Al Franken

From Citizendium
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This article is basically copied from an external source and has not been approved.
Main Article
Related Articles  [?]
Bibliography  [?]
External Links  [?]
Citable Version  [?]
This editable Main Article is under development and subject to a disclaimer.
The content on this page originated on Wikipedia and is yet to be significantly improved. Contributors are invited to replace and add material to make this an original article.

Alan Stuart (Al) Franken (born May, 21 1951 in New York City) is a United States senator representing the state of Minnesota for the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (the Minnesota affiliate of the Democratic Party). He is also a well-known comedian, actor, left-leaning satirist, and author.

Early life

Al was born on May 21, 1951, in New York City.

Saturday Night Live

Al Franken is best known to many for his work on the television show Saturday Night Life (1975-80, 1985-95), where he wrote, directed and performed in hundreds of sketches. He originally started out in a comedy duo called Franken and Davis with fellow comedian Tom Davis.


Franken has written a number of books attacking the political right and American conservatives. In particular, his works have attacked the credibility of Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly and Ann Coulter using a combination of humor and facts. His book titles are often humorous and offensive, as in Lies (and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them): A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right, Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Lair, Don Rumsfeld & Dick Cheney in Hell. One his books, I'm Good Enough, I'm Smart Enough, and Doggone It, People Like Me!:Daily Affirmations By Stuart Smalley is based on his (pathetic) Stuart Smalley self-help character featured often on SNL. Other book titles include The Truth (with Jokes), Oh, the Things I Know, Why Not Me?: The Inside Story He was one of the original hosts of the radio network Air America.


Stuart Saves His Family (DVD) Al Franken - God Spoke (DVD)


Franken's interest in politics developed through the political satire he produced for Saturday Night Live.[1] His first careful but serious examination of politics was his 1999 satirical book Why Not Me?, in which he detailed his candidacy for the presidency. After the death of US Senator Paul Wellstone in a plane crash a few weeks before his re-election bid in 2002, Franken considered becoming more active in politics. In 2004, Franken started hosting a radio talkshow called The Al Franken Show (originally named The O'Franken Factor) on the newly launched liberal talk radio station Air America. Franken told reporters that the goal of his show was to break the conservative monopoly in talk radio, providing a progressive alternative in the hope of "unelecting George W. Bush."[2]

On February 14, 2007, Al Franken announced on the final broadcast of his radio show that he would be running for the U.S. Senate for Minnesota in 2008 for the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL), challenging Republican incumbent Norm Coleman.[3] Al Franken had to compete in the DFL primary against Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer, a university professor, and Mike Ciresi, a lawyer, among others. On September 9, 2008, Franken won the Minnesota primary.

The Minnesota senate election on November 4, 2008 turned out to be unusually close. The vote difference between incumbent Coleman and Franken, who were in a three-way race with former senator Dean Barkley, was only 215 votes or less than 0.5 percent in Coleman's favor. Under Minnesota law a manual recount of the vote was required. On January 5, the recount process became controversial when Minnesota's State Canvassing Board, which oversaw the recount, adjusted the official outcome with Al Franken 225 votes in the lead, and Coleman alleged that the recount standards were not applied equally in all voting districts.[4] Coleman contested the election result the following day, preventing Al Franken from receiving his election certificate. On April 13, a three-judge panel rejected Coleman's contest and declared that Franken was the winner of the election by 312 votes. Coleman appealed the ruling to the Minnesota Supreme Court. On June 30, the court unanimously rejected the appeal and Coleman conceded the election. Franken was sworn in as junior senator from Minnesota on July 7, 2009.[5]


  1. Corliss, Richard (February 14, 2007). Vote for Me, Al Franken. TIME. Retrieved on July 13, 2009.
  2. Shorto, Russell (March 21, 2004). Al Franken, Seriously So. The New York Times. Retrieved on July 13, 2009.
  3. Al Franken Decides He's Good Enough, Smart Enough to Run for Senate, New York Magazine, February 1, 2007. Retrieved on February 16, 2008.
  4. Stern, Christopher. Democrat Franken Wins Minnesota Recount, Coleman Vows Challenge, Bloomberg, January 5, 2009. Retrieved on January 5, 2009.
  5. Fiore, Faye. Al Franken sworn in, with a straight face, Los Angeles Times, July 8, 2009. Retrieved on July 7, 2009.