The author of Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot talks about Air America, regular America, and making the shift from entertainer to political hopeful.
Al Franken dabbled in political subject matter as a writer -- and performer -- during two lengthy stints on Saturday Night Live, as well as on his short-lived NBC sitcom, LateLine. He has also worked in film, most notably as co-writer and star of 1995's "Stuart Saves His Family," a spin-off of the Stuart Smalley character he'd created for SNL. But today, Franken's politics overshadow his comedy at virtually every turn. Born in New York City, raised in a suburb of Minneapolis, and educated at Harvard, Franken has become a full-time political figure.
The transformation began in earnest with his 1996 book, Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot, followed by his 2003 work, Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right. Now Franken is one of the major players behind Air America Radio, the liberal talk-radio network introduced in March 2004 to counter rightwing domination of the medium. At fifty-four, he spends the bulk of his time touring, preparing, and performing for the sixty-seven-station network, on which he appears as co-host of The Al Franken Show. But his goals are more ambitious still: He recently moved from New York back to Minnesota to prepare for a U.S. Senate run against Norm Coleman in 2008.