All the Al Franken You Can Stomach!

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…and possibly quite a bit more. Today, in case you forgot to mark your calendar, is the debut of Air America Radio, the country's first liberal talk radio network. Err, except Pacifica. And maybe another tiny cluster of stations.

NEXT: Search and Destroy

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  1. I would be celebrating that now Franken has one less thing to whine about, but then I remembered who we were talking about.

    Put up or shut up, and let the market decide.

  2. When was the left ever willing to let the market decide?

  3. Has Al Franken done anything even remotely entertaining since Stuart Smalley?

  4. Well now that Al Franken has his own talk show, I guess that means he’s fair game to be treated like he’s done with Rush and O’Reilly…

    Stay tuned for my new book: “Al Franken Is A Liberal Whiner… and other obvious observations” It’s sure to be a bestseller.

    (Just kidding… for now anyway)

    Seriously, though, I wish him well in his endeavour. It’s not easy getting out there and coming up with stuff to talk about for three hours. There’s a lot more to the job than just what you hear on the air.

  5. Al Franken’s voice sounds to me a lot like Dennis Prager’s. Maybe Franken can enhance the resemblance and trick Prager listeners into spending more time with him than they might otherwise volunteer. Perhaps a razor-sharp Prager parody might be the next funny thing Franken does. It has been too long a dry spell, imho.

  6. Just tuned in online, and they’re talking about how Al Gore won the popular vote and really won the 2000 election. So at least they’ve got some fresh new issues to deal with….

  7. Didn’t even know we finished counting the popular vote. After all, with all the absentee ballots that were cast out when they wouldn’t have altered the particular state’s color. You would think liberals would want some equality for those too – or did those votes not matter? Oh well, guess they won’t be moving-on from their issues anytime soon.

  8. I wish Franken luck but I can’t believe he’ll have much success. He has a terrible voice for radio, a slow and affected delivery, and smug demeanor that comes across as mean even when he doesn’t intend so.

    No matter what his political content is I don’t think that people will be able to sit through his show.

  9. That show should have been called the “O’Frankenstein Factor”. What a mish-mash of topics with no cohesive point. When I was listening (at the end) it was ‘let’s interview my old friend’s mom and dad, and then my daughter’.

    I would much rather have listened to Jesse Walker on WYPR’s Marc Steiner Show, but their internet feed kept dying on me and my radio wouldn’t pick it up. So I only got to hear the intros.

  10. I wish Franken luck but I can’t believe he’ll have much success. He has a terrible voice for radio, a slow and affected delivery, and smug demeanor that comes across as mean even when he doesn’t intend so.

    No matter what his political content is I don’t think that people will be able to sit through his show.

  11. Anybody up for a dead pool? I give it 3 weeks.

  12. I wish Franken luck but I can’t believe he’ll have much success. He has a terrible voice for radio, a slow and affected delivery, and a smug demeanor that comes across as mean even when he doesn’t intend so.

    No matter what his political content is I don’t think that people will be able to sit through his show.

  13. Todd: I’ve got $10 bucks on one month after the election.

  14. Sounds like it will be as refreshing as sports talk radio.

  15. “Has Al Franken done anything even remotely entertaining since Stuart Smalley?”

    Did I miss something, was Stuart Smalley remotely entertaining?

  16. Todd,
    Before I get in, I wanna know who the sugar-daddy for the network is.

  17. They had a 15-second Benadryl ad, followed by a 30-sec ad for a new book by the author of “Who Moved My Cheese,” followed by 30-sec DieHard Battery ad, followed by 30-sec Tylenol ad. Are they selling these things, or giving them away?

    Their background music sounds like Grateful Dead.

    I really dig those breathy liberal voices. So sincere, so willing to teach we unwashed about the Right Path.

    As for Pacifica, I thought we in the VRWC shut them down or something.

  18. “Did I miss something, was Stuart Smalley remotely entertaining?”

    Oh, come on! (To Michael Jordan): “I’ll call you Michael J. We’ll protect your anonyminity.”

    (After “The Stuart Smalley Movie” flopped): “These are the Pepperidge Farm Macedamia Crunch. I don’t actually like them, but there are only so many Fig Newtons a man can eat.”

    And making Al Gore say to the mirror, “I don’t have to be the most powerful man in the world. Because I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it – people like me!”

  19. Like I said, not funny. Michael Jordan was funny, but Franken was not. I found the Smalley character to be annoying. It wasn’t even creative. Julia Sweeney’s character Pat was much more creative and was, at times, funny. Smalley was neither.

  20. Anyone notice that all of the on-air talent at Air America except Chuck D is white? (And Chuck only has a 3 month contract). A progressive lot these guys are. They should change the name to “Limo Liberal Radio.”

    And the last “drop dead funny” thing Franken did was Pat Robertson at the 88 GOP debate on SNL. Stewart Smalley had its moments (the Jordan episode being the high point).

  21. Don,

    “When was the left ever willing to let the market decide?”

    About the last time the right did.

