Al Franken was the subject of a long piece in today's Washington Post about how he is having to cut back on the political satire in order to be taken seriously as a politician. He has had a long career in comedy including a archetypally bad SNL-based movie featuring his Stuart Smalley character. He has also written several books taking pointed jabs at blowhard right-wing radio and television pundits before becoming a laconic left-wing Air America pontificator himself. But I first remember him in December of 1979 in a segment on Weekend Update with Jane Curtin:
Well, the "me" decade is almost over, and good riddance, and far as I'm concerned. The 70's were simply 10 years of people thinking of nothing but themselves. No wonder we were unable to get together and solve any of the many serious problems facing our nation. Oh sure, some people did do some positive things in the 70's - like jogging - but always for the wrong reasons, for their own selfish, personal benefit. Well, I believe the 80's are gonna have to be different. I think that people are going to stop thinking about themselves, and start thinking about me, Al Franken.Two girls I knew in high school took him literally and decided that they would do their part for the Al Franken Decade. Back in the early 80s, before the internet,
That's right. I believe we're entering what I like to call the Al Franken Decade. Oh, for me, Al Franken, the 80's will be pretty much the same as the 70's. I'll still be thinking of me, Al Franken. But for you, you'll be thinking more about how things affect me, Al Franken. When you see a news report, you'll be thinking, "I wonder what Al Franken thinks about this thing?", "I wonder how this inflation thing is hurting Al Franken?" And you women will be thinking, "What can I wear that will please Al Franken?", or "What can I not wear?" You know, I know a lot of you out there are thinking, "Why Al Franken?" Well, because I thought of it, and I'm on TV, so I've already gotten the jump on you.
So, I say let's leave behind the fragmented, selfish 70's, and go into the 80's with a unity and purpose. That's what I think. I'm Al Franken.
As the fan club officers, their duties included sending out the replies to the other fan letters he had gotten. He sent them a huge envelope with the mail and a bunch of signed black and white headshot glossies of himself. For most of the fans, he just signed generic messages. For the fan club girls he personalized them with witty messages. One read:
This is when they realized that they had never quite gotten around to telling Al that they were sixteen-year-old high school students. And they realized they would never be able to display that picture anywhere their parents would be able to see it.
Now that Al has moved on from being a coke-snorting writer of a late night sketch comedy to candidate for national political office (not really that much of a direction change) some enterprising muckraker could hunt down these youthful fans that are now in middle-age like me and dig up some dirt. But I don't think anything from over 25 years ago can count as a scandal since the 80s were a time of open indulgence. And Al Franken. Afterall, it was his decade.
BlatantCommentWhoring™: What fan group have you ever been involved with?