clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Watch: Samantha Bee breaks President Obama with a terrible millennial impersonation

Alex Abad-Santos is a senior correspondent who explains what society obsesses over, from Marvel and movies to fitness and skin care. He came to Vox in 2014. Prior to that, he worked at the Atlantic.

Samantha Bee spent her Halloween terrorizing the president.

When Barack Obama visited Full Frontal on Monday night, the host greeted him by holding a flashlight to her face (the way people do when telling scary stories) and taunting him with scenarios like "Supreme Court Justice Corey Lewandowski" and "Speaker of the House Louie Gohmert," spoken in a vaguely Eastern European accent.

"That was pretty scary. I’m not sure if I’m going to sleep well tonight." Obama replied to Bee’s nightmare hypotheticals.

"None of us are," she said.

Bee’s antics were tempered by an earnest Obama, and throughout their exclusive interview — a big get for Bee — she asked questions about climate change, Obama’s legacy, what birtherism would look like if a female president were elected, and the president’s gray hair ("Are those cobwebs?").

The resulting segment was a mix of awkwardness and geekery, with an underlying theme of "get out the vote" PSA aimed at young people.

"This year, I’m going as a witch [for Halloween]," Bee says to Obama at the start of interview, commemorating the holiday. "I’m a woman on television and I’m over 40 so I’m already in costume. Where’s yours?"

"I’m dressed up as what happens when young people vote." Obama replies.

"Someone gets really old, really fast." Bee says, cracking a line about the president’s hair, which has famously turned grayer and grayer during his eight years in office. "So you are a father of a college student sitting down with a 47-year-old mother of three — if this was your best idea to get young people to vote, what was your worst idea?"

Obama and Bee — who has never been shy about her politics — wanted to make a point about the importance of voter turnout in this election, especially as it pertains to young people. In a swing state like North Carolina, young people tend to vote differently (Democrat) than the older generation (Republicans). They helped secure the state for Obama in the 2008 race. And what really drove the point home was Bee’s hilarious impersonation of a millennial voter.

"Because it’s like, I don’t even know, like, if there’s any point in voting," Bee said, with a pronounced vocal fry that earned chuckles from Obama. "Like, they’re both so totally flawed. Like, don’t you think it’s time to upend the whole system and blow everything up?"

Throughout the interview, Bee and Obama repeatedly explained what happens when young people don’t vote: Donald Trump. They also tenuously joked about what will happen to Obama’s legacy if Trump wins: that everything he’s worked for will be overturned. And Bee couldn’t help but ask if the president had one last jab in him to throw at the Donald.

"After you leave office, have you ever thought about whispering in Donald Trump’s ear, ‘You were right. I wasn’t born here.’ Just to mess with him?" Bee asks.

"I think it’s fair to say that I will be organizing my post-presidency where I’m not close enough to him to whisper in his ear." Obama said.

Sign up for the newsletter Today, Explained

Understand the world with a daily explainer plus the most compelling stories of the day.