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‘Sizeable percentage of leaders probably crazy’ – Obama enjoys cars, coffee with Seinfeld

This framegrab image provided by Crackle and comediansincarsgettingcoffee.com, shows President Barack Obama with Jerry Seinfeld in a scene from a ‘Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.’ (AP)
This framegrab image provided by Crackle and comediansincarsgettingcoffee.com, shows President Barack Obama with Jerry Seinfeld in a scene from a ‘Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.’ (AP)

WASHINGTON, Jan 1, (Agencies): He’s not a comedian and going for a coffee run is out of the question, but Barack Obama has nonetheless starred in an episode of Jerry Seinfeld’s “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.” In the latest in a long line of quirky appearances designed to reach a somewhat hipper audience, the US president features in the opening show of the seventh season of Seinfeld’s popular web series, which was posted late Wednesday.

Obama “has gotten off just enough funny lines to qualify for getting on this show,” Seinfeld muses as the legendary US comedian drives a silver-blue 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray through the White House gates. As the show’s name suggests, Seinfeld ordinarily takes fellow comedians for a drive in an exotic car to a diner or a coffee shop, but a burly Secret Service agent blocks Seinfeld and Obama from leaving the White House grounds.

Instead they drive in circles around the Washington mansion, and then Obama shows off the interior of the presidential armored limousine, nicknamed “The Beast,” before heading into the White House staff restaurant for coffee.

“I could call a nuclear submarine right from here,” Obama quips from inside the car, adding that it has seat warmers.

The two men engage in amusingly banal banter, with Obama revealing he only wears one brand of underwear — and it’s all the same color.

But “it’s not cool, generally, wandering around (the White House) in my underwear,” he jokes.

Obama also reveals that he polls very well with the “zero-to-eight demographic.”

“They love me — partly because they think my ears are big and so I look a little like a cartoon character,” Obama says.

Tension

The viewer also learns that Obama believes a “pretty sizable percent” of world leaders are out of their minds, and that he likes to swear to relieve tension.

The president, who is entering his final year in office, has appeared on several unusual shows, perhaps most notably on “Between Two Ferns” with Zach Galifianakis, in which the deadpan comedian hilariously feigns total ignorance of Obama and his policies.

Obama jokes that his motivation for appearing with Seinfeld is to encourage viewers to sign up for his signature health care program. He makes an awkward pitch at the end of the show.

Obama also recently appeared on an episode of “Running Wild with Bear Grylls” in Alaska to highlight climate change.

Not everyone was amused by the Seinfeld show, however.

“Given all the problems facing our country, doesn’t the office demand better use of the president’s time?” one reader wrote in the comments section on the Hollywood Reporter website.

The episode began airing Wednesday night, and opens with Seinfeld phoning the president. Seinfeld compliments Obama for “cutting all that red tape in Washington” when Obama appears to answer the call directly.

During the course of the show, Obama relishes the thought of some anonymity and describes Teddy Roosevelt as a guy who might be the most fun to hang out with. He says Roosevelt would take a monthlong trip to Yellowstone National Park without anyone knowing where he was.

“Sounds pretty good to me,” Obama said.

“That’s a lot of messages when you get back,” Seinfeld shot back.

The two have some fun at Larry David’s expense. David and Seinfeld co-created the Seinfeld sitcom. At one point, Seinfeld asks how many world leaders are just completely “out of their minds?”

If satirizing the presidential race is supposed to be what makes “Saturday Night Live” stand out during an election year, the data tracking the show’s most popular sketches on YouTube doesn’t prove it.

Good, old fashioned celebrity-themed content still reigns supreme season to date on “SNL.” A Nov 22 sketch featuring a wacky family singing the ubiquitous Adele hit “Hello” was the top draw, with nearly 12.6 million views, according to ListenFirst Media, which monitored through Dec 27 (excluding last season’s sketches from the first half of the year).

Only about 500,000 views behind “A Thanksgiving Miracle” is “Close Encounter,” which featured Ryan Gosling failing to keep a straight face in character as one of a trio disclosing a visit from aliens.

While politics cracks “SNL’s” top 10 at No. 3 with the first sketch in which Larry David unexpectedly played Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, it’s a distant third, clocking in at 8.2 million views. Four other political sketches fill out the top 10, including one featuring Donald Trump himself. The Republican presidential candidate may have correctly noted he’d be a huge TV ratings draw when he appeared on the show in November, but is apparently no match for Larry David online.

While half the top 10 is “SNL” political sketches, many more in that vein failed to compete with the likes of guest star Amy Schumer’s opening monologue and a spoof of “Star Wars” auditions, both of which also were big draws.

