Quote:Al Franken was born on May 21, 1951. Originally from New York City, his family moved to a small, southern Minnesota town, Albert Lea, where his father opened a quilting factory. Despite his father's best efforts, the venture eventually failed.
At the age of 6, Franken moved to suburbs outside of Minneapolis, where he spent most of his adolescence. Here, he lived in a district known as "St. Louis Park," but, according to Franken, was also known as "St. Jewish Park." Franken's father worked as a printing salesman while his mother became a realtor.
Growing up, Franken was initially a Republican, following in his father's footsteps, who supported men like Herbert Hoover, Alf Landon and Thomas Dewey. However, in the wake of the '60s civil rights movement and Barry Goldwater's staunch opposition to civil rights, Al and his father changed party affiliation. From that time on, both Frankens considered themselves Democrats.
Al Franken began comedy at an early age. While a second grader, Franken watched in horror as a group of girl classmates performed a silly, second grade skit. Seizing the moment, Franken teamed with his boy classmates and wrote a skit mocking the girls. It left his female classmates in tears.
In high school, Franken performed well academically, maintaining an "A" average and participating on his high school wrestling team. He was accepted to Harvard University. During this time, Franken also performed stand-up comedy and stage shows with his partner, Tom Davis, a long-time friend from Minnesota. He was also active in drama clubs on campus. Franken also tried out for the Harvard Lampoon, but was rejected.
Upon graduating from Harvard in 1973 with a degree in general studies, Franken continued performing with Davis. Their witty-yet-raunchy performances, mainly for college crowds, caught the eye of then-unknown Canadian producer Lorne Michaels. Michaels, a fan of Monty Python, was contracted to develop a variety show for NBC. Michaels, seeing talent in the two, signed the duo for $500 a week each and flew them to New York City. Franken and Davis were the only people hired without actually meeting with Michaels. Had Michaels met with them, Franken often says, they probably would have never been hired. At the time, little did they know, Franken and Davis would help start one of the most innovative shows on television, "Saturday Night Live."
For his work on television, Franken is the recipient of four writing Emmys and a fifth for producing. During 1975-1980 on "Saturday Night Live," Franken created such sketches as "The Final Days," a parody of the Nixon presidency and "The Me Decade," a commentary about why the 70s was about him, Al Franken. He also frequently appeared in sketches as an actor with Tom Davis.
When Franken, along with Lorne Michaels and most of the cast , left SNL in 1980, he trekked to Hollywood and tried his luck at movies. Franken wrote several unproduced screenplays; one was produced, the1986 unsuccessful movie, "One More Saturday Night," which Al wrote and performed in with Tom Davis . Franken also made an appearance as a baffoonish baggage handler in the successful "Trading Places," with Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd.
In 1985, Franken returned to Saturday Night Live, where he remained until 1995. Here, Franken expanded his acting resume, with impressions of Pat Robertson, Paul Simon and Paul Tsongas. He also developed his most popular character, self-help guru Stuart Smalley.
Aside from his work on SNL, Franken co-wrote and produced Touchstone Pictures' "When a Man Loves a Woman," with Andy Garcia and Meg Ryan. The movie was domestically and internationally popular, drawing strong reviews and over $100 million worldwide.
Franken also wrote and starred in "Stuart Saves His Family," a 1995 Paramount Picture based on his SNL character. Directed by Harold Ramis and co-starring Laura-San Giacomo and Vincent D'Onofrio, the movie received strong reviews but never clicked with audiences, generating only a million dollars in box office revenue. As Al Franken told Franken Web in an interview in 1996 about future Stuart endeavors, "when a movie loses 15 million bucks, studios don't exactly break down your door to make a sequel."
In 1997, independent film-makers Rob Rollins Lobl and Sam Sokolow approached Franken to film a cameo in their movie, "The Definite Maybe," the story of 25-year-old New Yorker searching for meaning in life. Franken played a Vagabond the title character meets in the subway.
A year later, by the request of Tom Hanks, Franken appeared in the HBO miniseries, "From the Earth to the Moon." Filmed in Florida, the $80 million production chronicled NASA's first babysteps into space. Franken played Presidential Science Advisor Jerome Weisner in the first segment of the film.
Franken is a well-known political satirist. In 1988, CNN hired him to provide commentary at the Democratic National Convention in Atlanta. In 1992 and 1996, he anchored Comedy Central's election coverage with then-Republican Arianna Huffington. Arianna and Al's writing for Comedy Central's "Politically Incorrect" in 1996 received an Emmy nomination. Franken has also contributed news commentary to Newsweek, The Nation and Rolling Stone, among others.
