AlFranken2024He warned us. He told us this was his first time (and maybe the last time) telling most of these jokes. He told us we were his test audience, as he refined his material for a TV special. So, the crowd at Chicago's City Winery braced ourselves for an unpolished evening of stories, jokes, and skits.

The sold-out audience was sympathetic to both Franken's left-leaning politics and to his unpolished act.

At the early show Saturday evening, Franken's material ranged from political humor to rants about people in politics (Mitch McConnnell's hypocrisy in refusing to hold Supreme Court hearings for a Democratic presidential nominee; then rushing through the approval of a Republican nominee), and stories about his time on Saturday night live. He mixed in some scripts he had written for potential skits (imagining if Hitler ruled during the time of the coronavirus epidemic). The audience roared when he performed a ventriloquism act while wearing a KN95 mask.

The comic-turned-Congressman-turned-comic sometimes stumbled through his routines, often pausing to check his notes and ask the audience where he was.

Despite his lack of preparation, Franken is a very funny man with an insightful wit. And when he performs the completed show for a television special, it is doubtful I will get second-row seats, as I did on Saturday evening.