The Al Franken Podcast

By District Productive

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Subscribers: 1519
Reviews: 8

melissa reed
 May 21, 2020
hilarious, informative, and somehow comforting. we need Senator Al's voice... this is such a valuable podcast.

 Jan 27, 2020
Love Al's no nonsense style decorated with humor.

 Nov 26, 2019
fun and informative I live al's rye style

 Nov 24, 2019

 Oct 20, 2019
This is a great podcast! Al is funny and intelligent and has a great rapport with his guests. This is very informative and interesting. Al, keep up the good work!!👍👍


A five-time Emmy winning SNL comedy writer/producer, joins a four-time #1 NYT bestselling author, a three-time highest-rated national progressive radio host, a two-time Grammy winning artist, and a former US Senator. So, it gets a little crowded in the booth when Al talks public policy and sometimes political comedy with notable guests. Think “The Daily” without the resources of the NYTimes.

Episode Date
Democratic Election Lawyer Marc Elias Talks to Two Texas Teenagers About Winning Them the Right to Vote By Mail in November

Recent high school graduate Rajit Gulhjati contacted Al for guidance on how he and his friends could vote by mail. So, Al brought in Democratic super lawyer Marc Elias.

Jul 05, 2020
A Fourth of July Conversation with Thomas Jefferson

Al sits down with the author of the Declaration of Independence on the anniversary of our nation's birth

Jul 04, 2020
Melvin Carter Talks About Being St. Paul’s First Black Mayor and the Son of a Cop

St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter Discusses the Aftermath of George Floyd’s Murder

Jun 28, 2020
Frm. Obama Speechwriter David Litt Explains How the GOP Has Systematically Undermined Democracy.

In his new book: Democracy: In One Book or Less fmr. Obama speechwriter and NY Times bestselling author brings fascinating and often startling detail to all the ways the GOP thwarts democracy. 

Jun 21, 2020
Atlantic Writer George Packer on How the Pandemic and George Floyd’s Murder have Laid Bare America’s Weaknesses

Packer and Al discuss the how a corrupt political class, a heartless economy, systemic racism, and Donald Trump have led to the failures Americans have been witness to and the victims of these last several months.

Jun 14, 2020
Donna Edwards and Al Discuss Race, Cops, and Photo Ops

Former Congresswoman Edwards talks about being the mother of a young black man and whether George Floyd's murder has finally brought us to an inflection point.

Jun 07, 2020
NEA President Lily Eskelsen García on Teaching During a Pandemic and a DeVos

The host (and former member of the Senate Education Committee) and the president of the National Education Association talks about an important subject: how awful Betsy DeVos is. But also, education.

May 31, 2020
COVID-19 Trailer

This COVID-19 pandemic is arguably the greatest global crisis since World War II. Since the coronavirus hit, Al has been talking with guests about the various aspects of this horrible scourge. To date, guests include:

Andy Slavitt, former head of Medicare/Medicaid;

Austan Goolsbee, former Chair of the President's Council of Economic Advisors;

Dr. Leana Wen, former president of Planned Parenthood; and

Michael Lewis, author of the Fifth Risk.

May 27, 2020
Paul Krugman on Arguing with Republican Zombies

The NYT columnist and Nobel Prize winner discusses how Republicans operate in bad faith on issues like climate, tax cuts, deficits, income and wealth inequality, and now, the pandemic.

May 24, 2020
Steve Schmidt Tears Trump and the Republican Party A New One

The former GOP strategist trashes Trump and his enablers. And gives a surprisingly personal explanation of why it took him so long to leave his old party.

May 17, 2020
Epidemiologist Larry Brilliant on Where We Go From Here

From 1973-76, Dr. Larry Brilliant was part of the World Health Organization team that eradicated smallpox and is Chairman of the Board of Ending Pandemics. He discusses how we go forward on Covid-19 after blowing it in the first six months.

May 10, 2020
Chief Democratic Election Lawyer Marc Elias Talks Elections During A Pandemic

Democrats want every eligible American to vote. Republicans don’t. Nationally renowned election lawyer Marc Elias discusses the battles ahead from now until November.

May 03, 2020
Billy and Debbie Shore, Founders of No Kid Hungry, on Hunger in America During this Pandemic

The brother and sister team who have been doing this work for 35 years talk about how the pandemic has shined a light on childhood hunger and what we can do about it.