“SNL” typically generates big buzz during election years by not only lampooning the candidates making headlines, but attracting the candidates themselves. Hillary Clinton herself, for instance, made it into the top 10 with her October. 4 “SNL” appearance.

Interestingly, no sketches from the final episode of the year, in which Tina Fey and Amy Poehler revived their famous impressions of Sarah Palin and Clinton, respectively, made the Top 10.

While YouTube is likely the most popular place to watch “SNL” sketches online, it isn’t the only one, with NBC.com, Hulu and Yahoo Screen providing other sources to watch the NBC franchise.

Is it possible to live within the walls of Alexandria?

That question is up for debate in the teaser for the midseason return of AMC’s “The Walking Dead.”

The nearly 30-second glimpse at the second half of the apocalyptic drama’s sixth season shows Lauren Cohan’s Maggie seemingly in peril (perhaps in relation to the sight of Steven Yeun’s Glenn taking a gun to a zombie’s temple) and Andrew Lincoln’s blood-cloaked Rick Grimes. Although he’s still alluded to via scenes from the sneak peek that was released earlier this year, the teaser shows no sign of Negan, the new character played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan.

“Negan is the leader of the Saviors. He’s the new biggest threat, possibly the biggest ever threat that’s ever been introduced in the ‘Walking Dead,’” exec producer Robert Kirkman told Variety in November after the midseason finale. “We’ve announced that Jeffrey Dean Morgan is playing him, and he’s an absolutely amazing actor. He checks every box needed for Negan, which is he’s very personable. You like this guy. He’s very funny. But he’s also extremely intimidating. Very powerful. Just a very wide range of personality traits that Negan encompasses. It was very difficult to find somebody who did check all those boxes. But I’m very happy to say Mr. Morgan does. Negan himself is a catalyst who fundamentally changes what we’re doing with ‘The Walking Dead’ and how these characters exist and really messes a lot of things up for Rick in a lot of terrifying ways. There’s a lot of cool stuff in store for the ‘Walking Dead’ fans when he debuts.”

“The Walking Dead” returns at 9 pm Feb 14 on AMC.

Syfy has given a second season to “The Expanse” and is increasing the episode order from 10 to 13 for the futuristic mystery’s sophomore turn, Variety has learned.

The Alcon Television Group series gained traction from an online debut in November that brought in 4.5 million viewers before its official premiere on Dec. 14 on Syfy. The first three episodes that have aired on Syfy have brought in an average 1.6 million P2+ linear viewers (L3).

“’The Expanse’ is firing on all cylinders creatively, building a passionate fan base among viewers and critics alike, and delivering on Syfy’s promise of smart, provocative science fiction entertainment. We can’t wait to see where the story takes us in season two,” said Dave Howe, president of Syfy and Chiller.

Set 200 years in the future, “The Expanse” stars Thomas Jane and Steven Strait as a hardened detective and a rogue ship captain whose unlikely alliance may end up exposing the greatest conspiracy in human history. In her review of the series, Variety critic Maureen Ryan credited the show for being “openly political, and tak on issues of class, representation and exploitation.”

Based on Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck’s series of books written under the pen name James S.A. Corey, “The Expanse” has Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby (“Children of Men,” “Iron Man”) serving as writers, executive producers and showrunners. Executive producer Naren Shankar (“CSI,” “Farscape”) is also showrunning. Alcon finances and produces the series, with co-founders and co-CEOs Andrew Kosove and Broderick Johnson serving as executive producers along with former Alcon TV president Sharon Hall. Alcon TV executive Ben Roberts serves as co-producer. Sean Daniel and Jason Brown of the Sean Daniel Company are also executive producers and Ben Cook serves as a producer. (RTRS)

The US Postal Service will boldly go where it’s gone only once before.

The agency will debut a quartet of “Star Trek” stamps honoring the original TV show’s 50th anniversary. The USS Enterprise, the Starship Enterprise inside an outline of a Starfleet insignia, a silhouette of a crew member being beamed up and a Vulcan salute get adhesive as part of the 2016 stamp roster. The classic icons are set against backgrounds mirroring the colors of the characters’ uniforms from the series.

The USPS also launched “Star Trek”-themed stamps — worth 33 cents — in 1999 as part of its “Celebrate the Century” initiative. The 2016 counterparts are commemorative “Forever” stamps.

“We aren’t Trekkies, but we love the franchise, especially the tone and aesthetic of the original CBS series,” said Jason Kernevich, creative director of The Heads of State, the design team behind the stickies. “As we were working on the art Leonard Nimoy passed, so that created an even stronger connection to the material for us.” (RTRS)

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