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Franken spoke about being a politician, and said that a lot of his colleagues in the Senate are actually funny, “That’s how I bond with them,” he said.
“Lindsey Graham is very funny,” said Franken, who is promoting his book Al Franken, Giant of the Senate. He recalls telling Graham once, “If I were voting in the Republican primaries I’d vote for you. And without hesitation he said, ‘That’s my problem.'”
One senator who struggled to understand Franken’s humor was former Oklahoma senator Tom Coburn. Franken said their first few interactions were awkward, so he invited Coburn to a meal to get to know each other better and requested that they have fun. He asked Coburn, “To be a doctor in Oklahoma do you have to have any formal education?”
Franken remembers Coburn getting heated and exclaiming. “Yes, you’ve gotta go to medical school.” Franken and Colbert laughed and the senator said, “I explained to him what jokes were.”
Colbert and Franken also played a game where Franken showed off his new “pivoting” skills where he stays on message and doesn’t answer a question directly. Colbert asked the Minnesota senator about North Korea and he replied, “In my book I talk about the importance of level-headed leadership, which is why I’m terrified of Trump.”
The two comedians spoke about when Franken used to poke fun at politicians, something Franken still says he stands behind for the people who deserve it. He remembers being sued by Bill O’Reilly and called it a big misunderstanding.
“Bill O’Reilly didn’t understand that satire is protected speech in the United States even if the object of the satire doesn’t get it,” he said.
Additionally, Franken revealed what it was like being in the room when John McCain voted against the “skinny repeal” of the Affordable Care Act, saying he guessed McCain was going to vote no because Mike Pence had walked out of the room before McCain cast his vote.
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