In 1998, Franken wrote and starred in NBC's "Lateline," a behind-the-scenes look at a "Nightline"-type news program. Featuring guest stars like Richard Gephardt, Jerry Falwell and Robert Reich, the political show received strong reviews (People Magazine gave the show an "A" but in the wake of the Clinton-scandals, failed to capture an audience. NBC renewed the show after its 1998 run but cancelled it in 1999. Overall, "Lateline" filmed 19 episodes.
Franken is also a prolific and NY-Times best-selling author. "I'm Good Enough, I'm Smart Enough and Doggone It, People Like Me," was released in 1992 and chronicled the life of Stuart Smalley, Al's SNL self-help guru. A New York Times bestseller, it was also nominated for a Grammy in the "best comedy" category.
"Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot" was released in 1996 and became an instant classic. Fueled by strong reviews (even the NY Post liked it) and a distaste for the "nutcase right," the book spent five weeks at the #1 spot and eight months on the list. The audio version also won a Grammy in the "best comedy" category. Indeed, Franken is among few political figures who can claim to have won a "Grammy."
His successful follow-up, "Why Not Me?" chronicling the fictional Al Franken presidency, enjoyed similar success, staying on the NY Times bestseller list for several months. In May of 2002, Franken published another book, "Oh, the Things I Know : A Guide to Success, Or, Failing That, Happiness," which poked fun at self-help books. That, too, was a NY Times bestseller and recipient of a Grammy nomination.
In 2001, Franken and his daughter played themselves in the movie, "Harvard Man." Franken has also made appearances on hundreds of radio and television shows, including "3rd Rock from the Sun," "The Tonight Show," "Hannity and Colmes" and "The Late Show." In 2000, Al Franken was a cast member of the short-lived animated series, "Clerks," based on the Kevin Smith cult film. In 2000, he also appeared in a commercial for Parkay Margarine.
Franken is an active lecture speaker. He has given speeches to hundreds of corporations, universities, and other organizations. He has twice been the keynote speaker at the White House Correspondents Dinner for President Bill Clinton, National Press Club, USO tours, DNC dinners and a commencement speaker at Harvard in 2002.
In early 2003, the NY Times wrote that Al Franken is considering a radio talk show on a network for liberals, who have traditionally been shut out of talk radio. Tentatively, an Al Franken talker is being planned for the Fall of 2003.
In August of 2003, Al released his fifth book, "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them," which Franken describes as "a fair and balanced look at the right." The Fox News Channel sued Franken and his publishing company, Penguin Books, for trademark infringement. A judge later dismissed a motion to stop the publication of the book as "wholly without merit, both factually and legally."
Franken currently lives in New York City with his wife, Franni. He has two children, Thomasin and Joe.
Al Appearances. Movies. Harvard Man, 2000 ... Himself. The Definite Maybe, 1997 ... Vagabond Stuart Saves His Family, 1995 ... Stuart Smalley When a Man Loves a Woman, 1994 ... Co-pilot One More Saturday Night, 1986 ... Paul Flum Trading Places, 1983 ... Baggage Handler #1 Tunnel Vision, 1976 ... Al
Writing. Saturday Night Live: Presidential Bash (TV Special), 2000 LateLine (TV Series), 1998 Stuart Saves His Family, 1995 67th Annual Academy Awards, The (TV Special), 1995 Politically Incorrect (TV Series), 1996 When a Man Loves a Woman, 1994 Saturday Night Live Goes Commercial (TV Special), 1991 Best of Dan Aykroyd (TV Special), 1986 One More Saturday Night, 1986 Best of John Belushi (TV Special), 1985 Franken and Davis at Stockton State (TV Special), 1984 Coneheads, The (TV Special), 1983 Saturday Night Live (TV Series) Paul Simon Special, The (TV Special), 1977
