Al Franken Returns to Comedy

In enemy territory, Minnesota senator cracks wise on Trump and his cohorts

Minnesota Sen. Al Franken has avoided public displays of humor during his time in the Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Minnesota Sen. Al Franken has avoided public displays of humor during his time in the Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Posted July 21, 2016 at 1:41pm

Al Franken’s long years of comedy omertà are over.  

The former “Saturday Night Live” star has been resolutely serious since arriving in Washington as Minnesota’s junior senator in 2009.  

By speaking mainly to the local press and eschewing humor in speeches, Franken may have boosted his stature as a statesman but it came at the cost of ceding the title of his state’s funniest lawmaker to Amy Klobuchar, Minnesota’s senior senator.  

Dropped behind enemy lines in Cleveland as an official scold for the Democrats, Franken has been joshing with passers-by and cracked jokes on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Thursday.   

Franken deadpanned that his job in Cleveland was “to make it clear that I don’t like Ted Cruz. That’s it — goodbye.”  

When asked about the most surprising thing about Cleveland, Franken responded: “How ugly it is,” drawing boos from patrons in the local pub that is serving as the temporary home for “Morning Joe.”  

Clarifying that the ugliness referred to the convention, and not the “beautiful town” itself, Franken won the crowd back.  

And then, perhaps most significantly, he followed his comedian instincts to carry on with a successful riff, opining that the audience “are very easy — and very dumb.”  

Still, Franken said he understands why Cruz held back on an endorsement of Donald Trump Wednesday: If the guy who won the nomination “says that your dad has something to do with killing Kennedy, perhaps you don’t endorse him.”  

Later, Franken turned up a Democratic National Committee gathering in the city’s warehouse district and tossed a few more barbs at the Republicans and their vice presidential nominee, Mike Pence.  

“The one good thing about Pence’s speech is it was refreshing to see someone say something good about Trump who wasn’t actually related to him or stood to inherit a lot of money,” he said. ”That’s it for the good stuff.”  

Franken also promised reporters that he would get to the bottom of the matter of Hillary Clinton’s potential Satanist tendencies.  

“We saw a former candidate compare Hillary to, or say she’s in the thrall of, inherently, Lucifer,” he noted. “We’re working on disproving it and we’ll get back to you on that later.”


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