Al Franken delivered an extended comedy bit at the Politicon conference in Nashville Saturday night, peppering his remarks with impressions of his former Senate colleagues and digs at President Trump.
The meandering speech was part of a series of appearances Franken has been making to resurrect his career in the face of #MeToo allegations.
And those came up, with a well-coiffed protester wearing a double-breasted suit and sporting a pompadour hairstyle interrupting Franken to scream that he was a ‘predator.’
Former Sen. Al Franken delivered a meandering comedy bit at Politicon as he tries to resurrect his career after leaving the Senate due to sexual harassment allegations
Al Franken peppered his remarks with impressions of his former Senate colleagues and digs at Republicans including President Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz
Franken started his appearance by updating the crowd on his life.
‘I know a lot of you might be wondering what I’ve been up to,’ Franken said as he appeared onstage.
He said he was doing some work on causes he cared about – like getting service dogs for veterans with PTSD, and he was podcasting.
‘Now I know it sounds pathetic when you say, “I’ve got a podcast,”‘ Franken said, noting that there are some-600,000. He said he originally wanted to do a podcast on barbeque, with a focus on brisket, but even that genre was oversaturated. ‘And I learned there are now 12 podcasts on brisket and eight of them are really, really good.’
The podcast ended up being about politics.
He talked a lot of politics Saturday night too, complete with the voices of senators Bernie Sanders, Chuck Schumer, Chuck Grassley, Tom Coburn and Mitch McConnell.
‘He’s got some marbles in his mouth, you probably don’t know that,’ he said of McConnell, the chamber’s most powerful Republican.
The impressions, he admitted, were a new thing.
‘When I was in the Senate my staff would not let me do impressions of my colleagues. Is there anyone here from my staff?’ he said looking around. Seeing no one, he said, ‘good.’
The post-#MeToo Franken was back to swearing too.
‘I’d like to take a moment to talk about another pressing issue facing the American people, which is how much of an a**hole Ted Cruz is,’ Franken said at one point. ‘God, I wish this guy was here for this.’
Not surprisingly, the Minnesota Democrat also knocked Trump.
“You know who must be pissed?’ Franken asked. ‘Mueller.’
He talked about all the work and effort the former special counsel put into the Russia investigation.
But then Trump gets on the phone with the president of Ukraine and asks for, as Franken put it, a ‘quid pro quo.’
‘And Trump does this with 12 people on the phone. Listening and taking notes,’ he said. ‘Wow, what an idiot.’
About halfway through the set, a well dressed white man started shouting down Franken.
‘You’re full of s***’ an audience member yelled at the heckler, who got up to leave.
‘Oh, don’t go,’ Franken yelled at the protester, though added that he took the sexual harassment allegations against him seriously.
He then got back to the joke he was telling, which was about poop.
Franken has slowly stepped back into the spotlight since his December 2017 resignation from the Senate.
He started podcasting in November 2018, which turned into a weekly SiriusXM radio show this September.
Franken spoke at two events in his home state of Minnesota, according to the Star Tribune, and then headed west to speaking engagements in Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington.
He’s heading to Boston and Royal Oak, Michigan next month.
His foray hasn’t been without issues.
Two King County Council members called for his Seattle show to be cancelled over the #MeToo allegations. While the show went on, there was a small protest outside the venue.
Politicon attracts a politically mixed audience, with attendees sporting shirts in support of President Trump and Democrats including Bernie Sanders and Tulsi Gabbard. Some of businessman Andrew Yang’s ‘MATH’ hats were also spotted.
And so while some were supportive of the protester, others shouted him down, complaining about Trump’s sexual misconduct allegations.