The Al Franken Podcast

By District Productive

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Subscribers: 2405
Reviews: 11

 May 16, 2021
Al brings both his sense of humor and experience to the microphone. Worth a listen.

 Jan 30, 2021

 Jan 3, 2021

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.


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
Norm Ornstein & Tom Mann - Who Called the GOP a Sham Years Ago!

In 2012 Ornstein & Mann wrote It’s Even Worse Than It Looks. And, man, were they right!

Jun 13, 2021
Ed Shelleby - My Communications Director–On Working for a Different Kind of Senator. Plus, a Rant on Voting Rights

Al Talks with His Senate Communications Director on Why the Franken Office was a Blast & Got Stuff Done! & Al on Democracy. Hitler didn’t end it. The Confederacy didn’t end it. Let’s not let Senate Republicans!

Jun 06, 2021
Louis King – The Real Deal

For 25 yrs. Louis has provided job training for thousands of folks from the Northside of Minneapolis. He walks a good walk. And talks a good talk.

May 30, 2021
Amy Klobuchar & Al Discuss Anti-Trust & The Ted "Carnival" Cruz Joke

The Chair of the Anti-Trust Subcommittee discusses her new book, Anti-Trust. From Facebook & Amazon & Google to Coffins & Sunglasses & Diapers.

May 23, 2021
Howard Fineman on Republican Nihilism

The Republican Party has entered new territory. And it’s ugly.

May 16, 2021
Sen. Tammy Duckworth Tells Her Story

Sen. Duckworth tells about growing up in Thailand, joining the Army, and being grievously wounded in combat. Gruesome, harrowing, and…very funny!

May 09, 2021
Neo-Con Bill Kristol on How Trump Made Him Do Some Re-Thinking

Kristol discusses disgust with today’s Republican Party

May 02, 2021
Replay of My Conversation with Judge Steve Leifman and Norm Ornstein

Judge Leifman has pioneered the widespread use of crisis intervention teams in Miami, saving lots of lives and money

Apr 29, 2021
Malcolm Nance on Russia and Jan. 6th

The former intel analyst calls Putin “a Mafia don w/nukes” & updates us on the investigation into Jan. 6

Apr 25, 2021
Replay of My Conversation with Vice President Walter Mondale

We recorded this in August of 2019 in his office in Minneapolis.

Apr 20, 2021
Marc Elias and Ari Berman on Georgia and Worse

Super Election-Lawyer & Mother Jones Voting Rights Writer Stoke Al’s Worse Fears About Republican Legislatures

Apr 18, 2021
Mini-Podcast: Peter Bergen on Afghanistan and Bin Laden

An Excerpt from Al's conversation with Bergen on his book, Trump and His Generals

Apr 14, 2021
Uncle Sam (Roger McNamee) & Auntie Trust (Zephyr Teachout) Talk Facebook, Google, Amazon & Democracy

Early Facebook Investor McNamee & Anti-Trust Lawyer Teachout Discuss Dangers Posed by Data Behemoths

Apr 11, 2021
Our Southern Border - National Immigration Forum Executive Director Ali Noorani

Al and Ali discuss what brought us here, where we are, and what we need to do going forward.

A list of organizations that humanely helps immigrants at the Southern Border:

El Paso:

The Annunciation House

Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center


Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley


Kino Border Initiative

Apr 04, 2021
David Letterman!

A thoroughly enjoyable one. For a change.

Mar 28, 2021
Andy Slavitt (Again!) But Now He’s a Big Shot!

Senior Advisor on the President’s Coronavirus Task Force explains it all.

Mar 21, 2021
Heather McGhee – On What Racism Costs Everyone

Her new book, The Sum of Us explains how we can all prosper together.

Mar 14, 2021
WaPo Columnist Catherine Rampell Wonks Out w/Al on Economics, Race, Healthcare – You Name It!

A wide-ranging conversation on a wide range of issues. It’s wide-ranging!

Mar 07, 2021
Nobel Climate Scientist Michael Mann on Denier Tactics and Idiocy

Mann Discusses his new book The New Climate War.

Feb 28, 2021
Dr. Anthony Fauci Answers the Questions You’ve Been Wanting to Ask

When will we be back to normal? Will we be able to find a vaccine for a contagious variant? Now that I’ve been vaccinated, can I see my grandchildren?

Feb 21, 2021
Al Recreates McConnell’s Post-Acquittal Impeachment Speech

In case you missed the original!

Feb 17, 2021
3 Heroes in the DC Public Schools (One’s My Daughter)

Chancellor Lewis Ferebee, Jackie Iloh, and Thomasin Franken on addressing the enormous challenges facing students in DCPS as a result of the pandemic.

