rape with jokes

What Is Al Franken Famous For Today? (Hint: It Is ‘Rape Jokes’)

Sen. David Vitter, R- LouisianaThis Al Franken guy, you ever heard of him? Senator from Minnesota. Wrote some books, we think. Used to be on Saturday Night Live for a while, we guess. Not sure, is there anything else he is famous for, Weekly Standard (via, naturally, Drudge)?

Earlier this week, Senator Al Franken of Minnesota joined Vice President Joe Biden for a campaign event in Minnesota.

“Biden got plenty of support from Minnesota Democrats,” PostBulletin.com reports. “Sen. Al Franken praised Obama for pushing the health care law, saying it will help more seniors get help paying for prescriptions and will ensure Medicare’s solvency for an additional eight years.”

But before Franken was a senator he was a writer on the TV show Saturday Night Live. Then, he famously joked about raping CBS reporter Lesley Stahl.

As New York magazine reported in 1995, from a writing session that the reporter sat in on:

Franken: “And, ‘I give the pills to Lesley Stahl. Then, when Lesley’s passed out, I take her to the closet and rape her.’ Or, ‘That’s why you never see Lesley until February.’ Or, ‘When she passes out, I put her in various positions and take pictures of her.’”

With the national conversation now turning to women’s issues as a result of the bizarre and offensive comments by Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin over the weekend, it seems a bit odd that Vice President Biden would take the stage with Franken, considering his own lack of sensitivity to the horrors of rape.

That’ll do, Weekly Standard. That’ll do.


About the author

Rebecca is the editor and publisher of Wonkette. She is the author of Commie Girl in the O.C., a collection of her OC Weekly columns, and the former editor of LA CityBeat. Go visit her Commie Girl Collective, and follow her on the Twitter!

View all articles by Rebecca Schoenkopf
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  1. Come here a minute

    Weekly Standard, you're not good enough, you're not smart enough, and gosh darn it, we fucking hate you.

      1. finallyhappy

        nope, saw it in comments defending Akin- basically, "yeah, he said that but you people have Ted Kennedy and Bill Clinton"

  2. Maman

    I see the equivalence. Todd Akin is a comedian.

    Not a good one, though. He only has one bad joke that he has been telling for a decade or so.

  3. PsycWench

    If we had to go back to an unrecorded "writing session" in 1995 to find something to dig up about Romney, he'd be a happy camper.

    1. Lascauxcaveman

      If he was the fly on the wall at a writing session, I'm surprised he didn't catch on to the fact that the writing sessions are where the good jokes are separated from the dumb, unfunny and unusably crass ones.

      No, wait. The Weekly Standard. I'm not surprised at all.

  4. MaxUdargo

    I'm not going to deny the moral equivalence between the current policy positions of a political candidate and some bad jokes thrown about during a coke-fueled brainstorming session in the SNL writers' room in the mid-90s.


    1. AbandonHope_

      I was going to say something like that, but I just reminded myself that we're all preaching to the choir here, and the "real Americans" are still going to ignore all of the facts and vote for the insanely rich white sociopath to keep the UN out of their Medicare or whatever-the-fuck.

      And then I get sad.

    1. Oblios_Cap

      That would require them to do "work', which is only for you people. If you can find it.

      It's not the Standards' writers fault that they were born with the right last names. Why do you hate "lucky sperm"?

  5. RadioBowels

    Yes, this is exactly the same as the majority of wingfucks believing that rape victims cannot get pregnant because their tubes shut down (or something) and thus abortion should not be allowed even in cases of rape or incest.
    So we're even now. Let's forget the whole thing happened.

  6. Crank_Tango

    See, we are all guilty of loving rape after all. Good to see something bringing this country together for a change.

  7. NorthStarSpanx

    Yeah, but. . .Lesley Stahl? Couldn't it have been a nice conservative talking head so that we could manufacture more outrage?

  8. elviouslyqueer

    Because nothing says "relevant" like dredging up a non-story from 17 goddamn years ago.

    Let me guess, this is Franken's "Chappaquiddick"?