Producing. SNL: Presidential Bash (TV Special), NBC, 2000 ... Consulting Producer Lateline (TV Series), NBC, 1998 ... Executive Producer When a Man Loves a Woman, Touchstone Pictures, 1994 ... Executive Producer SNL Goes Commercial (TV Special), NBC, 1991 ... Producer Saturday Night Live (TV Series), NBC, 1985-1995 ... Producer
Television Shows. ENTERTAINMENT. Saturday Night Live, NBC, Dec 14, 2002 ... Stuart Smalley (guest) with Al Gore. New York Friars Club Roast, Comedy Central, Oct 1, 2002 Brilliant But Cancelled: The Perfect Pitch (TV Special), 2002 ... Himself Saturday Night Live: Presidential Bash (TV Special), 2000 ... Himself/Pat Robertson Clerks (TV Series), ABC, 2000 ... Mayor of Leonardo TV Academy Hall of Fame Awards, UPN, March 11, 1999 ... Himself From the Earth to the Moon (miniseries), HBO, 1998 ... Presidential Science Advisor Jerome Weisner Lateline (TV Series), NBC, 1998-1999 ... Al Freundlich Gilda Radner: The E! True Hollywood Story (TV Special), 1997 ... Himself The Larry Sanders Show (TV Series), HBO, Feb 19, 1997 ... Himself Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist (TV Series), Comedy Central, 1997 ... Himself 3rd Rock from the Sun (TV Series), NBC, October 27, 1996 ... Frank Gansmiller Politically Incorrect (TV Series), Comedy Central, 1996 ... Himself (Indecision '96 Correspondent) Indecision '92, Comedy Central, 1992 ... Himself (Indecision '92 Correspondent) Franken and Davis at Stockton State (TV Special), 1984) .... Himself The Rutles (TV-Movie), 1978 ... Decline's Henchman Saturday Night Live (TV Series), NBC, 1975-1980; 1985-1995 ... Various.
TALK / NEWS SHOWS (abbreviated) Lester Holt Live, MSNBC, June 2, 2003. Book TV, CSPAN2, May 31, 2003. Donahue, MSNBC, January 6, 2003. This Week with George Stephanopolous, ABC, December 29, 2002. Late Night with Conan O'Brien, NBC, Dec 19, 2002 Nachman, MSNBC, Dec 16, 2002 Saturday Night Live, NBC, Dec 14, 2002 Fox and Friends, FNC, Dec 1, 2002 Fox Wire, FNC, Nov 30, 2002 The Saturday Early Show, CBS, Oct 26, 2002 WB11 Morning News, Oct 11, 2002 Late Night with Conan O'Brien, NBC, Sept 14, 2002 Donahue, MSNBC, Sept 4, 2002 Tim Russert, CNBC, August 24, 2002 The View, ABC, August 13, 2002 Late Show with David Letterman, CBS, August 5, 2002 Love, Hate and Joy, ABC Family, August, 2002 Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn, CBS, June 27, 2002 Late Night with Conan O'Brien, NBC, June 22, 2002 The Rosie ODonnell Show, Syndicated, June 11, 2002 American Perspectives, CSPAN, June 9, 2002 WFLD in the Morning, WFLD-FOX, June 6, 2002 Wolf Blitzer Reports, CNN, May 29, 2002 CANADA AM, CTV, May 24, 2002 Good Day Minnesota, KMSP, May 17, 2002 Fox News in the Morning, WFLD, May 15, 2002 WGN Morning News, WGN, May 15, 2002 WB2day, KWGN, May 13, 2002 7 News At Eleven, KMGH, May 13, 2002 Mornings Live on Q, KCPQ, May 8, 2002 World News Now, ABC, May 6, 2002 KRON 4 Morning News, KRON, May 6, 2002 WCBS-AM, WCBS, May 6, 2002 WHAS 11 News at Noon, WHAS, May 6, 2002 The Today Show, NBC, May 2, 2002 The View, ABC, May 2, 2002 Late Night with Conan O'Brien, NBC, May 1, 2002 Newsnight with Aaron Brown, CNN, April 29, 2002 Biography, AE, April 22, 2002 KOVR 13 News At Six, KOVR, April 19, 2002 Late Night with Conan O'Brien, NBC, March 23, 2002 National Press Club, CSPAN, Feb 28, 2002 Late Night with Conan O'Brien, NBC, Jan 31, 2002 In Food Today, TVFood, Jan 24, 2002 CBS Sunday Morning, August 26, 2001 Late Night with Conan O'Brien, NBC, August 23, 2001 In Food Today, TVFood, June 20, 2001 Greenfield at Large, CNN, June 7, 2001 Politically Incorrect, ABC, May 24, 2001 Good Day