Al Franken — author, political humorist and former “Saturday Night Live” cast member and writer — brought his humor and insight to Columbia on Wednesday night. The satirist signed copies of his books at MU’s University Bookstore before delivering a lecture at Jesse Auditorium. He was promoting his recent book “Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right.”
“He’s one of the most talented satirists on the left or the right. What differentiates him from others is his ability to substantiate himself with facts,” said MU student Angad Nagra.
MU student John Stone was the lone protestor at the book signing. Wearing a Bush/Cheney pin and accompanied by anti-Franken signs on his backpack, Stone said he thought Franken’s book was wrong and that he didn’t agree with the Missouri Students Association sponsoring Franken when it didn’t sponsor conservative commentator David Horowitz last year.
“He’s here, and I want to hear what he has to say,” Stone said. “He might change my mind.”
Franken spoke to a packed hall for more than an hour, where he discussed President Bush, Bill O’Reilly, Fox News, the war in Iraq and the upcoming election.
With respect to his public dispute with Bill O’Reilly, Franken clarified the role of a satirist. “Satire is protected speech, even if the object of the satire doesn’t get it.”
The event was paid for by MU student activity fees. Franken was paid $23,000 for his appearance, said Kathy Murray, MU assistant director of Student Life.