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Al Franken and guests

The Al Franken Show Party Album

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Al Franken and guests
The Al Franken Show Party Album
(Artemis)


Once very commonplace and popular, comedy albums — save for the meteoric rise of Dane Cook’s Retaliation — are a rare breed nowadays. So it’s a welcome sight to see political humourist and now liberal radio host Al Franken release The Al Franken Party Show Album. Featuring contributions from Saturday Night Live’s Tina Fey, plus Rob Reiner and Meg Ryan, among others, this brings together some skits and radio commentary from his syndicated show, Air America Radio, that should go nicely alongside your copies of audio-book versions of Jon Stewart’s America and Lewis Black’s Nothing’s Sacred. Even though you can easily foresee this material becoming dated, there are some very funny bits here — particularly the pieces that sharply attack the CIA’s fumble of Iraq intelligence (“Central Guesswork Agency”), and ultra-right views on sex education (“Abstinence Only Education”). Franken occasionally flirts with bad taste — an interview with the pillow that allegedly coaxed along Yassir Arafat’s demise (which Franken introduces with the line “Always something romantic about going to Paris to die”) is cringe-inducing from start to finish. Franken’s targets are often too easy to bring down (Bill O’Reilly gets a lethal dose of “gotcha”) and compared with Jon Stewart his focus of attack is much more heavily biased. Which ultimately makes it easier for his detractors to denounce his views as overly partisan. But it still is good to have him around.
—Dave Hayden

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