The latest episode of Between Two Ferns was a record-breaking hit for Funny or Die. As first shared by The Hollywood Reporter, the comedic conversation between Zach Galifianakis and Hillary Clinton drew more than 30 million views in its first 24 hours of activity, which is a better first-day performance than any other video in Funny or Die history.
The video’s hot start was primarily driven by two factors: The timing of its release, just days before the first Presidential debate between Clinton and Donald Trump, caused it to resonate across the politically-charged social media landscape. It was further boosted by the fact that it was the first new Between Two Ferns episode in almost two years. The insult-filled web series last showed up on our radar in October 2014, when Galifianakis roasted Brad Pritt and Louis C.K. in his typical cringe-worthy fashion.
“There are a million different things that are in your face all the time,” Funny or Die CEO Mike Farah told The Hollywood Reporter. “Without fail, every time that Ferns comes out, it becomes the thing that everyone is talking about. That’s very rare, so when it happens it should be celebrated.”
Beyond its large view count, the Between Two Ferns episode also rolled up large numbers on social media, receiving 500,000 Facebook shares and 25,000 retweets in its first day. Just four days after its arrival, the episode has already matched the 56 million views President Obama’s Between Two Ferns appearance has received across Funny or Die and YouTube since its 2014 premiere.
Where Obama’s Ferns role had the most noteworthy impact, however, was in its ability to drive traffic to hearthcare.gov. Despite its large view count, Clinton’s episode hasn’t seemed to give her a “Galifianakis bump” in the polls. Perhaps it will help her standing if the bearded Hangover star throws a few insults Donald Trump’s way at tonight’s debate.