Al Franken comes to town

The last time Al Franken was in Boston – Election Day 2004 – he and his Air America Radio crew were all set to celebrate with the Kerry-Edwards campaign.
That didn’t turn out so well. But the setting provided an apt way to open Franken’s new book, “The Truth (With Jokes),” in which he continues to bash the Bush administration and the Republican right in print as he does on the air.
Franken returns to the Hub on Tuesday for a live broadcast of “The Al Franken Show,” heard locally on WKOX-AM (1200) and WXKS-AM (1430) from noon to 3 p.m. weekdays, followed by a nighttime book signing at the Charles Hotel in Cambridge.
Is coming back bittersweet?
“No,” Franken said on the phone from New York City. “Just bitter.”
But the news isn’t all bad for the Harvard-educated satirist.
His opening hour is the most listened-to period on WKOX, and he continues to gain ground on his nemesis, Rush Limbaugh, among male listeners between 25 and 54.
“A lot of people come up to me and say I make them feel better, so they don’t feel alone,” Franken said. “I think now, actually now, I’m hearing from some Republicans who are listening to us and switching over.”
He is somewhat amazed by the GOP’s ability to have all their pundits and spokespeople say the same daily message points.
“I know that they’re proud of it,” he said. “I don’t know that I’d consider it something to be proud of. We’d like to be more unified in getting out our message and being more disciplined. But maybe Democrats cannot do that.”
Few, certainly, are willing to make jabs like this one on gay marriage in Franken’s book: “George W. Bush wants to amend our Constitution to make it illegal for gays to marry. But evidently, he has no problem with terrorists getting married. America can’t afford a president who is soft on terrorist marriage. Because unlike gays, terrorists can breed.”
Indicted Vice Presidential chief of staff “Scooter” Libby, a recent talk-radio subject, has a book out, too. Franken hasn’t read it.
“I don’t know,” Franken said. “I hear it’s a good book. Who am I to discredit another author?”
Well, what about Limbaugh?
“Uh, yeah. But he’s just awful,” Franken said.
Franken loves having three hours daily to express his political philosophy and bring a liberal approach to talk radio.
More Americans, though, talk about TV shows than politics.
“It’s shocking how little political literacy there is in this country,” Franken said.
He is supporting grassroots-level organizations that train activists, candidates and campaign managers – some of whom may be enlisted to help Franken run for the U.S. Senate in his native Minnesota. He’ll move back full-time early next year and broadcast his show from a Twin Cities studio.

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

View all posts by Sean L. McCarthy →