AL FRANKEN, UN-FUNNY MAN OF THE SENATE: The senator’s new book does contain some wit — when he quotes Lindsey Graham.
Though almost nothing Franken comes up with is funny, the memoir nevertheless contains a lot of wit. This is because it quotes a lot of Republicans. When Lindsey Graham was running for president, and was about 15th out of 17, Franken told him, “I’d vote for you.” Graham shot back, “That’s my problem.” Non-comedy writers speaking off the cuff invariably prove funnier than Franken is on the cuff. At a dinner with senators and their spouses, Stephanie Johanns, wife of former GOP senator Mike Johanns of Nebraska, recalled glad-handing on the hustings, where one is forever confronted with a parade of new people and sometimes can’t keep everyone straight. She “turned around,” says Franken, “and saw a woman whom she knew, but couldn’t place. Stephanie said, ‘I knew I knew this woman, and I panicked. Then I figured out who she was and said, “Oh — hi, Mom!”’” When Franken tells Mitch McConnell his speeches are okay when he isn’t advancing the cause of evil, the Kentuckian fires back, “I like the evil ones better.”
Franken is at times funny when he doesn’t mean to be: He says he bonded with working men on the Iron Range because “I was a member of four unions myself: the Writers Guild, the Screen Actors Guild, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, and the Directors Guild.”
What’s below “tin ear?”