He’s good enough, he’s smart enough, and doggone it, people should want to pay him to come to speak at their events.
Yes, Al Franken has apparently decided that he’s spent long enough in time out after his Me Too troubles and he’s ready to hit the road and get back to work. Doing what? Making appearances as a paid speaker, of course. It’s a tried and true method for former politicians to feather their nests after leaving office. And now, Franken has signed with a talent agency who will be booking gigs for the disgraced former Senator, so get your orders in early while he still has room on his calendar. (Bloomberg)
Al Franken is ready to make his comeback.
After resigning from the U.S. Senate at the beginning of 2018 due to sexual-harassment allegations, the comedian is working with Hollywood firm United Talent Agency to make paid public speeches. The agency sent an email this week pitching Franken to potential bookers and promoters, touting his “unique voice,” Emmy awards, best-selling books and career in the Senate…
Before his election to the Senate as a Democrat from Minnesota, Franken was on the speaking circuit, which can pay tens of thousands of dollars per appearance. Members of Congress aren’t allowed to be paid for their speeches.
In their pitch to prospective clients, United Talent Agency describes Franken’s speaking style as leaving audience members “either optimistic or extremely depressed about our nation’s future — depending on how he feels that day.” Sounds about right, I suppose.
But is the country – particularly Democrats – really ready to welcome Franken back into the limelight? He’s spent almost two years out of the public eye following all of the sexual assault allegations brought against him. How long is the appropriate amount of time in the wilderness after such a thing before you’re welcomed back into the fold?
Keep in mind that there was some rather vocal grousing earlier this week when Mark Halperin announced his upcoming book release and associated signing tour. Of course, the allegations against Halperin sounded even more substantial than at least some of the claims about Franken, but they’ve been out of the limelight for roughly the same amount of time. If it’s too soon for Halperin, wouldn’t the same apply to Franken?
Also, Al’s situation could toss even more complications into the Democratic primary race. There remains some bitterness in his old party about whether he was rushed out the door too quickly. This is of particular concern to Kirsten Gillibrand, who is frequently blamed for being the one to drive the first, serious nail in Franken’s political coffin. Since she’s polling at approximately zero percent, that likely won’t be too much of a factor, but the leading candidates will no doubt be asked if it’s appropriate for Franken to come back at this time. I’m guessing there are plenty of them privately wishing he’d just remain in hiding until after the next election.
Exit questions. Did Franken ever really offer a sincere enough apology when he stepped down? Will he need to come forward with another round of explanations, apologies and descriptions of the lessons he’s learned before embarking on this speaking tour? And will he mention his Me Too experiences in his speeches? One would hope that he knows better than to make any jokes about it.