Feb 14, 2021
Al Gives His Closing Argument for the Impeachment Trial

Any intellectually honest Republican Senator would vote to convict after hearing this. Unfortunately, that’s not near enough.

Feb 09, 2021
Adam Schiff on (You Guessed It) Impeachment

The lead manager of Impeachment #1 discusses Impeachment #2.

Feb 07, 2021
Super Bowl Edition: Journalist/Author Reid Forgrave on Football and Concussions

Forgrave tells the heartbreaking story of 24-year-old Zac Easter who committed suicide after struggling for years with traumatic brain injury. 

Jan 31, 2021
Norm Ornstein & Al (Again!)

Norm & Al on the Biden Agenda, a 50-50 Senate, and Fox’s Bizarre Objection to the Mere Mention of Racism in the Inaugural

Jan 24, 2021
Former U.S. Attorneys Joyce Vance and Preet Bharara Discuss Legal Problems Ahead for Trump, the Rioters, and Cruz and Hawley

A Blow-by-Blow Assessment for Two of our Greatest Legal Minds (Not Al)

Jan 17, 2021
Rick Wilson, Co-Founder of The Lincoln Project

A wide-ranging conversation and Al’s opening monologue on this week’s events 

Jan 10, 2021
Al Explains the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact to Tommy

How we can move to a national popular vote without amending the Constitution?

Jan 06, 2021
Top Dem. Election Lawyer Marc Elias Reviews Trump Legal Team's 59 Post-Election Losses


Jan 03, 2021
A Holiday Repeat of Conan O'Brien with a Brand New Timely Intro!

One of my very favorites!

Dec 27, 2020
The Ground Game in Georgia!

D. Taylor – President of UNITE HERE – reports on what their 600+ canvassers are hearing at the doors. (Good News – no one’s pulled a gun on them like they did in NV and AZ during the general.)

Dec 20, 2020
Maria Teresa Kumar of Voto Latino on the Key Role Latinos Played in Electing Joe Biden

Al and Maria Teresa survey the expanding role of Latinos voters in American politics.

Dec 13, 2020
Joe Biden’s Closest Ally in the Senate, Chris Coons

 Al and Sen. Coons discuss foreign policy, a COVID relief package, and fondly recall a Coons-led trip to Africa where Coons got violently ill from food poisoning,

Dec 06, 2020
Fmr. Facebook Exec Tim Kendall on How Social Media is Destroying the World

One of the Silicon Valley Guilty Parties who stars in Netflix’s Most-Watched Documentary Ever explains why humanity is doomed unless we do something.

Nov 29, 2020
Laurie Garrett & Andy Slavitt on the Covid Spike, the Vaccines, & Trump's Negligent Homicide

The Good News: The Vaccines. The Bad News: Covid Surge & Trump Blocking Coordination Between His Team & Biden's

Nov 22, 2020
Al On The Election & Lincoln Project’s Stuart Stevens On What The GOP Has Become

Al heaps scorn & ridicule upon Trump & his team. And former GOP political operative Stuart Stevens on his mea culpa – It Was All A Lie.

Nov 15, 2020
SuperPundit Norm Ornstein on the Election

Our SuperElection Podcast!

Nov 08, 2020
Dick Gephardt and Ian Bassin – Can Trump Steal this Election?

The Fmr. House Majority Leader and the Founder of Protect Democracy discuss the perils of the 2020 election and Its immediate aftermath

Nov 01, 2020
Montana Sen. Jon Tester on How Dems Win Back Rural America

Tester discusses his new book, Grounded. Covering everything from how he lost three fingers in a meat grinder at 9 to the meat grinder in DC.

Oct 25, 2020
A Preview of the Final Trump-Biden Debate

President Donald Trump (Anthony Atamanuik) and Vice President Joe Biden (Dana Carvey) face off in a preview of the final debate of 2020.

Oct 21, 2020
Al Rails About Coney Barrett Hearing w/ Brian Fallon of Demand Justice

Fallon & Al weren’t happy with any part of the damn thing. 

Oct 18, 2020
Al’s Questions for Amy Coney Barrett

Al wishes he was still there. Here's what he would have asked if he still was.

Oct 13, 2020
Maria Teresa Kumar of Voto Latino and Marc Elias, Dems' Election Lawyer, on Voter Suppression

Voto Latino is on its way to registering 500,000 new voters this cycle. Elias is fighting to make sure their votes will be counted.

Oct 11, 2020
Norm Ornstein on the Sh*tsh*w in Cleveland. Franklin Foer and Natasha Bertrand on Russian Interference.

Norm was at the debate in Cleveland and gives us all the dirt. Frank and Natasha tell us all the dirt in the 900+ page Senate Intel Report. Hint: LOTS of collusion!

