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NY Times urges Franken to stay funny

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While Al Franken is understandably taking pains to project himself as a solemn and serious representative of the people, an op-ed in the nation's leading newspaper argues just the opposite: Being funny may be an asset in Washington.

In an opinion column published yesterday in the New York Times, Victor S. Navasky, the chairman of the Columbia Journalism Review, says Franken's ignoring of his comedy past would be a big mistake. A few excerpts:

Mr. Franken got where he is because he distinguished himself ... as an informed, sharp, funny, and sometimes even wise commentator on public events. Why turn his back on this usable past? ...

Satire - which has a long and refreshingly subversive history as a form of truth-telling and effective social commentary - is Mr. Franken's comparative advantage in his new job and he should exploit this blessing, not deny it. ...

The Senate, let's not forget, is already filled with blowhards, policy wonks and, if you will, lying liars. It's a mistake to assume that if he puts his comic talents to work in the Senate, like Rodney Dangerfield, Mr. Franken will automatically lose its respect. Why worry about being the only comedian in Congress when the whole place is a comedy club?

You can read the full op-ed here.