Al Franken is a well-known and well-respected politician in the United States, currently serving as the United States Senator from Minnesota. Putting aside his political career, he worked as a writer and performer for ‘Saturday Night Live’ from its inception in 1975 until 1980, and then again from 1985 to 1995. Franken had the makings of a performer since he was in high school. His early stage appearances paved the way for him to be recruited for the first season of ‘Saturday Night Live.’ The show was a huge success, and Franken gained a lot of notoriety as a result of his involvement with it. After leaving Saturday Night Live, he tried his hand at acting in films and as the host of his flagship show, ‘The Al Franken Show,’ before discovering his true calling as a politician. He was a member of the Democratic Party who won the seat in 2008 by a razor-thin margin of 312 votes over incumbent Republican Senator Norm Coleman. Read on to learn more about his life and career.
Childhood and Adolescence
Al Franken was born in New York City to Joseph and Phoebe Franken. His mother worked as a real estate agent while his father worked as a printing salesman. St Louis Park, Minnesota, became the family’s new home.
In 1969, Franken graduated from The Blake School, where he received his formal education. Following that, he enrolled at Harvard University, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts cum laude degree in government in 1973.
He has been performing with his friend and partner Tom Davis since high school. The two then went on to perform political satire on stage at Minneapolis’ Brave New Workshop Theatre.
Career of Franken
After a successful collaboration with Davies, he was hired as an apprentice writer at Saturday Night Live from 1975 to 1980 and 1985 to 1995. He wrote numerous scripts and created various characters during his time at SNL, including self-help guru Stuart Smalley.
His mockery of NBC president Fred Silverman irritated the latter, who turned down Lorne Michael’s request to appoint Franken as his successor. As a result, when Michael left the show, it also signaled the end of Franken’s tenure on the show.
In 1985, he returned to the show as both a writer and an occasional performer. He and Davies co-wrote the script for the comedy film “One More Saturday Night,” which was released in 1986. The two appeared in several films together, including ‘All You Need Is Cash’ and ‘Trading Places.’
After a protest over losing the role of Weekend Update anchor to Norm Macdonald, he left the show in 1995. Following his stint in the entertainment industry, he tried his hand at politics as well. He went to Kosovo in 1999 and became a volunteer with the United Service Organization (USO), a position he still holds.
He organized and participated in several overseas tours as a USO volunteer, four of which were to Iraq and one to Afghanistan. While visiting wounded soldiers, he also took part in celebrity handshake tours at military hospitals.
Meanwhile, he worked as a writer and published a number of books, four of which were New York Times bestsellers. ‘Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot and Other Observations,’ ‘Why Not Me?,’ and ‘Oh, The Things I Know!’ are some of his written works. ‘A Success Guide or Failing That Happiness,’ and so on.
‘Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right,’ a satirical look at American politics and conservatism, was published in 2003. In the same year, he was a Fellow at the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
He was offered the position of talk show host on Air America Radio’s flagship program in 2004. The show was originally known as ‘The O’ Franken Factor,’ but it was later renamed ‘The Al Franken Show.’
The show, which I co-hosted with Katherine Lanpher, aired for three hours a day, five days a week. It was three years long. The show’s main goal was to provide listeners with more progressive viewpoints in order to counter the dominance of conservative political information on the airwaves.
His time as the host of Air America Radio came to an end on February 14, 2007. On the same day, he announced his candidacy for a United States Senate seat. He was endorsed at the DFL convention the following year, as well as by Ben Stein, who had previously only supported Republican candidates.
Following the elections, Coleman appeared to be the front-runner for a seat in the United States Senate. However, at the time of vote counting, the difference between the two candidates was less than 0.5 percent, necessitating a recount. Franken won the recount by 225 votes, which increased to 312 when absentee ballots were counted, putting him ahead of Coleman.
On July 7, 2009, he was sworn in as Senate President. Sonia Sotomayor was elected as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court a month later.
His first piece of legislation as a senator was the Service Dogs for Veterans Act, which he co-wrote with Republican Johnny Isakson. The bill, which was unanimously approved, aimed to provide service dogs to disabled veterans.
In the field of health care, he has made an incalculable contribution. He authored an amendment to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act called the Medical Loss Ratio, which required insurance companies to pay 80 percent of the premium on health care costs and 85 percent in the case of large group plans. He is a strong supporter of a single-payer system.
In the health-care sector, it was his proposed amendment that saved consumers $3.4 billion in premiums and resulted in nationwide rebates of $1.1 billion in 2012 and $500 million in 2013.
In 2010, he proposed a financial reform amendment that would create a board to choose which credit rating agency would assess a particular security. Despite the fact that his amendment was passed, the financial industry successfully lobbied to have it removed from the final bill.
In 2014, he plans to run for re-election. His razor-thin margin made him a top target for Republicans, but his high approval rating, combined with the Republicans’ inability to find a top-tier candidate, has made him a favorite to win re-election in 2014.
Achievements & Awards
He received seven Emmy nominations and three awards for his television writing and producing during his time at Saturday Night Live.
For his ten years of service, he received the USO-Metro Merit Award on March 25, 2009.
Personal History and Legacy
Franni Bryson, his long-time college sweetheart, and he tied the knot. In 2005, the couple relocated to Minneapolis. They are the proud parents of two children.
Estimated Net Worth
Al Franken has a net worth of $10 million and is an American comedian, actor, writer, and politician. Franken began his career in the entertainment industry in the 1970s, then moved into politics in the 2000s.
For his work on “Saturday Night Live,” Al received seven Emmy nominations and three wins. From 1975 to 1980, he worked on the show, and then again from 1988 to 1995.
After losing the “Weekend Update” hosting job to Norm Macdonald in 1995, Franken left the show.
From the show’s inception, this Senator of the United States worked as a writer and performer for the television show ‘Saturday Night Live.’