Apr 26, 2020
Michael Lewis On How Trump’s Handling of Covid-19 Has Proven His Book, The Fifth Risk, Tragically Prophetic.

In The Fifth Risk, Lewis portrayed Donald Trump as a man totally ignorant of and disinterested in the actually functioning of the federal government. The book’s title refers to the potential catastrophe that an administration fails to plan for and prevent. 

Apr 19, 2020
Mental Health and Criminal Justice

Miami Dade County Judge Steve Leifman and Norm Ornstein on Judge Leifman’s remarkably successful Jail Diversion Program, which saves lives and big bucks. An inspiring, feel-good story about changing the lives of our society’s most vulnerable.

Apr 12, 2020
Dr. Leana Wen Discusses the Tortuous and High Stakes Path that Dr.'s Fauci and Birx Must Navigate

Dr. Wen is an emergency room physician, professor at GW School of Public Health, and fmr. Public Health Commissioner for Baltimore under two mayors. The second, who was recently sentenced to 3 years in prison, is arguably crazy, giving her unique insight into the dilemma that Fauci and Birx face in dealing with an inarguably crazy president.  

Apr 05, 2020
Austan Goolsbee on Virus Economics

The former Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Obama speaks with clarity and common sense about how virus economics are different than normal economics.

Mar 29, 2020
Andy Slavitt, Former Medicare/Medicaid Head Discusses the Pandemic

One of the earliest and most outspoken critics of Trump's mishandling of the pandemic, Slavitt reviews its tragic consequences and where we go from here.

Mar 22, 2020
MSNBC's Andrew Zimmern Talks About Food, Immigration, Climate and Addiction

Turns out food is important. Andrew Zimmern, host and producer of MSNBC’s new series, “What’s Eating America” talks about the intersection of food and health, immigration, climate, and addiction – including his own harrowing journey to sobriety and grace. 

Mar 15, 2020
Documentarian Alex Gibney Tells the Cautionary Tale of the Oligarch Who Defied Putin

Russia’s transition from a brutal dictatorship to a fledgling capitalist democracy and back to a brutal dictatorship. 

Mar 08, 2020
Pulitzer Prize Winner Dave Fahrenthold Catches Us Up on Trump’s Corruption

In a time of an international health and economic crises, it’s good to have a POTUS who can be trusted by the world community. Instead, we have a grifter with an entire family of money-grubbing, lying grifters.

Mar 01, 2020
Is Democracy in Danger? Legal Experts Dahlia Lithwick and Ian Bassin On Trump, Barr and The Abuse of the Criminal Justice System

Dahlia Lithwick of Slate and Ian Bassin of Protect Democracy discuss Trump's sickening lurch toward autocracy post-impeachment with the cooperation of Bill Barr.

Feb 23, 2020
Intelligence Expert Malcolm Nance Makes the Convincing Case that Trump is a Russian Asset

The author, commentator, and career intelligence officer lays out Donald Trump's decades-long relationship with Putin, the KGB, and Rusky Oligarchs. With a cast of unsavory characters like convicted Russian stooges Paul Manafort and Roger Stone, Nance leaves little doubt that the President of the United States has been and continues to be in cahoots with corrupt money-launderers and murderers. A fun show!

Feb 16, 2020
A Conversation with Jimmy Kimmel

Al and Jimmy discuss his radio days, Jimmy Kimmel Live’s rough start, then success, bad guests, his emotional appearance after his son’s birth, and his passionate support of universal health care.

Feb 09, 2020
John Mayer on Playing Guitar and Singing at the Same Time

John Mayer talks about how he transitioned from pop star/tabloid fodder (recurrent Sexiest Man Alive) to the impossible challenge of filling Jerry Garcia’s gigantic shoes with Dead and Company, the current iteration of the Grateful Dead. (If you guessed Al is a big Dead Head, you might be right).

Plus, an angry Al vents about the week's impeachment news.

Feb 02, 2020
How We Got Here. Norm Ornstein on the Erosion of Norms from Gingrich to McConnell to Trump

Veteran Washington observer Norm Ornstein tracks the erosion of norms that once allowed Washington to work. From Newt Gingrich instructing Republicans to demonize Democrats as “sick, corrupt, traitors” to Mitch McConnell denying Merrick Garland a hearing.  The abandonment of fact-based evidence, shutting down the government, using the filibuster to grind the Senate to a halt, to a pathological President attacking the media as “enemies of the people.”

Jan 26, 2020
Paul Tough on How the College Admissions System Preserves Our Nation’s Economic and Social Disparities

The Felicity Huffman/Lori Loughlin scandal pales in comparison to the scandal of our higher education admissions system, which protects the privileged and leaves everyone else behind. 

Jan 19, 2020
MSNBC's Second Most Popular Host, Lawrence O'Donnell, Is Guest

Lawrence O’Donnell - Son of Dorchester, West Wing writer, Moynihan Senate Staff director - tears Trump and CNN a new one. 

Jan 12, 2020
Al and Conan O’Brien

Al and Conan discuss their time together at SNL, including Tina Fey’s shameless theft of Al’s Fart Doctor sketch and the time Al scared the bejeezus out of George Harrison. Very little public policy discussed. 

Jan 05, 2020
Sara Silverman and Al Talk About Comedy and Politics

A replay of one of our favorite shows from early in 2019. Al and Sara discuss the risky comedy, politics and much more.

Dec 29, 2019
Al Solo! - Al Rants on Impeachment, Trump, McConnell, and GOP Bad Faith.

I rant about the dishonesty (and/or stupidity) of House Republicans during the impeachment debate. Also, about the shameless bad faith exhibited by Mitch McConnell. And the unraveling of Donald Trump’s mind – to the extent it was ever raveled. Plus, my frustration with the Democratic presidential debate our candidates failing to lay a glove on Trump. And with the Democratic candidates, who beat up each other, but failed to lay a glove on Trump.  

Dec 22, 2019
Guilty! Al Discusses Impeachment with Harvard Law Professor, Nancy Gertner and Max Bergmann, Not a Harvard Law Professor

Al concludes that Trump is guilty, yes,guilty!, of high crimes and misdemeanors and so is AG Bill Barr after discussing facts with Harvard Law Professor Nancy Gertner and Max Bergman, director of the Moscow Project. They make the case that assuming Trump will be acquitted in the Senate is a mistake. Al concludes that "When you assume, you 'Make an Ass out of Uma Thurman.'" Uma discusses Pulp Fiction.

Dec 15, 2019
Obama National Security Advisor Susan Rice Talks Foreign Policy Successes and Failures

Al and Rice discuss how immensely consequential decisions are made in real time. Sometimes you get it right. Sometimes you don't. And how you deal with tragic mistakes but have to keep on going.

Dec 08, 2019
Immigration, Child Separation and Voter Suppression with Maria Teresa Kumar

A repeat of our first show with the President of Voto Latino, Maria Teresa Kumar with a new timely intro. Al finally took a week off. Okay?!

Dec 01, 2019
Al talks to Ambassador Peter Galbraith About Trump's Tragic Betrayal of the Kurds, and Al weighs in on the Impeachment Hearings.

Foreign service veteran Peter Galbraith talks about his 35 year history with the Kurds and how Trump's rash decision to sell them out in Syria will undermine America's standing and security in the world for years to come.

Nov 24, 2019
Al Talks To Executive Director of Foster America Sherry Lachman About The State of Foster Care And Al Gets Verklempt

Al talks to his former senior education counsel Sherry Lachman about her great organization, Foster America. She helped with a piece of legislation that is one of Al's greatest achievements as Senator. In the process of getting it passed, Sherry broke a cardinal rule of the Senate and got in a heated conversation with a sitting Senator, much to Al's delight. 

Plus, Al has some thoughts on the first day of the impeachment hearings. It turns out that the Republicans are acting as protectors for Donald Trump!

Learn more about Foster America at

Nov 17, 2019
Whoever Wins the Popular Vote Should Be President. The New Yorker's Hendrik Hertzberg and Al Discuss Why

The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact is a compact to award member states' electors to the candidate who receives the most votes nationwide It will take effect when states with 270 electors adopt it.So far, 14 states and DC (representing 187 electoral votes) have compact. Colorado's legislature and governor have approved it (9 more electors) and nervous Conservatives have put it on the ballot as a Referendum in 2020. Hertzberg explains it all and why it's good for every American except Donald Trump.

