016 to join Funny or Die's DC office as head writer and producer. His memoir about life as a twenty-something in the Obama White House, That Hopey, Changey Thing, will be published by Ecco Press.