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See me, Al Franken, in DL Friday

One day, in the not-too-distant future, he may be introduced as "Senator Al Franken of Minnesota."

But for now, the comedy writer and performer-turned-political activist, radio talk show host and author is just hob-nobbing with the DFL politicos, while doing his part to help raise money and awareness for the Democratic slate of candidates in the Nov. 7 general elections.

Franken will be the special guest and keynote speaker at a DFL candidate fund raiser this Friday, Oct. 6, at the Historic Holmes Theatre in Detroit Lakes.

The event will begin with a candidate "meet and greet" at 7 p.m., featuring "all the stars of the DFL ticket" including U.S. Congressman Collin Peterson, U.S. Senate candidate Amy Klobuchar, Secretary of State candidate Mark Ritchie, Attorney General candidate Lori Swanson, and State Auditor candidate Rebecca Otto.

This will be followed by "An Evening with Al Franken & Friends," beginning at 8 p.m. in the main theater. In addition to Franken, U.S. Rep. Peterson will be performing with the band, "The Shadows."

Franken, who indicated last week in an appearance on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" that he was seriously considering a run for U.S. Senate in 2008, confirmed that statement Tuesday in a telephone interview.

"I currently am considering a run for office," he said. Specifically, Franken is contemplating a bid to unseat Senator Norm Coleman.

Toward that end, he and his wife moved back to the Twin Cities in January. Franken, a long-time friend of the late Sen. Paul Wellstone, said he intends to "take the temperature" of the party's leadership and rank-and-file members before making a final decision.

When he's not writing for and hosting his talk radio show on the Air America network, or promoting his new book, The Truth (with Jokes) and new movie, Al Franken: God Spoke, Franken has spent much of the past few months stumping for the 2006 DFL election ticket across Minnesota.

"I don't think politics should necessarily be reserved for people who have spent their entire life in politics," said Franken, a close friend of the late Sen. Paul Wellstone (whom Coleman succeeded after his untimely death in the final stretch of the 2004 election). "I think that right now our country is very much going in the wrong direction, and I feel like now is the time for me to stand up for what I believe in."

Yet Franken has not entirely left his entertainment roots behind.

"We actually do a lot of writing here on the (radio) show," he said. "The show (which runs three hours a day) is comprised of a lot of different things. Sometimes we do written comedy, and sometimes we just do (off-the-cuff) jokes."

Franken also makes regular appearances on shows such as "The Daily Show" and "The Late Show With David Letterman," which have a comedic take on current events.

But does he miss his days on Saturday Night Live? Not really, Franken admitted.

"I did 15 seasons there," he said. "Every once in a while I might come up with an idea (for a sketch), or I might watch one night and say, 'If I were still doing SNL, this is what I would have done'... but that's pretty rare. I'm working hard enough."

In fact, Franken said, one of his first priorities after the Nov. 7 election will be to "take it easy for a while and spend more time at home."

Though the campaign trail has "really been a lot of fun," Franken said, he's looking forward to the opportunity to just relax and kick back for a while, because the pace has been "brutal."

He has, however, been following the Minnesota Twins' rise to the top of the AL Central this season.

"I've not been able to follow them as closely as I'd like, but I have been able to watch a lot of great games," he said. "I'm really excited about this team."

He's also really excited about his first trip to Detroit Lakes.

"I haven't been to that part of the state really," he said. "The closest I've been is Bemidji, Brainerd, St. Cloud."

Tickets for Friday night's "Al Franken and Friends" are $25 for adults, $15 for students (including admission to both the "meet and greet" and the subsequent performance), and may be purchased at the Historic Holmes Theatre Box Office, 806 Summit Ave., or by calling 218-844-SHOW (7469).

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454