When he slow-jammed the news
Obama first took part in Jimmy Fallon’s “Slow-Jam the News” segment in 2012 during his campaign for reelection. Four years later, during the 2016 campaign, the “Preezy of the United Steezy” came back for more topical slow-jams, this time recapping the successes of his two terms in office. “In short, climate change is real, healthcare is affordable, and love is love,” Obama said, to which Fallon replied, “Commander-in-PREACH!”
When he dropped the mic at the White House Correspondents' Dinner
Trump made headlines when he opted not to attend the first White House Correspondents’ Dinner of his presidency; at that time a year ago, Obama attended his last “nerd prom” in office, delivering a memorable address in which he joked about the 2016 election, complimented FLOTUS Michelle Obama, and poked fun at himself. “It has been an honor and a privilege to work side by side with you to strengthen our democracy,” he concluded. “And with that, I just have two more words to say: Obama out.” The president dropped the mic, and the crowd went wild.
When he appeared on Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee
Jerry Seinfeld deemed Obama funny enough to qualify as a comedian, so the president was his guest in the 2015 season 7 premiere of the sitcom star’s online talk show. In the episode, Obama talked about cars, anonymity, and the great satisfaction to be found in dropping a well-placed curse word (or a few).
When he traded insults on Between Two Ferns
President Obama appeared on Zach Galifianakis’ talk show to promote the Affordable Care Act in 2014 and had no trouble matching the comedian’s deadpan insults and holding his awkward pauses. “What is it like to be the last black president?” Galifianakis asked, to which Obama replied, “Seriously? What’s it like for this to be the last time you ever talk to a president?” When pressed about what a bummer it is he couldn’t run for a third term, the president mused, “It’d be sort of like doing a third Hangover movie. Didn’t really work out very well, did it?”
When he ran wild on Running Wild
Obama went into survival mode to raise awareness of the effects of climate change in a 2015 episode of Running Wild with Bear Grylls. He called his day with the TV adventurer “one of the best days of my presidency” for two reasons: “First of all, I’m not in the office. Second of all, I’m not wearing a suit.” Here’s a third reason to love it: This selfie.
When he slurped noodles with Anthony Bourdain
Anthony Bourdain took President Obama on a culinary adventure in Vietnam in 2016, where the pair ate bun cha, a local Hanoi specialty. “If you have an important state function after, you might not want to go too heavy on the garlic,” jet-setting foodie Bourdain advised as they loaded up their bowls with pork, noodles, vinegar, and chilies. “You know what, I’m going with this thing,” Obama replied, undeterred. “We’re going to do what’s appropriate.”
When he and Michelle danced to "Thriller"
On their last Halloween in office, President and First Lady Obama led a “Thriller” dance party with thousands of Washington, D.C. trick-or-treaters who showed up at the White House.
When he weighed in on Drake and Kendrick
In a 2016 interview with YouTube creators, Obama had to answer some tough pop culture questions (and for the record, if he were a Star Wars character, he would be Han Solo) and was asked to settle a crucial rap debate: Drake or Kendrick Lamar? “You gotta go with Kendrick,” the President said. “I think Drake is an outstanding entertainer, but Kendrick, his lyrics — his last album was outstanding. Best album, I think, last year.”
When he was a diehard Trekkie
President Obama has proven his true Trekkie status over and over: When he proudly flashed the Vulcan salute with groundbreaking Trek actress Nichelle Nichols during a White House visit in 2012; when he honored Leonard Nimoy upon the actor’s death in 2015 with a statement declaring, “I loved Spock”; and in 2016, when he listed the original series among his essential sci-fi picks for WIRED. Live long and prosper, 44.