¿Qué bolá? Obama jokes with Cuban humorist in video

Obama tried out his comedic chops with some Spanish in a video he made with Cuban humorist Pánfilo


Reuters March 20, 2016
Tourists pass by images of U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro in a banner that reads ''Welcome to Cuba'' at the entrance of a restaurant in downtown Havana, March 17, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

HAVANA: US President Barack Obama tried out his comedic chops with some Spanish in a video he made with Cuban humorist Pánfilo ahead of a historic visit to Havana.

Obama, who has won praise from professional comedians for his comic timing, is due to arrive in Cuba on Sunday.

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He shot a segment from the Oval Office in which he pretends to have a conversation with Pánfilo in Cuba. The two sides of the call were edited together in a video playing on the Havana US embassy's social media feeds and the YouTube channel of an official Cuban media outlet on Saturday.

Pánfilo calls Washington looking for a weather forecast for Tuesday's exhibition game between Cuba's national baseball team and the Tampa Bay Rays, a game Obama will intend.

Instead of getting the weather service he ends up on the phone with Obama, asking if he is really speaking with the president.

"Yes, the real Obama. Who's this?" the president says.

"I'm Pánfilo from Cuba."

"The real Pánfilo? From the TV show?" Obama asks.

Pánfilo is shocked the president knows him, and Obama pretends to be equally star struck.

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"No me digas. ¿Qué bolá?" Obama says in Cuban slang. ("You don't say. What's up?")

Pánfilo then engages the US president in his trademark gentle social satire of Cuban life, joking about old cars and cramped living quarters.

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