Franken began his performing career in high school at The Blake School, where he and his long-time writing partner Tom Davis were known for their humor. Franken honed his writing and performing skills at Minneapolis' Dudley Riggs' Brave New Workshop theater, specializing in political satire. He and Davis soon found themselves in "a life of near-total failure on the fringes of show business in Los Angeles."
Franken and Davis were recruited as two of the original writers (and occasional performers) on Saturday Night Live (SNL) (1975–1980, 1985–1995). In the latter period, only Franken returned as a performer. In Season 1 of SNL, as apprentice writers, the two shared a salary of $350 per week. Franken, who received seven Emmy nominations and three Awards for his television writing and producing, created such characters as self-help guru Stuart Smalley and such routines as proclaiming the 1980s to be the "Al Franken Decade". Franken was associated with SNL for over 15 years and, in 2002, interviewed former Vice President Al Gore while in character as Smalley. Franken and Davis wrote the script to the 1986 comedy film One More Saturday Night, appearing in it as rock singers in a band called "Bad Mouth". They also appeared in minor roles in All You Need Is Cash and in the Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd film Trading Places.
Franken's most notorious SNL performance may have been "A Limo for the Lame-O", a commentary he delivered near the end of the 1979–80 season during a Weekend Update segment. Franken mocked controversial NBC president Fred Silverman as "a total unequivocal failure" and displayed a chart showing the poor ratings of NBC programs. Franken proclaimed that Silverman did not deserve a limousine. As a result of this sketch, Silverman refused Lorne Michaels' request that Franken succeed him as SNL's head producer, prompting Franken to leave the show when Michaels did, at the end of the 1979–80 season. Franken later returned to the show in 1985, mostly as a writer, but also as an occasional performer, best known for the Stuart Smalley character. He acknowledged using cocaine while working for Saturday Night Live but says he no longer uses illegal drugs. Franken left the show in 1995 in protest over losing the role of Weekend Update anchor to Norm Macdonald.
Read more about this topic: Al Franken
Famous quotes containing the word night:
“She wore far too much rouge last night and not quite enough clothes. That is always a sign of despair in a woman.”
—Oscar Wilde (18541900)