      1. PsycWench

        Norm MacDonald was possibly worse. We would watch up to "Weekend Update", then turn the TV off.

        1. Fare la Volpe

          He's only gotten worse since. Have you seen him in any of the Comedy Central roasts? He gets up to the mic, tells the most painfully unfunny jokes, and the audience is visibly silent. Only the other comedians on the dais laugh, and that's because they're required by contract. He grinds every event to a screeching halt and they. still. keep. booking. him.

          1. LibertyLover

            Saw him in person once at a Comedy Club. The jokes he told were painfully gross and unfunny.

          2. PsycWench

            The rightwing comic strip "Mallard Fillmore" often referred to him as "The last funny person on SNL". Appropriate since Mallard Fillmore was never once funny. Our local paper dropped it after a year or so and did the wingnuts howl about censorship!

  9. Jus_Wonderin

    Seriously, is this helping Romney. I would bet he wants all this rapey talk to die down before next week. If he was smart, he'd take it across statelines then drop it off in a park near the swingset.

    1. OneYieldRegular

      No one is praying for the RNC to be cancelled more than Mittens Romney. He's almost certainly thinking, "Why won't they just let me be President? And now I have to stand up and talk to people, I mean, ICK."

  10. mavenmaven

    But bringing up Romney's cruel bullying of a gay student at that time is off-limits because it was so long ago?

  11. Gratuitous World

    his passionate pleas on behalf of subjecting contractors to criminal penalties for raping American citizens overseas was totally lacking in sensitivity. Probably why Sessions + co. fought it so hard.

  12. Allmighty_Manos

    Good job keeping on message GOP. I wonder what important issue they will introduce into the campaign next. Exiling HIV positive people? Slavery was ok? Banning Islam? Geez unemployment could freaking double and the Republicans would still manage to find a way to turn the conversation to vindictive bullshit.

    1. PsycWench

      True. Remember how in past presidental elections we heard about Robert Byrd once being a KKK member?

  13. ahnc

    I think the operative word here is COMEDY.
    Which is obviously above the heads of Weekly Standard.

  14. StarsUponThars

    "Wouldn’t it be funny if Daniel Halper got raped by, like, five guys right now? Like right now?”

  15. Tundra Grifter

    When James O'Keefe tried to lure that woman onto his boat and was going to tie her up and photograph her and all that mess – where was the Weakly Standard?

    1. SexySmurf

      I can't speak for everyone who works there, but Bill Kristol was hiding in a closet with his dick in his hand.

      1. Tundra Grifter

        Bill "I know there are WDM's there! They are going to find them! I know it!" Kristol?

        Bill "Sarah Palin would make a great Vice President" Kristol?

  16. Goonemeritus

    “The national conversation now turning to women’s issues as a result of the bizarre and offensive comments by Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin over the weekend”
    -The WeeklyStandard- 8/27/12

  17. WIDTAP

    Man, Rebecca, I really hate that crotch-first photoshop of Franken. Who put you up to digging that out? Was it Newell?

  18. Chichikovovich

    Following the Rush template (and I hope with as little success) the right is trying to spin this as merely an issue of the "words used". Poor Rush got carried away and said "slut" and "whore". Akin said "legitimate rape".

    "People, people, haven't you ever made a mistake like that? Didn't the wrong words slip out? You were speaking to an interfaith gathering and you meant to say "I extend a warm hand of welcome to the followers of Rabbi Schneerson" and instead you said "Juden Raus! Hände Hoch!" I know I have made such mistakes many times. Find a little forgiveness in your heart."

    But it's not the words used, it is the ideas expressed, and that are obviously still believed that are what horrify us. (And it's the ideas that make the Republicans – even those who share the beliefs but have the sense to hide them better – regard Akins as electoral poison).

    But look, let's grant their analogy, and have a long national discussion: which shows more contempt for the needs of rape victims: making a nearly twenty-year old throwaway joke about rape, or promoting legislation that will force the victim to bear the rapist's child against her will?

    I think such a national conversation would be most instructive, and I thank the Weekly Standard for bringing the issue to the fore.