  22. richard,
    I agree, Sweeney funny, Fraken not. I have however, found Al to be pretty humorous since he started pimping “lying liars”. But taking cheep shots at O’Reilly doesn’t take a team of Harvard research…. Oh wait.

  23. Jean,

    The right would invariably let the market decide, unfortunately there are currently no authentic right-wing politicians. 😉

  24. “Just tuned in online, and they’re talking about how Al Gore won the popular vote and really won the 2000 election. So at least they’ve got some fresh new issues to deal with….”

    Hahahaha! That’s great.

  25. Please, Pat was not funnier than Smalley. Pat was just exasperating. Although, maybe I just think that because I’m from a 12 stepping family.

    I remember being extremely disappointed after I foud out about Franken’s politics.

    Mark Fox has the best bet so far, although I think we might be underestimating Franken’s whine factor. If the Dems win, he’ll still be able to whine that Kerry’s not liberal ENOUGH.

  26. Franken really talked about the 2000 vote? Has any other show debuted and jumped the shark on the same day?

  27. Has Franen been funny since “How does it affect me Al Franken?” At least once he as:

    I saw Franken on C-Span in early 2000. He was asked who he liked better for President, Gore or Bradley? He said Gore. He commented that Bradley had been admitted to the hospital for some heart problem, and then later the doctors had said it was just a result of the caffeine Bradley drank when he had a cream soda.

    He then stared right into the camera and deadpans, “I want a President who can drink cream soda.”

  28. i would think any radio station devoted to a slice of the political landscape would get dreadfully boring after a while. could you imagine libertarian radio? it’d be like a 24-7 political brawl between the comic book geeks and the sci fi convention nerds.

    the mind reels…

  29. All al-Franken will talk about is a republican — Bush.

  30. Just listening to it now. Franken not very funny. On the other hand, Randi Rhoades (sp?)is excellent. A bit repetitive, but excellent.

    Why are people acting like Al Franken is the only person on this station?

  31. “Franken really talked about the 2000 vote? Has any other show debuted and jumped the shark on the same day?”

    Franken personally didn’t say much about it (at least that I heard), but one of his guests was obviously still trying to come to terms. He pointed out for the benefit of everyone who’s been in sensory deprivation for the past 4 years that Gore in fact got more of the popular vote, then said something like, “And, at least in my opinion, he won Florida and got more electoral votes too.” He was talking like he wanted to dedicate the kicking of GWB’s ass in November to Gore, as if Gore’s a little boy in a hospital somewhere who doesn’t know if he’ll ever walk again. Poor little guy.

  32. Franken really talked about the 2000 vote?

    It’s the root of today’s liberal rant: it all comes back to Bush “stealing the election”. That way, when anyone threatens to factually legitimize a Bush action or value, they have that bit to fall back on. The problem is that liberals don’t like numbers. They prefer fuzzy philosophical ruminations over statistics and figures, rather than observing that those statistics and figures are bound by the rules of mathematics. Taxes (calculus) and the 2000 election (probability) are two key examples of this failure. I suppose however that in order to be the “people’s party,” and yet stay in power, you’d need to dumb it down a bit.

  33. that Gore in fact got more of the popular vote

    Please grab the nearest liberal and tatoo the following on the insides of his or her eyelids:

    We do not, nor have we EVER, elected the president on the basis of the popular vote.

    Seriously kids, read that wrinkled old piece of paper before you complain about people violating it.

  34. Yes, but it makes for a great talking point. Fine points of electoral law don’t.

    Besides, Bush’s electoral college victory depends on which side you believe in the Florida fiasco.

  35. is it too late to get in on the pool?

  36. “air america” = 700 club for liberals

    you get your dogma and the show has to pay the station to carry it is where it will likely end up.

  37. James B:

    I was thinking that Al Franken hadn’t been funny since he stopped promoting the Al Franken Decade, but the cream soda incident you described actually does sound funny.

    So am I correct that Franken suffered no legal consequences for assaulting a heckler at a political rally, or did I just miss the follow-up on that story?

  38. What about important media news? Like the rerelease of the Life of Brian (which at times seems to be the unofficial movie of Reason).

  39. I vote for “1 month after the election”.

    The new attempt to create new media outlets is a direct result of campaign finance reform. If you can’t raise the cash to buy ad time, the next best thing to do is to have supporters buy media themselves, and become free advertisements for you. The law of unintended consequences in action.

    New government restrictions on speech in the name of ‘openness’ are going to create the unintended consequence of making it even harder to figure out where the special interest money is, and how the candidates are being supported. The new game is campaign-by-proxy. Al Gore’s getting into the act now with his new media venture as well.

    But in a year’s time, neither of them will be on the air.

  40. the rerelease of the Life of Brian

    WHOO HOO!

  41. Did he do the “Too much olive oil
    in the hummus” gag again?
    That one never gets old.

  42. When I was a young boy, my father sat me down and said “Son, some things in life just aren’t funny. And one of those things is Al Franken.”

