Post-Presidency, Starring Barack Obama

If you’re like me, you’re counting down the days until Barack Obama vacates the White House (at the time of this writing only 35 days, 19 hours, 43 minutes, 30 seconds).  Finally, we won’t have to watch Barack cry over gun control or listen to Michelle Obama tell us to vote for a woman because she’s a woman, right?  Not so fast.  The Obamas are walking out of the White House and into Hollywood.

That Obama is planning to publicly defend his legacy is a well-known fact, facilitated by his upcoming living arrangements -- the Obamas will have a home in Washington DC and one in Rancho Mirage, a quick flight away from Hollywood.  The president carefully picked these locations, one allowing easy access to the political press corps, the other convenient to an unprecedented career in showbiz.  The outgoing commander in chief has used his status as president to become a celebrity, reverse engineering the careers of Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump, and I don’t believe he’s done yet.

The entertainment industry has spent the last eight years telling us that Obama is the coolest president ever, contrasting that assessment with George W. Bush, whom they painted as a mentally challenged cowboy.  Now, Hollywood is waiting with open arms for Obama to be free from the decorum of his high office.  We are heading into uncharted post-presidency territory, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t hazard a guess at what the situation will be like.

Here are four unprecedented roles Obama could take on:

  1. Barack Obama ESPN analyst

ESPN collectively gushes every time Obama mentions sports.  The failing network broadcasts him filling out a March Madness bracket every year and even hosted him live on The Undefeated.  It’s easy to imagine Obama starting out with a First Take appearance -- Stephen A. Smith already threw down the challenge -- and regularly appearing on other shows as a guest analyst.  He’s already on record with his 2016-2017 NBA and NFL champion predictions, so he may as well collect a paycheck from ESPN to repeat them.

  1. Barack Obama NBA Celebrity All-Star

Everyone knows that Obama loves to play basketball.  He sent his education secretary Arne Duncan to represent him in four of the games, and in 2017 the president will be a civilian again, so he can go himself.  A White House petition to convince him to play in the game only got a little over 1,700 signatures, but when has he ever let the will of the people get in his way?  If he won’t lower himself to play with common celebrities, he could still coach one of the teams.  As one sportswriter put it, “Often derided by critics as a hobnobbing ‘Celebrity President,’ POTUS’ participation in the actual celebrity game would be a fun way to stick it to them.”

  1. Barack Obama SNL host

Obama thinks he’s a comedian.  Obama’s media sycophants think he’s a comedian.  It only makes sense that politically charged SNL would have him host an episode.  When he’s crafting his opening monologue, he can draw on his White House Press Dinner experience, where his jokes hit so hard, supposedly they inspired Donald Trump to get revenge by becoming president.  And this time Obama won’t need to filter anything through Michael Keegan Key’s Luther the anger translator character.

  1. Barack Obama late-night television show host

Why stop at hosting SNL?  Obama could take over the next open late-night show.  He is, after all, the first sitting president to appear on such a show, and he continued by pioneering presidential visits on shows like Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis and Samantha Bee’s Full Frontal.  Obama didn’t let his job title stop him from sitting down with Trevor Noah on Comedy Central or going on Marc Maron’s WTF podcast.  Obama has already blazed the trail -- why wouldn’t he keep following to its end?

And let’s not forget about Michelle Obama.  If you believe what Barack Obama says, the first lady will not be running for office in the future, but she will need something to keep her busy.  She leveraged her position into a cameo on NBC’s Parks and Recreation, and she’s made the rounds of the late-night shows.  Imagine the impact she could have on daytime TV with her own talk show.

Even if the Obamas surprise us and stay relatively quiet, we can be sure that the media will fall all over themselves to cover every available microdetail of the outgoing first family’s post-presidency life.  And based on the Obamas’ time in Washington, it seems to logically follow that Barack and Michelle will not shy away from the cameras and open mics.  While the Bushes piddle around on their Texas ranch and console Jeb, and the Clintons go back to their sleazy fundraising, the Obamas will be bigger than the Kardashians on steroids.

Brace yourselves. The Obamas aren’t going anywhere.