Oct 04, 2020
Dahlia Lithwick and The Day the President Laughed

The great Dahlia Lithwick discusses RBG, SCOTUS, and the Election. Depressing? Yes. But then the exciting world premiere of The Day the President Laughed!

Sep 27, 2020
Debate Prep Vets James Carville and Phillipe Reines on the Upcoming Debate

Carville and Reines (who played Trump in Hillary's debate prep) game out the Most Important Event in the History of the World. And Al on RBG.

Sep 20, 2020
Laurie Garrett, Pulitzer Prize Winner for her Writing on Pandemics and Andy Slavitt, Obama's Head of Medicare and Medicaid on the (Most Likely) Premature Introduction of a Coronavirus Vaccine

Garrett and Slavitt examine the erosion of trust in our public health institutions - The Federal Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control, and the Department of Health and Human Services under Donald Trump. And the tragic consequences now and in the future.

Sep 13, 2020
Douglas Boin, Author of Alaric the Goth – An Outsider’s History of the Fall of Rome, Discusses the Uncanny Parallels Between Trump’s America and 410 AD Rome,

Hatred of immigrants, religious intolerance, systemic racism. Asshole emperor. Sound familiar? Al and Douglas Boin tells the story of Alaric, the Goth who led the sacking of Rome. Also, Al establishes once and for all that the Romans killed Christ, not the Jews! Plus, Sen.Tammy Duckworth discusses Trump's particular aversion to amputees

Sep 06, 2020
David Axelrod on the Election. Spoiler Alert: He's for Biden

The political consultant who consulted Barack Obama all the way to the White House discusses how we get Biden there.

Aug 30, 2020
Repeating My Conversation with Chris Rock Because It's So Damn Great!

Chris discusses being a comedian, being black, being a black comedian, being bussed for nine years as a kid, and a whole bunch of other stuff.

Aug 23, 2020
Author Susan Nieman on Germans/Holocaust vs. Americans/Slavery – Germans Win

Nieman contrasts how Germans have come to terms with The Third Reich and how Americans have processed slavery, the Civil War, Jim Crow, lynching, and systemic racism.

Aug 16, 2020
Paul Begala on How to Beat Trump

The stable half of the consultant team that elected Bill Clinton tells us how to beat this psychopath – on the podcast and in his new book, You’re Fired.

Aug 09, 2020
Andrew Yang and Al Discuss Each Other

Yang and Al Discuss, Among Other Things – Yang’s Past, the Future of Work, and the Present.

Aug 02, 2020
Fmr. DC and Philly Police Chief Charles Ramsey Talks Police Reform

Al in conversation with the co-chair of Obama’s police reform commission.

Jul 26, 2020
Dahlia Lithwick on SCOTUS 2019-20 Term and Trump's Commutation of Roger Stone's 40-Month Sentence

Al and Dahlia discuss the Court's top decisions, including Bostock, which held that federal law prohibits employment discrimination agains LGBT workers, and whether Alito's dissent in that case was "very gay."

Jul 19, 2020
Epidemiologist Abdul El-Sayed Blames the Latest Covid Spikes on Guess Who?

Al and Former Detroit Public Health Commissioner on the Mistakes Trump Keeps Making.

Jul 12, 2020
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 Gulhati 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

Vice President Walter Mondale explains to Al why things have gotten so bad. And Trump is only part of it.

Aug 27, 2019
A Conversation with Joe Cirincione

Nuke expert and President of the Ploughshares Fund Joe Cirincione explains why we’re now in a nuclear arms race with Russia and China. A very dark, but hilarious episode of The Al Franken Podcast.

Aug 20, 2019
A Conversation with Heidi Heitkamp

The Founding Members of the Senate’s now defunct “Oh Ya! Caucus,” Former ND Sen. Heidi Heitkamp and Al discuss Heidi’s new organization, One Country. How do Democrats get more votes in rural America? 1 – show up. 2 – listen. 3 – keep coming back. 4- listen to the podcast. Heidi lost her re-elect in a state that has turned solidly red over the past ten years. Al won both of his races in a purplish-blue state by winning big in the Twin Cities and Duluth.  But he did better all-around and in rural Minnesota in his second race (2014, a bad year for Dems) because he showed up, listened, and kept coming back. Turns out rural Americans care about what other Americans care about: health care; their kids’ education; keeping their kids close to them. Which means jobs.

Aug 13, 2019
A Conversation with Andy Slavitt

Andy Slavitt returns to discuss the health care proposals of the Democratic candidates for POTUS.  Al and Andy agree that it’s important for every contender to lay out their plans to get to universal coverage, but exhort them not to squander the enormous advantage we have over Trump and Republicans on an issue of such importance to every American.

