A Conversation with Dana Carvey

Dana Carvey Image

Dana and I discuss political comedy and how some of the greatest moments in SNL’s political satire were created. l promise Dana to blow smoke up his ass during this interview, and, indeed, smoke is blown. I open with a monologue in which I assesses the relative talents of Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump. Hint: Reagan could read a speech.

A Conversation with David Mandel

David Mandel

Veep show runner, David Mandel discusses Veep and what the hell it is that a show runner does. Why Trump’s election made a dark, cynical show even darker and more cynical. Also, how David owes his entire career to Al – a career that includes writing and producing for Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Veep, all shows that Al had nothing to do with. In his opening monologue Al calls the 2020 presidential election “the second most important election in our lifetime.”  The most important being last one.

A Conversation with Michael Mann

In this week’s episode, I talk with Michael Mann, Nobel Prize-winning climatologist for his work with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). We cover a lot of ground. How to talk about climate change to your crazy right-wing climate-denying uncle. “Uncle Hal, sea level is rising. For two reasons. Ice is melting. And water expands when it gets warmer.” If Uncle Hal insists sea level is rising because of all the rocks falling into the ocean, then just give up. We talk about how climate used to be a bipartisan issue, but since Citizens United, the Koch Brothers have … Read More…

A Conversation with Andy Slavitt

 The guy who pulled the HealthCare.Gov baby out of a burning building and then headed up Medicare and Medicaid in the Obama Administration discusses healthcare with Al. How Obamacare got so popular. (Republicans won, and their plan to repeal and replace sucked tail-pipe.)

A Conversation with Jeffrey Toobin and Nancy Gertner

An in-depth, but somewhat snarky, look at the Trump administration’s success in packing the courts with right-wing, Federalist Society judges. Gertner, a Harvard Law professor, and Toobin, CNN chief legal analyst, discuss some of the most cynical, activist decisions by the Roberts Court. Al calls Justice Scalia’s dissent in marriage equality, “Very gay.”

A Conversation with Michael Lewis

Michael Lewis and I discuss his latest bestseller, The Fifth Risk, which I call the best book about the Trump Administration, in no small part because there’s very little focus on Trump himself. Instead Lewis takes us inside of three Cabinet agencies – Agriculture, Commerce, and Energy – and the incompetent, venal, and/or corrupt appointees who find their way into crucial positions within the federal government. The head of science at the Agriculture Department is replaced by a right-wing talk radio host whose only qualification is that he endorsed Trump early in Iowa. Trump appoints the CEO of AccuWeather to head up … Read More…

A Conversation With Sarah Silverman

The brilliant, brave, and hilarious Sarah Silverman is this week’s guest on The Al Franken Podcast. I’ve watched Sarah evolve from a brash, spirited diamond-in-the-rough into one of our most daring, thoughtful, and beloved comedian/satirists.  In our, may I say, delightful, wide-ranging discussion, Sarah talks about her formative influences (her dad taught her to curse at two), the risk of taking risks (spoiler alert – it’s risky), and her embrace of change both in her craft and her life. We talk about the presence of evil (hear a right-wing preacher call Sarah “a whore of Zion” and suggest that her violent murder … Read More…

A Conversation with Dahlia Lithwick and Matt Miller

Dahlia Lithwick, brilliant writer for Slate on all things jurisprudential, and Matt Miller, former spokesman for Attorney General Eric Holder, have a lively discussion with an impassioned Al who argues that it’s time for the House to go to an impeachment inquiry or get off the pot.

A Conversation with Maria Teresa Kumar

In my wide-ranging interview with Maria Teresa Kumar, we talked about a practice that has been going on for years, but which, under the Trump Administration’s zero tolerance and family separation policies, has become more and more commonplace.

Al Franken Has A Podcast

In this trailer episode to The Al Franken Podcast, Al sits down with Amazon’s Alexa (Siri had other commitments) to review highlights of the upcoming episodes.