10 Things You Didn't Know About Al Franken

Franken ran for Senate against Minnesota Republican Sen. Norm Coleman.

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1. Al Franken was born in New York on May 21, 1951, but his family relocated to Albert Lea, Minn. when he was 4.

2. Al Franken began his career as a satirist in second grade in Minneapolis. After the girls in his second-grade class performed "this really insipid show, 'I'm a Little Teapot,' " Franken told People magazine in 1992, he gathered the boys together and wrote a scathing parody. They dressed in drag to perform it, bringing the girls to tears.

3. His interest in politics was sparked while watching the 1960 conventions with his father, Joe, a printing salesman, NAACP member, and Nixon supporter along with his mother, Phoebe, a real estate agent and Kennedy backer. At the time, young Al sided with his father (who later became a Democrat when Barry Goldwater voted against the Civil Rights Act).

4. He studied behavioral sciences at Harvard University and graduated cum laude in 1973.

5. As a college freshman, he met his future wife at a mixer. They have been married since 1975. They have two grown children, Joe and daughter Thomasin Davis.

6. In 1997, Franken won a Grammy award for best comedy album for the recording of his book, "Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot and Other Observations." He's also won five Emmy's for his work on Saturday Night Live.

7. In 1998-1999, Franken starred as a vain reporter on Lateline, an NBC sitcom that spoofed political talk shows and showcased real-life politicians and Washington bigwigs and pundits, including Dick Gephardt, Michael Dukakis, Pat Buchanan, John McLaughlin, and G. Gordon Liddy. During the Clinton sex scandal, Franken and his Lateline co-creator John Markus took out a full-page ad in the New York Times to publish a letter to Kenneth Starr. It read, "Dear Ken: Please subpoena us. We know things."

8. Franken's Minneapolis townhouse contains a "Nixon bathroom." The walls are covered with Nixon memorabilia, including a letter from Nixon's personal secretary in response to an invitation to appear on Saturday Night Live, saying she's sorry Nixon can't appear on "your special show."

9. Franken has traveled overseas with the USO seven times to entertain the troops.

10. Among his political heroes are Minnesotans Hubert Humphrey, Eugene McCarthy, and his friend Paul Wellstone, who died in a plane crash in 2002.

Sources:
Current Biography Yearbook
New York Times
People
The Atlantic
Al Franken for US Senate

Corrected on : Corrected on 6/30/09: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the year Paul Wellstone died in a plane crash. He died in 2002.