Aug 06, 2019
A Conversation With Howard Fineman

How awful do you think Mitch McConnell is? Well. He’s worse than that. Howard Fineman, who began his career at the Louisville Courier Journal, has been covering McConnell for decades. Fineman’s McConnell relishes being a big prick. When coal miners with black lung disease travel from KY to ask Congress to restore the tiny tax on coal that funds their treatment, McConnell gives them all of 30 seconds. Fineman explains. Hell – the miners aren’t going to vote for him; the coal companies have always supported him with tons of campaign funds; and these black lung miners came to D.C. just to embarrass him. Well, screw you, coal miners with black lung disease – you’re all going to die soon anyway. Al tells a lighter story about presiding over the Senate during the debate over Elena Kagan’s confirmation to SCOTUS. Mitch gave the most condescending, sexist speech, typified by the following: “No one has any doubt that Ms. Kagan is bright and personable and easy to get along with. But the Supreme Court is not a social club. If getting along in polite society were enough reason to put someone on the Supreme Court, then we wouldn’t need a confirmation process at all.” Al breaks up and gets a nasty case of church laughter, as McConnell grows more and more infuriated. Find out how it ends in this fun, if somewhat dark episode.  

Jul 30, 2019
A Conversation with Secretary Ernest Moniz

Former Sec. of Energy Ernest Moniz and Al discuss putting pragmatic meat on the bones of the Green New Deal. Al coins a new Kennedy-esque slogan, “We choose to go to zero-carbon not because it is easy, but because otherwise WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE!!!” Moniz, who was the chairman of MIT’s physics department, negotiated the technical nuclear parts of the Iran Deal with his Iranian counterpart. Because Trump has repeatedly called the US negotiators of the Iran Nuclear Deal “very stupid people,” Al tries to determine throughout just how stupid Moniz is. Not very, it turns out. And Al opens with a monologue about a high school commencement in Willmar, Minnesota, explaining that Trump has no understanding of what America is. The valedictorian was a girl born in Ecuador, the class-speaker, a Somali-American girl, and the class president, a boy of Minnesota Norwegian/German stock. They’re all Americans.

Jul 23, 2019
A Conversation With Franklin Foer

In the monologue, Al talks about the appointment of Pat Pizzella as the acting Secretary of Labor. If you agree that the House should hold hearings on Pizzella’s past, check out Al’s petition here:

This week, author and Atlantic Monthly staff writer, Franklin Foer joins me to discuss Big Tech. Are filter bubbles dividing us? Is Facebook deliberately keeping us angry and upset? Is everyone's attention span dwindling? Is Google selling records of all your searches? Is the Big One coming? You know - the day everyone who's ever watched pornography will be revealed to everyone else who's ever watched pornography? 

Jul 16, 2019
A Conversation with Dana Carvey

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

Jul 09, 2019
A Conversation with 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.

Jul 02, 2019
A Conversation with Michael Mann

Al talks to 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 threatened to primary any Republican who acknowledges the science.  Addressing climate change has become a victim of our tribal politics. The answer right now? Win.

Jun 25, 2019
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.)  

Jun 18, 2019
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.”

Jun 11, 2019
A Conversation with Michael Lewis

Al and Michael Lewis discuss his latest bestseller, The Fifth Risk, which Al calls 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 the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration, which includes the Weather Service. The CEO’s mission? To stop making Weather Service data publicly available to force Americans to get their weather forecasts from … AccuWeather! And, of course, there’s Rick Perry. At turns hilarious, insane, and just plain sad, this is a fascinating look into what happens to our federal government when the President of the United States has absolutely no understanding or interest in what the government does.

Jun 04, 2019
A Conversation With Sarah Silverman

Al and Sarah discuss her evolution as a comedian, the hazards of using irony in comedy (the viral death-threat against Sarah from a Florida preacher’s sermon), and the importance of growing as an artist and a person. Alternately edgy and warm and fuzzy, you’ll leave this one smiling. 

May 28, 2019
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.

May 21, 2019
A Conversation With Maria Teresa Kumar

The president of Voto Latino, discusses voter suppression, the Wall, and immigration. At turns funny, then tragic, and angry. A fun and moving interview. 

To help support the organizations mentioned in this episode, visit:

May 14, 2019
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 featuring:

Maria Theresa Kumar, president and CEO of Voto Latino,

Nancy Gertner, Harvard Law School professor and former U.S federal judge,

Jeffrey Toobin, legal analyst for CNN and The New Yorker,

Michael Lewis, author of The Big Short and Moneyball,

Andy Slavitt, former Acting Administrator of Medicare and Medicaid,

Dana Carvey, actor, comedian, and Saturday Night Live alum, and

David Frum, staff writer at The Atlantic and former speechwriter for George W. Bush.

May 01, 2019