Al Franken performs on “Huge Dick” Ted Cruz in “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” guest hosting gig

In the nearly five years since Al Franken resigned from the Senate in disgrace following multiple allegations of groping and other inappropriate sexual behavior, he has slowly made a comeback. But instead of trying to work his way back into politics, he’s returned to his original love of comedy.

There have been nightly cameos with old friends like Conan O’Brien and Bill Maher, a weekly podcast where he interviews former colleagues like Senator Amy Klobuchar and former SNL Actor Chris Rock and even a stand-up tour of theaters and comedy clubs across the country.

But on Tuesday night, Franken made perhaps his most famous move yet when he joined comedians like Chelsea Handler and Dana Carvey as a guest host for Jimmy Kimmel.

He introduced himself as “the only former US Senator to be an innkeeper Jimmy Kimmel Live!‘ before insisting, ‘Tonight isn’t about politics, it’s about comedy and having fun.’

Then came his first real joke: “So who comes from abroad to get an abortion?”

Franken happened to host the same day that President Biden signed anti-inflation legislation into law, but instead of dwelling on good news, he decided instead to talk about some of the other existential threats facing our nation. No, not the “huge wealth and income disparities” or the “threats to our democracy,” but adding, “I really think one of the most serious issues facing our country today is how big an asshole.” Ted Cruz is is.”

“Well, I’ve said it before, but I probably like Ted Cruz more than most of my peers like Ted Cruz, and I hate Ted Cruz,” he added. “Ted Cruz is probably one of the most famous senators because, like I said, he’s a huge dick.” It was the kind of phrase Franken would never have uttered while representing the state of Minnesota, but now that he’s free of those professional ones Compulsion has returned to every opportunity he gets.

“Ted Cruz is probably one of the most famous senators because as I mentioned before he’s a huge dick.”

He later took some obligatory shots at Donald Trump, who was “under investigation for possible espionage law violations and obstruction” after the FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago. “It doesn’t look good,” he said. “Trump’s screwed so much he has to write himself a check for $130,000.”

“Now some are saying Trump could pose a flight risk, which is crazy for the former President of the United States to pose a flight risk,” Franken said. “But the good news is that at least Donald Trump’s official presidential portrait is back hanging at every airport in the United States,” he added, as a photo of Trump with the words “No Fly List” above his head appeared on screen.

Finally, Franken joked, “There’s never been a better time to visit Palm Beach because for the rest of the summer, Mar-a-Lago is offering a special weekend package that includes complimentary breakfast, a room upgrade when available, and a nuclear secret of your choice.”

Having largely avoided discussing the troubling circumstances under which he left the Senate on his podcast, on stage, or elsewhere in recent years, he was not expected to do so in the late-night TV would do. But there would have been something refreshing to at least acknowledge why he’s no longer rubbing shoulders with Cruz as a senator, but toasting him from afar as a comedian. Or even to express a degree of outrage at being forced while Republic Predators are allowed to continue serving.

The closest Franken got to admitting that he wishes he were still in the Senate and not making jokes again to make a living, was during the sketch that ended his monologue when he posed as a member of the Jan. 6 committee and grilled a fictitious witness who acted out his first guest of the night, Better call Saul star and companion SNL Alum Bob Odenkirk.

Even as he delivered increasingly absurd dialogue about how close Donald Trump came to celebrating the hanging of his own vice president during the riot, you could tell Franken still feels at home on C-SPAN.

For more, listen and subscribe to The Last Laugh podcast. Al Franken performs on “Huge Dick” Ted Cruz in “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” guest hosting gig


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