Jon Wiener: For a long time you were really funny. But around 2008, you stopped being funny. What happened?
Al Franken: I was running for office, and I had thought that comedy would be an asset. But Republicans, right away, started putting everything I’d ever written or said through this $15 million machine called “The DeHumorizer.” It had been built with advanced Israeli technology to take out all the irony and context and hyperbole, just suck it out and leave you with something offensive. So it became very clear, very early in that race, that humor wasn’t going to be the thing. I had to let people know that I was serious about serving the people of Minnesota in the Senate. And it worked—barely—but it worked.
JW: You beat the Republican incumbent, Norm Coleman. How’s he doing these days?
AF: He landed on his feet. He now continues to serve the people of Minnesota—as a paid lobbyist for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
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