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Posts tagged as al franken

Saturday Night's Children: Al Franken (1977-1980; 1985-1986; 1988-1995)

Saturday Night Live has been home to over a hundred cast members throughout the past 38 years. In our column Saturday Night’s Children, we present the history, talent, and best sketches of one SNL cast member every other week for your viewing, learning, and laughing pleasure.

SNL has a long history of pitting two groups together to create comedy gold: the untamed, brash Chicago improv troupers and the pompous nerds of Harvard. Tina Fey put it nicely in a 2011 New Yorker piece when she wrote "If Harvard is Classical Military Theory, Improv is Vietnam." While the Harvardlings mostly occupy writing positions at SNL (see Conan O'Brien and [...]

The Lost Weekend Update Anchors

Weekend Update is by far the longest running segment in Saturday Night Live's history, with the anchor position being one of the most coveted gigs on the show. Since the fake news sketch debuted in the show’s very first episode (then hosted by Chevy Chase), it’s been featured in just about every episode of the show (except for during the Lorne Michaels-less era in the early 80’s when it was retitled SNL Newsbreak and Saturday Night News). Weekend Update holds an important place in comedic history in that it served as the spiritual predecessor to other pieces of faux-journalism that came to dominate American comedy in the 21st century [...]

Al Franken Eulogizes Tom Davis

This is beautiful and sad and tough and a bit fun. Franken spends a good bit of the speech talking about the process of writing and making comedy with Tom, focusing on SNL and the famous Julia Child sketch. It's a really great watch. While you're spending time with Franken, read this crazy story by a BoingBoing writer about the time he met with Franken for a job interview, minutes after Phil Hartman was killed. Then maybe watch the Julia Child sketch below, for something a bit more upbeat and Friday friendly.

8 Memorable Political Campaigns by Comedians

A comedian running for political office – a scenario once more suited for a mediocre Robin Williams vehicle than real life – has become a growing trend in recent years. Roseanne Barr, who announced she was running for president on The Tonight Show earlier this month, is the latest comedian to throw her hat into the ring, but this is far from an isolated incident. Although comedians have been running for office with both serious and mock campaigns since the 1960s, the intensified intersection of pop culture and politics in the 24 hour cable news era has seen an uptick in the number of funny women and men [...]

Al Franken Is Making Washington Laugh Behind the Scenes

"The Republicans, I think, at first were a little like, ‘Oh, he’s a satirist who uses scorn and ridicule against Republicans,’ and then after they got to meet me, they were like, ‘Oh, he’s a comedian… He’s got a good sense of humor. He likes to laugh. I get it.’ And that kind of went away, that first initial trepidation, I think went away very quickly.” - Senator Al Franken on how he's been able to use his professionally honed sense of humor to make friends in Washington. It's part of a very interesting piece on Franken, whose comedy is now primarily relegated to private meetings, which is a [...]

When Comedians Go Into Politics

Employment opportunities for comedians, once they get tired of the rat race of shows and pilots and tours, are wide-ranging: novelist, skull vodka retailer, insurance company spokesman, disgraced ex-insurance company spokesman, etc.

But some comedians, mad as hell and not going to take it anymore, have chosen to go into politics, a la the 2006 Robin Williams vehicle Man of the Year. And unlike Man of the Year, sometimes it turns out to not be a totally terrible experience!