It’s the first video from Funny or Die’s new series of pro-Obamacare videos. The above two-minute segment, titled “Scandalous with Jennifer Hudson,” is a playful spoof of Scandal, ABC’s hit political-thriller series starring Kerry Washington. “I prefer covert scandal manager,” Hudson says when people refer to her as a “fixer.” But the main point of the video is to promote the benefits of Obamacare and to show viewers how to sign up. The sketch ends with this image, with the narrator encouraging you to visit the website:
On October 1, the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance exchanges—in which uninsured Americans will be able to buy coverage using federal subsidies—open up for business. While conservative groups are emphasizing doom and government excess (this includes the Koch brothers-backed young-conservatives group Generation Opportunity, which recently released this creepy, sort of rapey anti-Obamacare ad), Funny or Die, Will Ferrell and Adam McKay‘s comedy site, has planned a short series of comedic celebrity web videos aimed at educating American twenty-somethings about the law.
In July, a cluster of Hollywood big-names attended a meeting at the White House to chat about how they could help spread the word about Obamacare. (President Obama swung by for roughly half an hour to mingle and hear some of their ideas.) The meeting was run by senior advisor Valerie Jarrett, who gave a presentation on health care reform and talked about pushing back against conservative memes surrounding the law. Here is Jarrett tweeting about Funny or Die’s Scandal-themed PSA, using the hashtag “#GetCovered,” a hashtag that appears in the video:
— Valerie Jarrett (@vj44) September 30, 2013
And here’s the White House sharing it:
— La Casa Blanca (@lacasablanca) September 30, 2013
Hudson and Mike Farah, president of production and “ambassador of lifestyle,” were both present at the July meeting. “We want to make the right amount of videos—ones that are smart and break through the clutter [and rhetoric],” Farah told Mother Jones. “If we can help make [signing up for Obamacare] a normal thing, something that isn’t politicized, something that comes second nature to younger people (like putting your seatbelt on), that is something we’d want to do…It’s not like one Funny or Die video can change the world—it’d be nice if it could! But people have to hear about this issue from all sorts of directions.”
Funny or Die has generated and promoted Obamacare-related content before, including “The Mis-Informant” (starring Jack Black as a “professional mis-informant who gets paid a buttload of cash” to lie about Obamacare) and “Injured Americans Against Obamacare.” The website pumps out a lot of political satire in general. Shortly after the 2008 election, it released the star-studded “Prop 8 – The Musical.” More recently, Funny or Die produced a sketch warning of the dangers of sequestration, and worked with actress Alyssa Milano on her “sex tape” that turned out to be all about the bloodshed in Syria.