    – Jeffrey Ross

  43. You know, I hate to defend Al Franken, but if he were really _that_ unfunny and inconsequential and doomed to fail, etc. I doubt that so many of you would feel the need to _comment_ on him…

  44. dhex: Libertarian radio might have an advantage in quantity of subject matter. We could mock nearly everybody without hurting our chances at election time. And who wouldn’t love Obscure Dead Philosopher Debate Hour or Macroeconomics Week in Review ? Let get this baby streaming!

    John: Commenting on Franken is like masturbation; it might not be your first choice for expression, but it is reliable and feels pretty good.

  45. The fact that Air America is broadcasting to the public and getting a sizable dose of media attention is likely the reason it’s attracting all the comments here.

    That’s not to say Al Franken should be of consequence. It’s just that others have made him out to be and thus turned him into an reasonable target of comment.

    Commenting about something others have deemed important doesn’t mean one agrees it’s important. In fact, one very well could be out to puncture that perception — and I suspect that’s the stance of most writers in this thread.

  46. (And another thing: I believe we still don’t have a response from anybody at Reason regarding the long posting times now. Posting a comment takes waaaay too long. Please, somebody give us a heads-up. [Sorry if I missed it elsewhere.])

  47. Sambo, if you let it go ten seconds then hit cancel, it’ll usually show up anyway.

  48. Besides, it might have to do with the term-paper size posts that get thrown around on some of these subjects.

  49. JB,

    Opposition to free markets is the key point of the Left. To the extent that the Right doesn’t defend free markets is the extent that the Left has won the fight, and the Right has adopted Leftist ideas. “Right Wing” W is a case in point, whith his prescription drug funding, etc. There was a time when the Right really did stand up for free markets, usually with about as much success as the Barry Goldwater presidential campaign.

    Of course, I’m talking about the Right in America, maybe the French Right really wants to go back to feudalism.

  50. Mark Cridland wrote:

    In her Cspan Booknotes interview a few years ago, Coulter claimed that most of NPR’s listeners were conservatives. Anyone have data on this?

    I believed that Coulter misspoke during her interview when she said:

    COULTER: Did you see that NPR listeners, something like 72 percent are conservative?

    http://www.anncoulter.org/specials/cspan.htm

    According to a Pew Research survey, 36% of NPR listeners identify themselves as conservatives while the study reported that 72% of listeners to the Rush Limbaugh show identity themselves as conservatives.

    http://people-press.org/reports/display.php3?PageID=613

  51. You can walk into a bookstore at your leisure. You have to listen to radio at the appointed time. Success in one does not mean success at another.

  52. Don,

    “To the extent that the Right doesn’t defend free markets is the extent that the Left has won the fight, and the Right has adopted Leftist ideas.”

    Or you can argue conversely that the right never believed in free markets in those areas to begin with.

  53. Oh, quit begruding the man his success; the market has spoken, and you people are now quibbling. After all, this was the same argument used to validate the recent S/M movie the Passion of the Christ.

  54. Any notion I had that AirAmerica would be just another NPR was dashed yesterday when I listened to Randi Rhodes pummel Ralph Nader, Hannity-style, compelling him to hang up on her. It’s definitely bloody-red-meat for libs, and like it or not, could end up providing some kind of perverse “balance” in talk-radio politics.

    As to how long it will last: depends on November election results. But I doubt Garofalo will last; she’s a whiny quitter from way back (read “Live From New York,”) and doesn’t have the Rush/Hannity/Rhodes-sized ego to succeed in talk-radio. Check this week’s NYPress for a good Garofalo takedown.

    To see the serious side of Stuart Smalley, check out the movie “When a Man Loves A Woman,” which I think was cowritten and/or coproduced by Franken. It’s not in the same league with “Days of Wine and Roses” or “The Lost Weekend,” but it doesn’t stink. I’d recommend his book “Lying Liars” too.

  55. In her Cspan Booknotes interview a few years ago, Coulter claimed that most of NPR’s listeners were conservatives. Anyone have data on this?

  56. John Gelt,

    He’s already demonstrated success; his book sales alone show that (sales being the ultimate metric I have been told again and again).

  57. Does anyone know if the corporation is named after a former CIA proprietary; or is that merely a coincidence?

  58. Jean Bart:

    I wouldn’t say he’s “demonstrated success” as much as I would say he’s found his own sub-culture of hate mongering readership.

    Success in business follow’s the laws of economics, but does success in literature and the arts follow the same standard?

  59. FRB,

    I thought it was funny when Franken tried to ask Pat Buchanan if he’d ever had a homoerotic dream (probably why the interview proposal didn’t get past the screening process with Buchanan’s staff).

  60. Yes, if we are talking numbers and not influence which can always be deprecated as a liberal invention or “sub-culture of hate” or some such.

  61. the market has spoken, and you people are now quibbling

    The market hasn’t spoken yet. No one knows if there’s actually a demand to hear wealthy actors gripe about wealthy politicians.

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