On Kimmel, Obama Talks Kanye, UFOs, Mean Tweets ... and Ferguson

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President Obama appears on Jimmy Kimmel Live on March 12, 2015.Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

We know President Obama is fond of tackling serious subjects on comedy shows, from dissecting the Benghazi attack on The Daily Show to talking about rape on the Tonight Show, but his Jimmy Kimmel Live! appearance on Thursday night was still one of his weirdest — and most amusing — late-night interviews. While we’ve mainly seen the comic stylings of the commander-in-chief during campaign season (or when he’s desperate to get people to sign up for health insurance), he didn’t even plug anything until the show’s third segment, when he brought up the Student Aid Bill of Rights. (He was making up for an appearance that was canceled last summer, which may explain that.) Instead, the interview mainly consisted of Obama bantering with Kimmel about what it’s like to be president, with a break in the middle to address the shooting of two police officers in Ferguson, Missouri, and the nation’s ongoing quest for racial equality.

After a few questions about the Obama family’s social media habits (Malia and Sasha are often warned that they “don’t want to be on TMZ”), Kimmel suddenly brought up last night’s shooting. “I think that what had been happening in Ferguson was oppressive and objectionable and was worthy of protest, but there was no excuse for criminal acts, and whoever fired those shots shouldn’t detract from the issue,” Obama said. “They’re criminals, they need to be arrested.”

What we have to make sure of is that the folks who disregard and disrespect the other side, people who resort to violence, that they’re marginalized,” Obama continued. “But they’re not the majority, and in the same way that you can’t generalize about police officers who do an extraordinarily tough job, overwhelmingly, they do it professionally, you can’t generalize about protesters who it turns out had some very legitimate grievances.”

Kimmel said he “can’t imagine how frustrating that must be,” because he feels like cops are “just trying to make money off of me” when he gets unfair parking tickets in L.A.— it makes him “crazy,” even without the systematic racial discrimination! Obama pivoted back to Ferguson, concluding, “We’ve got to constantly — when we’re thinking about issues of racial progress, or any kind of issue — recognize that things can get better, but there’s still more work to do. We shouldn’t be complacent about the very real existence of problems out there, but we shouldn’t despair and think nothing’s changed.”

Obviously, it’s a very serious issue that Obama has— hey, want to see the president read some mean tweets?!

When he wasn’t discussing America’s history of racial injustice, the president was delivering one-liners about everything from UFOs to Hillary Clinton’s email to Kanye West. Here’s are the president’s thoughts…

On the relatively tame anti-Obama tweets he was asked to read:
“Those weren’t that mean. I’ve gotta tell you, you should see what the Senate says about me.”

On giving Kimmel Hillary’s email address:
“I can’t share it with you. I don’t think she’d want you to have it, frankly.”

On how it’s unlikely that Kimmel will ever be elected president:
“You never know. It was unlikely that I was going to be president.”

On Kimmel’s revelation that the first thing he would do as president is go through all the files on Area 51 and UFOs:
“That’s why you will not be president.”

On President Clinton’s claim that he went through the secret files on extraterrestrials and found nothing:
“That’s what we’re instructed to say.”

On whether he can walk to the White House kitchen in his underwear:
“I mean, I could, but I don’t.”

On whether he ever drives:
Obama: “I cannot drive — I mean I’m able to drive.”

Kimmel: “Is that because you don’t have a birth certificate?”

Obama: “In Kenya we drive on the other side of the road.”

On Kanye’s claim that he can “call Obama out of the blue. Obama calls the home phone, by the way”:
I’ve met Kanye twice. The first time when I was a senator and he was with his mom and he had just gotten big. He’s from Chicago, so they wanted to meet, and he was very soft-spoken, very gracious … He was a young guy and hadn’t quite come into his own. And then, about six months ago, he came to an event, and — look, I love his music, he’s incredibly creative. I don’t think I’ve got his home number.

The whole appearance was pretty funny, and it proved that Frank Underwood’s terrible performance on the Colbert Report is the main reason his presidency is in trouble. (We’re behind on House of Cards, but presumably this is what the rest of the season is about.)