Don't Laugh at Al Franken

The SNL alum and best-selling critic of all things conservative turns his eye to the Senate. Can he convince Minnesotans that his candidacy isn't a joke?

Matthew Gilson for TIME

Al Franken photographed at his home in Minneapolis, MN.

Al Franken finally wants you to take him seriously. Having been a comedian, a best-selling author of satirical polemics, a writer and performer for Saturday Night Live and the creator of faux self-help guru Stuart Smalley, he's now running for the U.S. Senate from Minnesota. To his credit, Franken is aware that convincing people he's serious won't be easy. The path from regularly playing a character called Liam the Loose-Boweled Leprechaun to voting on whether to send people to war is longer than most political journeys--even those, like the candidacies of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sonny Bono, that also started on the screen.

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