From "Saturday Night Live" to Air America radio to Senate candidate, Al Franken has somehow made the tricky transition from political satirist to active participant. That transformation is at the center of the forthcoming documentary "Al Franken: God Spoke," and while filmmakers Nick Doob and Chris Hegedus (who also collaborated on "The War Room") have said Franken had zero editorial control over the movie, by his own estimation he still comes off as "a great guy" on camera: "I'm funny, I'm kind, passionate, really smart!" In this week's Conversation, Franken talks about the film, notes his intention to run for U.S. senator in Minnesota in 2008 and, right at the end of the interview, does his very best Henry Kissinger impersonation. (Click here to listen.)
The movie takes us back to a time of high drama, though it happened only two years ago: the election season of 2004. It's painful for me to go through that emotion again watching the film -- did you have that reaction?
Oh yeah. It's painful to have to relive that. Part of the point of the film is moving beyond it. One scene that's funny, and I'm glad it's in there: We think Kerry's going to win -- it's the meeting after the show on Election Day -- and we're just preparing how to gloat.
You must have thought about the kind of things the Republicans are going to do to you if you run -- anything you ever said on TV that was remotely offensive to anyone is going to get dragged out, any joke that you made with an ethnic component to it; if there's a college roommate who says you smoked a lot of weed, they're going to pull that person out of the woodwork. Absolutely anything and everything.
One of my college roommates wants to form a College Roommates for Truth. And one of my personal assistants wants to do a Personal Assistants for Truth.
No, I mean, everything is pretty out in the open. We did some drugs on "Saturday Night Live," and I'm proud of the two movies I've written about substance abuse: "When a Man Loves a Woman" and "Stewart Saves His Family," both of which are taught in rehab. And the guy I'd run against pretty clearly did drugs during the same period.
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