In the National’s brand-new video for “Conversation 16,” comedian Kristen Schaal drew perhaps the toughest assignment of her career: She had to play the president, a role that required not only exhaustive research, but an equally exhaustive hairstyle too.
“Well, what I did is I went through several pictures and videos of all the presidents, even George Washington — I found a flipbook — and I studied their demeanors. And you know, you’ve got to play your cards close to your vest as president, so I’ve just got this serious look that I have throughout the video … it took me three weeks to master it,” Schaal told MTV News. “[And] I got my friend to do my hair, and she’s good at hair, so she put it up. I said I wanted it to be up like Janelle Monáe, so it sort of looked like that. Actually, it didn’t look anything like that, but it’s up at least.”
In addition to research and hair, Schaal — who fans know best from her work on “The Daily Show,” HBO’s late, great “Flight of the Conchords” and Fox’s new animated series “Bob’s Burgers” — also said that she dug deep into her collection of “power outfits” for the role in the video (“because a female president would definitely wear a power outfit”), and even gets to have a love interest (“A presidential figure in another country!” she explained). But really, she agreed to play the president based solely on the fact that, well, she’d get to play the president.
“I was at a wedding, and Scott [Jacobson, the video’s director] was like, ’I got some money to do this National video, do you want to be in it?’ And I said, ’Only if I can play the president of the United States,’ ” Schaal explained. “And from there, it spiraled into this story line, and it actually happened, which was incredible. I wish it was that easy to be the president in real life.”
So not only did she agree to appear in the video “for zero dollars,” she walked away with a special personalized gift from the National. Call it a perk of presidential authority.
“The guys in the band play Secret Service agents, and they gave me an autographed record!” Schaal said. “Honestly, I would play the president of the United States for free on any project.”
What do you think of the National’s new video? Tell us in the comments!