Nov 10, 2019
Where There's Fire, There's Fire." Jeffrey Toobin and Dahlia Lithwick Discuss The Legal Issues Ahead in the Impeachment of Donald Trump

Jeffrey Toobin and Dahlia Lithwick examine the potential legal issues that may take center stage between now and the day the Senate decides whether Trump is guilty or not guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors. 

Nov 03, 2019
Judd Apatow Discusses Comedy, Mental Health and Politics

Writer, director, producer Judd Apatow (Knocked Up, The Larry Sanders Show, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Girls, Anchorman, Trainwreck) discusses comedy, mental health and politics. Al laughs and gets depressed. 

Oct 27, 2019
Al Talks with one of his Heroes, Harlem Children's Zone Founder Geoffrey Canada

One of Al's heroes, Geoffrey Canada, founder of the Harlem Children's Zone, talks about transforming the lives of some of our poorest, most disadvantaged kids and how we can replicate that across the country.

Oct 20, 2019
Journalist Elizabeth Drew Explains Impeachment to Al

Al talks impeachment with Elizabeth Drew, veteran journalist and author of Washington Journal: Reporting Watergate and Richard Nixon's Downfall. Her heralded dissection of the Nixon and Clinton sagas makes her the go-to on the pending Trump impeachment.

Oct 13, 2019
A Conversation with Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

Al travels to Leader Reid’s home in Henderson, Nevada, to discuss his life and career, with a special focus on their relationship during the years he and Al overlapped in Senate. 

Oct 06, 2019
A Conversation with Chris Rock

Mr. Rock is a well-regarded comedian, writer, and actor who is a friend of the host. They discuss a whole bunch of stuff.

Sep 29, 2019
Rising Democratic Star and Afghanistan Vet Jason Kander Discusses Putting The Brakes On His Political Career To Treat His PTSD

Afghan vet and Dem Rising Star Jason Kander discusses his decision to put aside politics to treat his PTSD and his work meeting the housing and treatment needs of vets suffering from the psychological wounds of war.

Learn more at

Sep 24, 2019
Renaissance Man Bob Kerrey Talks to Man Al Franken

A great show for a change with Bob Kerrey, Medal of Honor recipient, Governor of Nebraska, two-term US Senator, 9/11 Commissioner, and University President, on why he can’t keep a job.  Also, China, trade, Trump and 2020.

Sep 17, 2019
How Corrupt is Trump? Veteran DC Watchdog Melanie Sloan Discusses the Trump Culture of Corruption in Washington

The least surprising episode of The Al Franken Podcast.  Veteran DC watchdog Melanie Sloan tells us Trump is very corrupt. Also Ivanka and Jared. And Don Jr. and Eric. Plus the EPA, Interior, and Commerce.  And, finally this week, the National Weather Service!

Sep 10, 2019
Obama Chief Economist Austan Goolsbee Explains the Unexplainable: What The Hell Trump is Doing On Trade

Austan Goolsbee, former Obama chief economist, explains that "in a crisis, the president's credibility is all he has." So, someday soon, The New York Times headline may read, "World in Crisis, Turns Its Eyes to Donald Trump." And other scary stuff.

Sep 03, 2019
A Conversation with Vice President Walter Mondale
Aug 27, 2019
A Conversation with Joe Cirincione
Aug 20, 2019
A Conversation with Heidi Heitkamp
Aug 13, 2019
A Conversation with Andy Slavitt
Aug 06, 2019
A Conversation With Howard Fineman
Jul 30, 2019
A Conversation with Secretary Ernest Moniz
Jul 23, 2019
A Conversation With Franklin Foer
Jul 16, 2019
A Conversation with Dana Carvey
Jul 09, 2019
A Conversation with David Mandel
Jul 02, 2019
A Conversation with Michael Mann
Jun 25, 2019
A Conversation with Andy Slavitt
Jun 18, 2019
A Conversation with Jeffrey Toobin and Nancy Gertner
Jun 11, 2019
A Conversation with Michael Lewis
Jun 04, 2019
A Conversation With Sarah Silverman
May 28, 2019
A Conversation with Dahlia Lithwick and Matt Miller
May 21, 2019
A Conversation With Maria Teresa Kumar
May 14, 2019
Al Franken Has A Podcast
May 01, 2019