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Tuesday, 26 March 2019 03:50 am

‘Mr Cool’ Barack Obama makes it big in pop culture

BARACK Obama may have become world famous for being America’s first black president, but he is now immortalised as a pop culture icon.

Obama – nicknamed Mr Cool from The New Yorker – appears on celebrity talk shows, has 21,514,916 Twitter followers and even weighs in on the latest Hollywood gossip.

It didn’t begin well.

During the lead up to the 2008 election, former Republican candidate John McCain mocked Obama’s popularity and celebrity status in a campaign advert.

The ad started with flashing pictures of Obama amongst images of Paris Hilton and Britney Spears and called him the biggest celebrity in the world.

In 2009, Obama made history again by became the first sitting President to appear as a guest on a late night talk show.

The debut on the “Tonight with Jay Leno” show didn’t go so smoothly and it could have been his last.

He talked about the US economy and joked about being a bad bowler, which sparked controversy when he inadvertently insulted the disabled.

At the end of the 40 minute appearance the President talked about how he’s gotten better at bowling and has been practising in the White House bowling alley.

It’s “like the Special Olympics or something,” the president said.

When asked about the remark, the White House said the president did not intend to offend.

But the experience did not to deter him and he has gone on to develop a comfortable rapport on chat-show couches.

Since then he has appeared on The View, the daily show with Jon Stewart, The Late Show with David Letterman and Ellen, even making joint appearances with wife Michelle on Oprah,left, and The View.

Obama has had movies and a musical made about his life and is often depicted in cartoons like Family Guy,  right, TV shows such as Saturday Night Live, and in films, for example a portrayal of him in Bollywood movie My Name is Khan.

He has also become an artists’ muse by becoming the subject of many portraits.

Artist Alex Ross created a print of Obama as Superman entitled “Time for a Change”,left, which led to a slew of Superman/Obama-related pop art.

This was picked up on by the media and the president himself, and was something he commented on at the 2008 Alfred Smith memorial foundation dinner.

“Contrary to the rumours you have heard, I was not born in a manger. I was actually born on Krypton and sent here by my father, Jor-El, to save the planet Earth.”

Recently, the President has offered his opinions on the latest Hollywood gossip.

In an interview with E! TV and Y100 Miami, he commented on the “American Idol” Mariah Carey/ Nicki Minaj Feud.

Obama: “I think that they are going to be able to sort it out. I am confident. I am all about bringing people together. Working for the same cause. So, I think that both outstanding artists are going to be able to make sure that, you know, they’re moving forward and not going backwards”

He preferred Mariah because he had met her when she sang at some of his events.

But as if the 51-year-old dad of two couldn’t get any cooler, he added: “Nicki, I don’t know, but I’ve got her on my iPod.”

IMAGES: Reuters, Ap Photo/The White House Pete Souza, FOX, Alex Ross,

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is a Whitireia journalism student.
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