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Al Franken is the junior senator of Minnesota who first gained notice as a comedian and political satirist during his long tenure on Saturday Night Live.
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Al Franken was born May 21, 1951, in New York City. He first gained notice as a writer, comedian, and sharp political satirist during his long tenure on the comedy sketch program, Saturday Night Live. He wrote for and performed on SNL from its inaugural season in 1975 to 1980; he returned in 1985 and served as one of the show's producers until 1995. He is currently a junior senator of Minnesota.
Writer, actor, and politician. Born May 21, 1951, in New York City. Franken first gained notice as a writer, comedian, and sharp political satirist during his long tenure on the comedy sketch program, Saturday Night Live. He wrote for and performed on SNL from its inaugural season in 1975 to 1980; he returned in 1985 and served as one of the show's producers until 1995. During this time he won four Emmy Awards for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy, Variety, or Music Series. Some of his most famous appearances were as a frequent commentator on the "Weekend Update" sketch and as the self-help guru Stuart Smalley, a character who Franken expanded into a book, 1993's I'm Good Enough, I'm Smart Enough, and Doggone It, People Like Me, and an unsuccessful film, Stuart Saves His Family (1995). On a more serious note, he co-wrote and co-produced the film When a Man Loves a Woman (1994), starring Meg Ryan as a wife and mother struggling with alcoholism.
From early in his career, Franken poked fun at politics and politicians, engineering a humorous encounter with President Reagan on his campaign bus in 1976 and initiating a number of biting parodies of Democratic and Republican leaders alike on SNL. In 1988, he provided commentary for CNN at the Democratic National Convention in Atlanta. Four years later, he worked as an anchorman and writer for Comedy Central's coverage of the Democratic and Republican conventions, an eight-day stretch of programming called "Indecision '92."
In 1996, Franken published his second book, a collection of political essays entitled Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot and Other Observations. During the 1996 presidential election, he memorably paired with the conservative Arianna Huffington as a commentator for Comedy Central's Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher. Three years later, he published a satirical account of his own fictional presidency, Why Me? The Inside Story of the Making and Unmaking of the Franken Presidency.
In 2003, after winning an injunction by Fox News to stop its publication, Franken put out another political satire, Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right which included a cover photo of Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly. Aside from openly mocking O'Reilly, a chapter in the book accused the commentator of lying. In August 2003, Fox News sued Franken, claiming infringement of its registered trademark phrase "Fair and Balanced." A federal judge found the lawsuit to be "wholly without merit."
The next year, Franken joined liberal talk-radio station Air America. His show, originally named The O'Franken Factor aired three hours a day, five days a week in an effort to provide an alternative to the conservative talk-radio circuit.
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