  19. UnholyMoses

    I'm so glad the GOP has taken up this interest in rape in relation to Al Franken!

    This must mean that they will stop being totally disgusting and morally abhorrent assholes and vote for Franken's bill to help women who were raped by contractors in Iraq, correct?


  20. HogeyeGrex

    Ah. Of course. Making an insensitive joke about rape is exactly the same thing as trying to deny women their rights, up to and including denial of life saving medical procedures, based on a complete ignorance of biology.

    Got it.

    So, Al Franken = FiftyHitlers
    Todd Akin = TruePatriot

    Everything is now clear.

  21. Lionel[redacted]Esq

    So, if we are going back over old ground, I assume Tucker will have his rag put up something about how Mitt Romney used to torture gays at prep school? Heck, Tucker knows a lot about that.

  22. RadioBowels

    And if there is one thing the Republitards know, it's humor. That Dane Cook guy is soooo funny.

  23. succalina

    1995? When he was a comedian?
    What about when Fred Grandy former Rep (R-Corn) was on Love Boat and he blew Captain Stubing?

  24. ghblowhard

    At least Al admitted it was rape! Did Al Franken write those Buck Henry pedophile Uncle Roy sketches too? If he did shhh don't tell anyone!

  25. Callyson

    According to AP, Franken did help create a never-aired "Saturday Night Live" sketch about 60 Minutes' Andy Rooney raping fellow correspondent Lesley Stahl.


    Obviously, that's just as bad as openly stating that rape survivors can't get pregnant or that women lie about getting raped so they can get an abortion.


    1. GhostBuggy

      And (hoping to) have the legislative power to make those situations even worse. Why, that's almost exactly like writing a piece of comedic fiction.

  26. lulzmonger

    So some lame joke that never made it to air = "legitimate rape" on prime-time?

    Keep rapin' that chicken, Weekly Standard.

  27. Hifimikey

    So the Weekly standard is complaining about a joke that never aired?????? Oh for fuck sake….

  28. SheriffRoscoe

    Minnesotans should have had this information available to them when Al was running for Senate. Then maybe they could have elected him as long as he promised to give up comedy forever.

  29. Hifimikey

    BTW the Weekly Standard Al Franken is "famous" for rape jokes…Well the one joke they refered to never aired.

    How the hell can Al Franken be famous for jokes that nobody ever heard??????

  30. bibliotequetress

    So after rummaging around in the dusty corners up their ass, the Weekly Standard pulled out a report of Franken bouncing a crappy joke idea in a writers meeting; an idea that he never, actually, performed or said or that was ever broadcast.

    Well done, Weekly Standard! That certainly is the same as a candidate seriously stating for the record on a national television show that he knows women being "legitimately" raped can prevent the rapists sperm from contacting the ova by "shutting down" something something thus preventing pregnancy super-scientifically!

    (Edited because I got something wrong. See, Fox, that's how it happens)

  31. DahBoner

    Uh, the difference is Franken was a writer paid to write stupid things.

    Akin wasn't joking.

    He was stone cold intentionally ignorant…

  32. nobodyssweetheart

    Remember the first Comedy Central coverage of the Republican Convention that Al Franken hosted? 1992, maybe? Man, that was funny….

    I don't remember any rape jokes. I remember Norman Ornstein in a dress acting out Marilyn Quayle's romance novel.

  33. tessiee

    So, Akin has been shitting off at the mouth about rape, in complete seriousness, for the past week or so, right up until like 10:30 this morning, and his fellow wingnuts have declined to say that's anything but proof of what a moral, sex-hating guy he is…
    But the REAL problem is that Al Franken made a rape joke 17 years ago.

  34. CogitoErgoSumo

    You CAN joke about rape. I'll prove it to you. Imagine Porky Pig raping Elmer Fudd"

    George Carlin

  35. gurukalehuru

    How is it the Weekly Standard has access to old SNL writer's meeting transcripts, and nobody's managed to dig up Mitt Romney's actual tax returns, so that we can laugh at them?
    Get to work, slacker left wing journos!

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