Twitter users voiced their concern for Al Franken after watching his live interview on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher on Friday night, October 30. Maher was excited to introduce the former U.S. senator from Minnesota as his first guest of the evening. However, the interview drew a response from some viewers who thought Franken seemed “drunk AF.”
Franken, 69, who’s appeared on Real Time numerous times before, seems to slur his words during the interview, and his jokes fall flat. About four minutes into the interview, Franken encourages viewers to get involved by making phone calls for the Biden campaign. He suggests they “ignore” their families and says a “7-year-old can teach a 4-year-old to use a microwave oven.”
Maher interrupts and asks, “And what does that have to do with Biden?” Franken then brings up the fact that Maher has no children and tries to explain that he was making a joke about the microwave.
“When you’re a parent, you often have to prepare food for kids. But, if you’re not- if you’re lazy about it, you can put it in the microwave, and the 7-year-old knows how to do that, and I’m saying it’s scientific fact, which it really isn’t, but we all know it is, and then the scientific fact, I went even further with the joke, and you know this, that it’s scientifically proven that a … 7-year-old can teach a 4-year-old,” Franken says.
Franken did earn one large laugh while commenting on the current Senate majority leader. He said, “If [Joe] Biden wins and doesn’t have the Senate, Mitch McConnell will stop everything … and believe me, he’s not as charming as he looks.”
Twitter Users Expressed Concern That Franken was ‘Wasted’ & Said His Interview Was ‘Hard to Watch’
Viewers excited to see Franken back on mainstream media voiced their disappointment at his performance on Friday night. His interview with Maher started to trend nationally as numerous users online wondered if the former senator was drunk while appearing on the show. One person tweeted, “Is Al Franken ok? This is hard to watch.”
The segment of the interview Real Time’s official YouTube account posted online only contains the first 4.5 minutes of the interview. The clip cuts off before the conversation ends.
The host of The Al Franken Podcast has not publicly commented on his appearance on Real Time, which aired live in front of a pre-tested, socially distanced studio audience on October 30.
Following Controversial Allegations, Franken Resigned From His Senate Seat in December 2017
During the height of the #MeToo movement in December 2017, after eight women came forward with sexual harassment allegations against Franken, he was met with a wave of calls to step down as senator. According to CNN, 32 Democratic senators — 13 female and 19 male — called for his resignation.
Franken denied many of the allegations being made against him. He said during his resignation speech:
It gave some people the false impression that I was admitting to doing some things that I haven’t done. Some of the allegations against me are simply not true. Others I remember very differently. I said at the outset that the Ethics Committee was the right venue for these allegations to be heard and investigated and evaluated on their merits. That I was prepared to cooperate fully and that I was confident in the outcome.
Comparing himself to President Donald Trump and former Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore, “I of all people am aware that there is some irony in the fact I am leaving, while a man that has bragged on tape about his history of sexual assault sits in the Oval Office,” Franken said. “And a man that has repeatedly preyed on young girls campaigns for the Senate with the full support of his party.”