March 8, 2010 in Features

Hail to the phony chiefs

Jake Coyle Associated Press

(Full-size photo)

The comedians who played presidents on “Saturday Night Live” have gathered for a comedic summit in a new Web video on

It stars Fred Armisen as President Barack Obama. During the night he is visited by the ghosts of presidents past, who urge him to push for financial reform.

Will Ferrell reprises his President George W. Bush, Darrell Hammond plays President Bill Clinton, Dana Carvey returns as President George H.W. Bush, Dan Aykroyd plays President Jimmy Carter and Chevy Chase returns as President Gerald Ford.

Jim Carrey, the lone comedian not a veteran of “SNL,” appears as Ronald Reagan. The “SNL” player who typically played Reagan on the show was Phil Hartman, who died in 1998.

Maya Rudolph, another former “SNL” cast member, plays Michelle Obama.

The video was directed by Ron Howard, who previously worked with Funny Or Die for a popular video that brought him back to his days with “The Andy Griffith Show” and “Happy Days” to support Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.

The new video was also created with a political motive, made in association with Americans for Financial Reform, a pro-regulation coalition of labor and consumer activists.

“All it’s meant to do is capture the attention, present a question and stimulate some thought,” Howard says

As for the filming, he adds, “It was a blast. There was a lot of experimentation, a lot of ad-libbing.

“I actually felt like now I understand a little bit when you get to manage or coach an all-star game.”

The birthday bunch

Actress Lynn Redgrave is 67. Musician-actor Micky Dolenz (the Monkees) is 65. Actor Aidan Quinn is 51. Actress Camryn Manheim is 49. Actor Freddie Prinze Jr. is 34. Actor James Van Der Beek is 33.

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