MILWAUKEE — Former U.S. Senator Al Franken is returning to comedy for a 15-city tour that brings him to Milwaukee Friday night.
TMJ4's Charles Benson asked the long-time political satirist why a comedy tour now, and if America is ready to laugh during these hyper-partisan times.
"This is not a speech - this is comedy," said Franken during a 20-minute video call to talk about his new comedy show.
Franken will be at The Pabst Theater Friday night for what he is calling "The Only Former U.S. Senator Currently on Tour Tour."
It's familiar turf for the long-time liberal and Saturday Night Live alum.
Benson: "When people come to your comedy show, are they - is it a chance to kind of chill a little bit on these issues?"
Franken: "Well, there's a mix, but the mix is towards comedy and laughing. People asked me, and you asked me: 'Why a comedy tour?' And it's really part and parcel of what I've always done."
The two-term Democratic Senator from Minnesota aims some of his comedic lines at his former Senate colleagues, including Republican Ron Johnson.
We'll leave the political punches for the show, but Franken recalls meeting Johnson during a Senate event with spouses.
"He came back to me and said, 'I talked to your wife and your family is just like ours,' said Franken. "He was very surprised and I don't know what he meant."
Franken resigned his Senate seat in January of 2018 after several women accused him of sexual misconduct. At the time, Franken issued apologies, but denied some of the allegations while saying he remembered others "very differently."
These days, when he looks through the political lens, he doesn't like what he sees.
"We're more divided in this country than anytime I can remember," said Franken. "You have two thirds of Republicans believe that the election was stolen. You know either it was or wasn't. And it wasn't."
On a lighter note, Franken says he's a big fan of Milwaukee, but not of the Green Bay Packers.
Benson: "I didn't think so. I wasn't going to bring up how many world championships we have, versus Minnesota."
Franken: "We have --"
Benson: " -- More lakes?"
Franken: "More lakes and less wins in Super Bowls."
As of Wednesday, tickets were still available for Al Franken's one-night performance at The Pabst Theater Friday night.