Impersonating a gyrating Mick Jagger onstage, using biting humor against Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly, making an impassioned speech about the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy on the Senate floor—Al Franken has done it all. (Read a profile from the March-April issue.) Learn more about the comedic-actor-turned-liberal-politician from the facts below, and, further down, from two videos, one lighthearted and one more serious.
- Franken and his longtime writing partner, Tom Davis, went to the same private high school in Minneapolis, and later performed as comedians at the Brave New Workshop, a satirical theater.
- Harvard bound: Franken received a perfect score (800) on the math section of the SATs.
- Though he was born in New York City, Franken was raised in St. Louis Park, a suburb of Minneapolis – also home of writer Tom Friedman, political pundit Norm Ornstein, and Joel and Ethan Coen, makers of such films as Fargo and No Country for Old Men.
- During their original stint as apprentice writers for Saturday Night Live, Franken and Davis were paid $350 per week—to be split between the two of them.
- Among the sketches Franken and Davis wrote at SNL were “Julia Child Bleeding to Death” (performed by Dan Aykroyd), and “Theodoric of York, Medieval Barber” (performed by Steve Martin).
- At SNL, when a performer needed to be hit by an object tossed from off-camera, Franken was the designated thrower because of his amazingly accurate throwing arm.
- Franken appeared in bed with Arianna Huffington in the “Strange Bedfellows” segment of Bill Maher’s show, Politically Incorrect. Huffington credits Franken with turning her from a conservative Republican to a progressive.
- Franken co-wrote and co-produced When a Man Loves a Woman, the critically-acclaimed movie starrying Andy Garcia and Meg Ryan.
- Franken is the cousin of MSNBC contributor Bob Franken and the brother of photojournalist Owen Franken.
- In 2003, when Franken was a fellow at the Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy, he got in trouble for using Harvard stationery to write letters to then-Attorney General John Ashcroft and other prominent conservative politicians. In the letters, Franken asked recipients to recount their personal experiences in resisting sexual temptation. He said the stories would appear in a book about the virtues of abstinence until marriage, to be titled Savin’ It.
- You can follow him on Twitter: @alfranken
Sources: Yahoo, IMDB, and Wikipedia
Below, watch a campaign commercial in which Franken’s wife, Franni, discuss how he stood by her side during times of need…
…and a video of Franken impersonating Mick Jagger.