Philadelphia, WTXF, May 21, 2001 Showbiz Weekend, CNN, April 21, 2001 The Spin Room, CNN, March 15, 2001 Late Night with Conan O'Brien, NBC, Feb 20, 2001 CNN Morning News, CNN, Jan 16, 2001 Late Night with Conan O'Brien, NBC, Jan 3, 2001 Hardball, MSNBC, Dec 29, 2000 Politically Incorrect, ABC, Nov 29, 2000 Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn, CBS, Nov 29, 2000 Fox News Live, FNC, Oct 26, 2000 In Food Today, TVFood, October 19, 2000 Newschannel 5 At Ten, KSDK, October 17, 2000 World Business This Morning, CNN International, October 4, 2000 Late Night with Conan O'Brien, NBC, Sept 7, 2000 Larry King Live, CNN, August 25, 2000 The News with Brian Williams, MSNBC, August 23, 2000 Politically Incorrect, ABC, August 19, 2000 Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn, CBS, August 17, 2000 Late Show with David Letterman, CBS, August 8, 2000 The Edge with Paula Zahn, FNC, August 7, 2000 Showbiz Today, CNN, August 3, 2000 World News Now, ABC, July 25, 2000 Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn, CBS, June 1, 2000 Politically Incorrect, ABC, May 11, 2000 Late Night with Conan O'Brien, NBC, May 4, 2000 The Edge with Paula Zahn, FNC, April 18, 2000 The View, ABC, March 21, 2000 Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn, CBS, March 14, 2000 Larry King Live, CNN, March 13, 2000 Late Show with David Letterman, CBS, March 9, 2000 In Food Today, TVFood, Feb 21, 2000 MSNBC Campaign 2000, MSNBC, Feb 11, 2000 The O'Reilly Factor, FNC, Feb 10, 2000 Late Night with Conan O'Brien, NBC, Feb 1, 2000 The Martin Short Show, Synd, January 24, 2000 Good Morning America, ABC, January 13, 2000 Equal Time, MSNBC, January 13, 2000 Late Show with David Letterman, CBS, Dec 2, 1999 7 Eyewitness News, KABC, Nov 19, 1999 News 5 At Noon, KCTV, Nov 16, 1999 Rivera Live, CNBC, Nov 9, 1999 Special Report with Brit Hume, FNC, September 24, 1999 News 7 at 11, WJLA, June 23, 1999 Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn, CBS, April 10, 1999 Regis and Kathie Lee, ABC, March 16, 1999 Northwest Afternoon, KOMO, Feb 26, 1999 7 News At Eleven, KMGH, Feb 22, 1999 Nine News Four O'Clock, KUSA, Feb 22, 1999 The O'Reilly Factor, Feb 12, 1999 Regis and Kathie Lee, ABC, Feb 8, 1999 Saturday Monring, CBS, Feb 6, 1999 Hannity and Colmes, Feb 5, 1999 CNN Sunday Morning, Jan 24, 1999 Weekend Edition, CNN, January 23, 1999 News 4 at 11, WRC, Jan 21, 1999 Politically Incorrect, ABC, January 14, 1999 Today Show, NBC, January 12, 1999 Nine News Four O'Clock, KUSA, Jan 12, 1999 4 San Antonio Living, KMOL, January 11, 1999 KARE 11 News Today, KARE, January 11, 1999 Midday on 5, WPTV, January 11, 1999 News 8 at Noon, WOOD-TV, January 11, 1999 Chicago Daytime, WMAQ, January 11, 1999 Showbiz Today, CNN, January 5, 1999 E! News Daily, January 5, 1999 Headline News, CNN, Jan 5, 1999 Good Day new York, WNYX, Dec 6, 1998 Showbiz This Weekend, CNN, Nov 21, 1998 Regis and Kathy Lee, ABC, Sept 22, 1998 Late Night with Conan O'Brien, NBC, Sept 2, 1998 Politically Incorrect, ABC, April 28, 1998 Late Night with Conan O'Brien, NBC, April 4, 1998 Channel 4 News, KNBC, March 31, 1998 The Daily Show, March 30, 1998 Late Show with David Letterman, March 27, 1998 The View, ABC, March 24, 1998 Regis and Kathie Lee, March 23, 1998 Today Show, NBC, March 17, 1998 E! News Daily, E!, March 17, 1998 Access Hollywood, Synd, March 17, 1998 The O'Reilly Factor, FNC, March 17, 1998 MTV Live, MTV, March 16, 1998 The Tonight Show, NBC, March 13, 1998 Politically Incorrect, Feb 24, 1998 Larry King Live, Feb 20, 1998 Street Sweep, CNNfn, Feb 18, 1998 Early Prime, CNN, Jan 2, 1998 Showbiz Today, CNN, Jan 2, 1998 Headline News, CNN, Jan 2, 1998 Late Show with David Letterman, Dec 31, 1997 Nightside, NBC, Dec 19, 1997 News 2 Houston First at Five, KPRC, Dec 19, 1997 