Al Franken is a Jewish American politician, comedian, writer, and liberal political commentator. He was born in New York on May 21, 1951 and moved to Minnesota with his family when he was four. Franken was raised in a Reform Jewish home by his mother Phoebe Kunst, a homemaker, and his father Joseph Franken, a printing salesman. He graduated from Harvard college in 1973 with a bachelor of the arts degree in political science.
Franken's career with Saturday Night Live began in 1975 as an apprentice writer with his friend Tom Davis, with whom he also split a $350 weekly pay check. Over the next two decades with the show, Franken won five Emmy awards for his writing and became a performer on the show. He also wrote multiple movie screenplays and scripts for other television series.
In 1996, Franken's book Rush Limbaugh Is A Big Fat Idiot and Other Observations was published and reached #1 on the New York Times best-seller list. The book used humor and satire to convey Franken's own political stance and his issues with numerous right-wing political figures.
In 2003 while he was a fellow at Harvard's Shorenstein Center on Press, Politics, and Public Policy, Franken wrote his next #1 New York Times best-seller, Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right. His next #1 New York Times best-seller came in 2005 and was called The Truth (with jokes).
On March 31, 2004, Air America Radio launched as the first progressive talk radio network and Franken hosted its flagship program, The Al Franken Show. The radio show was broadcast live three hours a day, five days a week, and featured experts in domestic and foreign policy, national and world leaders, and covered a variety of topics from the cost of prescription drugs to the war in Iraq. The show reached over 1.5 million listeners per week.
Franken moved back to Minnesota at the end of 2005 and founded the political action committee, Midwest Values PAC, which raised over $1.1 million for Democrats across Minnesota and the country.
On the final day of his show on Air America Radio on February 14, 2007, Franken formally announced that he would run for the United States Senate from Minnesota in 2008.
On November 18, 2008, two weeks after the elections, official results showed the incumbent, Senator Norm Coleman, leading by only 215 votes. Secretary of State for Minnesota, Mark Ritchie, authorized an automatic recount in accordance with Minnesota election law relation to candidates separated by less than 0.5 percent. On January 5, 2009, the Minnesota State Canvassing Board certified that Franken was ahead by 225 votes in the recount. The next day, Coleman's campaign filed an election contest and the official certification of the winner will be delayed until the case is resolved.
Franken now lives in Minneapolis with his wife Franni. They have a daughter, Thomasin, and a son, Joe.