Art of Political Humor

WED, OCT 16, 2002 (1:29:10)

Join comedian and political satirist Al Franken in a discussion of the use, history and importance of humor in our national politics, with Helen Thomas and Senator Alan Simpson. CNN senior analyst, Jeff Greenfield, will be the moderator.

+ BIO: Al Franken

Al Franken is an American satirist, comedian, best selling author, and radio host with a predominantly liberal point of view.

Franken was half of the comedy duo "Franken & Davis" which wrote for and performed for NBC's Saturday Night Live. He is currently the host of Air America Radio's flagship program, The Al Franken Show.

He is currently the junior US Senator from Minnesota, and is a member of that state's affiliate of the Democratic Party.

+ BIO: Helen Thomas

Helen Thomas is the dean of the White House press corps. The recipient of more than forty honorary degrees, she was honored in 1998 with the inaugural Helen Thomas Lifetime Achievement Award, established by the White House Correspondents' Association.

The author of Thanks for the Memories, Mr. President; Front Row at the White House; and Dateline: White House, she lives in Washington, D.C., where she writes a syndicated column for Hearst.

+ BIO: Alan Simpson

Alan Simpson graduated from Cody High School in Cody, Wyoming, in 1949 and attended Cranbrook School in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, in 1950. He graduated from the University of Wyoming in 1954 with a Bachelor of Science degree and in 1958 with a Juris Doctor degree. He served in the United States Army in Germany from 1955-1956 with the 10th Infantry Regiment, Fifth Infantry Division and with the 12th Armored Infantry Battalion,Second Armored Division.

Simpson was elected to the U.S. Senate on November 7, 1978, but was appointed to the post early on January 1, 1979, following the resignation of Clifford P. Hansen. From 1985 to 1995, Simpson was the Republican whip in the Senate, having served with then Republican Leader Bob Dole of Kansas. He was chairman of the Veterans' Affairs Committee from 1981 to 1987 and again from 1995 to 1997 when Republicans regained control of the Senate.

From 1997 to 2000, Simpson taught at the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and served for two years as the Director of the Institute of Politics at the Kennedy School.

+ BIO: Jeff Greenfield

Jeff Greenfield is a veteran political, media, and culture reporter who contributes to The CBS Evening News with Katie Couric, The Early Show, CBS News Sunday Morning and other CBS News broadcasts, as well as CBSNews.com.

Prior to his return to CBS News in May 2007, Greenfield had been senior analyst for CNN since 1998. During that time, he served as its lead analyst for its coverage of the primaries, conventions, presidential debates and election nights, as well as presidential funerals and Supreme Court confirmation hearings. Greenfield also has reported on the media, culture, and trends for the cable network.

Greenfield has won three Emmy Awards, two for his reporting from South Africa and one for a profile of Ross Perot. His work has appeared in many publications, including The New York Times Magazine, Harper's and National Lampoon. Greenfield is the author or co-author of 11 books. His first novel, The People’s Choice, was a national bestseller and was named by The New York Times Book Review as one of the notable books of the year. His most recent book was Oh, Waiter, One Order of Crow, an insider's account of the contested 2000 presidential election.

Partner
John F. Kennedy Library Foundation
Recommended Lectures

9.29.2003 (1:31:03)

Democracy in the Age of Dubya

4.25.2004 (1:24:07)

RFK Remembered

10.1.2018 (57:51)

Sarah Smarsh: Heartland

9.25.2018 (30:06)

Author Conversation: Flights