Good Morning Arizona, Dec 19, 1997 Good Day Philadelphia, Dec 19, 1997 Good Day New York, Dec 19, 1997 Jeopardy, Syndicated, November 18, 1997 Politically Incorrect, ABC, Nov 6, 1997 The News with Brian Williams, MSNBC, October 17, 1997Chris Late Show with David Letterman, Sept 18, 1997 Politically Incorrect, ABC, July 17, 1997 After Breakfast, Fox Network, June 9, 1997 Equal Time, CNBC, May 19, 1997 Politically Incorrect, ABC, May 17, 1997 Charles Grodin, CNBC, May 7, 1997 Politically Incorrect, ABC, March 1, 1997 Politically Incorrect, ABC, January 18, 1997 Crossfire, CNN, Dec 31, 1996 Late Night with Conan O'Brien; NBC, November 7, 1996 WBAL TV 11 News at Noon, WBAL, Oct 22, 1996 Live on Seven; KIRO, October 22, 1996 The National Press Club, CSPAN, October 15, 1996 Politically Incorrect, Comedy Central, August 29, 1996. CNN Election News, CNN, August 27, 1996 CNN Election News, CNN, August 15, 1996 CBS This Morning, CBS, May 8, 1996 Larry King Live, CNN, April 12, 1996 2 Newstream Sunday, KTVI, March 3, 1996 Good Day Atlanta, WAGA, Feb 13, 1996 CBS This Morning, Feb 9. 1996 Politically Incorrect, Jan 23, 1996 World News Tonight, ABC, August 10, 1995 Late Night With Conan O'Brien, April 27, 1995 20/20, ABC, March 11, 1994 Sonya Live, October 29, 1993 Crossfire, Jan 1, 1993
Radio. (abbreviated) WNYC-AM, December 27, 2002 WNYC-AM, Oct 31, 2002 WNYC-AM, Aug 21, 2002 WKQX-AM, June 28, 2002 WKQX-AM, May 15, 2002 WCBS, May 6, 2002 KROQ, May 3, 2002 WNYC-AM, May 1, 2002 Fresh Air, NPR, April 30, 2002 The Morning Show, WJR-AM, April 30, 2002 Howard Stern, July 13, 2001 The Mitch Albom Radio Show, May 7, 2001 Howard Stern, March 3, 2001 To the Point, KCRW, Feb 16, 2001 Fresh Air, NPR, Oct 31, 2000 The John and Ken Show, KABC, August 1, 2000 San Diego First News, KOGO, Feb 18, 2000 The Connection, WBUR, Jan 28, 1999 Mr. KABC, KABC, January 15, 1999 The Howard Stern Show, January 12, 1999 Peachtree Morning, WXIA, January 12, 1999 Imus in the Morning, July 8, 1998 Peachtree Morning, WXIA, March 17, 1998 Fresh Air, NPR, March 12, 1998 Public Interest, WAMU, March 10, 1998
Print. (abbreviated) Lies and the Lying Liars That Tell Them, Dutton Books, 2003 "Norm and the Other 1 Percent." Minn Star Tribune, April 13, 2003 Oh, The Things I Know, Penguin Books, 2002 "Is George W. Bush Dumb?" Rolling Stone, Oct 2000 "Block That Rush." The Nation, June 19, 2000 "Home-Fried Franken." George, Dec/Jan 2000 "Franken Sense." George, Jan 1999 Why Not Me? The Making and Unmaking of the Al Franken Presidency, Delacorte, 1999 "A Father and Son Learn From Newt's Mistakes." Roll Call, January 20, 1997 Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot, Delacorte, 1996
"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward,for there you have been, and there you will always want to be."
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Re: Who the hell is Al Franken?
Thank you Chris for your time into researching Al's history. I didn't know he originated Saturday Night Live, not that I watched any of those programs. But SNL was famous enough to have short clips on national news making good fun of the Candidates and the Presidents who didn't seem to mind and also joined in the fun.
Joined: May 2002 Posts: 16113 Location: Florida
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Re: Who the hell is Al Franken?
The information in my first post was copied and pasted off another web site, so don't think I did all the research myself. Oh, I set out to do the research, but when I stumbled across the Al Franken Bio, by Eric Hananoki, located on the Al Franken Web page I didn't have to.
"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward,for there you have been, and there you will always want to be."
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