Yet, tonight it may be a little bit more awkward and uncomfortable for the comedy show than ever before. Senator Al Franken was exposed this week for gross misconduct in his past due to a highly inappropriate photo that surfaced. That went along with comments that were made by radio host Leeann Tweeden. These events happened prior to him taking office in 2009, but there are still many calls for him to resign. He recently apologized for his behavior and we’ve seen a very mixed response from the celebrity community. Some have praised him for taking ownership of his mistake whereas others have felt as though he did not go anywhere near far enough when it comes to try to make right what he did wrong.
When it comes to Franken’s SNL connections, historians of the show are well aware of them. This is a man who was a part of the series in its early days and off and on for many decades. He is one of their most-prolific writers ever and also was featured in a number of notable on-camera moments. There is no severing SNL history from Al Franken. It’s like asking someone like Eddie Murphy or Amy Poehler to step aside and pretend like they were never a part of the show. It’s for this reason why there may be some within the SNL writers’ room who would really like to not mention Franken at all. While his behavior is no reflection on any cast member or writer now, this is still an unfortunate situation where many of them, (prior to this controversy) likely either knew or admired Franken.
What SNL should consider is addressing the situation in the same way they did former host Louis CK last week — not shying away from it at all. CK was featured in a Weekend Update joke and, per reports, there were plans to skewer him even more in rehearsals than what ended up making the final cut. The only reason there may not have been more on the show itself is because the show was starting to teeter on the side of being all about misconduct allegations.
SNL cannot insulate themselves from people who have done terrible things; meanwhile, the show also shouldn’t dwell on it to the point where it becomes a pall on the show. Address it, don’t be kind to Franken, and move on to the next thing.
We will learn more on what the writers choose in a few hours from now. Our full review of this weekend’s SNL will be posted over at the link here. Meanwhile, like CarterMatt on Facebook for more news on this show as well as some others we cover. (Photo: NBC.)