Senator Franken draws no laughs but plenty of applause

July 7, 2009

Al Franken, a big-time comic turned Washington politician, received plenty of applause but no laughs on Tuesday when he finally took his seat as a member of the U.S. Senate.

In fact, one of the few jokes publicly told on Capitol Hill about Franken had the former writer/performer on the popular TV show “Saturday Night Live” as the punchline.

“Senator Franken gave me a few jokes he thought I should share with you, but I didn’t like them, so I’m not going to do it,” Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid told reporters.


Republican and Democratic senators shook Franken’s hand and gave him a standing ovation after he was sworn in as a member of their chamber — eight months after last November’s election.

Franken took office a week after the Minnesota Supreme Court upheld his razor-thin victory over Republican Norm Coleman.

Reid delivered a preemptive strike against any perception that the new senator will be back on stage as a congressional comic.

“Al Franken is very smart,” Reid, who named the new senator to the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee, told reporters. “He’s Harvard-educated. He has written volumes, books.”

One of Franken’s best known books was a 1996 denunciation of conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh titled “Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot.”

Senator Charles Schumer said a subdued Franken received thunderous applause at a weekly luncheon for Senate Democrats. “He didn’t make jokes. He talked about how he had worked so hard to get here to serve to make people’s lives better.”

Click here for more Reuters political coverage

Photo credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque (Franken sworn-in as senator by Vice President Biden)

One comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see

[…] Source Article […]

Posted by Al Franken Sworn In As Minnesota Senator (VIDEO) | The Head On Radio Network | Report as abusive

is franken holding his hand up promising he will not write a book based on biden,s gaffs?

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive