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Wednesday, March 31, 2004


Bunsen Blogs Franken

Welcome To My attempt to blog the first edition of Al Franken's Air America radio show, "The O'Franken Factor." I haven't figured out if I'm going to continually update the post, so repeatedly refresh your browser and check for new entries every 90 or so seconds.

Update: I will post all updates at the bottom, rather than the top, to preserve the chronology for readers who aren't following live. So you're going to have to scroll. (To help you find the last post, I'll put the time in BOLD for the newest entry.)

And it wouldn't kill you to click on the ads. Your 0.1% click-through rate isn't exactly keeping my hot tub in bubbles.

12:00 pm EST:
I think I'm tuned into the New York radio feed for the show ( or Air America Radio). When I finally connected, I was greeted with Living Colour's "Cult of Personality." Am I on the right stream, or am I getting a feed from the old Carribean station? While Living Colour is not a "Carribean" act, vocalist Corey Glover definitely had a nice set of dreads. You can understand my confusion.

12:02 pm:
Ah...There's Franken's voice. He tosses off a couple of mentions of the right-wing control of talk radio, then declares his show to be the "Zero Spin" zone. He follows with some bits I heard him do on Howard Stern a couple of days ago, about both Bush Presidents creating zero net jobs, about satire being protected even if Bill O'Reilly "doesn't get it," and offers to throw bologna at a stripper's ass. C'mon, Al, this is your show. Be your own host.

12:08 pm:
First mention of Rush Limbaugh and his drug dependency. I'm sure it was just an oversight, but Franken neglects to mention Rush's splat fetish. Franken introduces his co-host, whose name I've already forgotten. I'm pretty sure it's a woman. Could be a drag queen. These are the vagaries of radio. I'm going to hold off touching myself until I figure it out.

12:20 pm:
The high-falutin' liberal network has already succumbed to the capitalist radio-industrial complex, breaking for commercials. My my, these aren't your parent's liberal radio commentators. Maybe I had unrealistic expectations, but I thought the network was going to be financed entirely by microdonations from the internet and proceeds from patchouli and incense sales from a dirty blanket just outside UC Berkeley. In any case, I'm pretty high.

A quick note on AM radio quality, further degraded by internet streaming: Remember when you were a kid, and your mother would try and wake you up for school, and you were still half-asleep, and you only dreamily half-heard her, and maybe in your dream the supermodel you were trying to have sex with suddenly, disturbingly, started to talk dirty with your mother's muffled voice? Well, imagine that supermodel whispering that she wants you to flip her over, but with Al Franken's muffled voice.

And why does it sounds like there are wind chimes in the background? Aren't they in a studio?

12:33 pm:
Good idea, needs better execution: Franken claims he's got conservative pundit extraordinaire Ann Coulter in his green room, awaiting her turn on the show. They have the green room mic'ed, where an OFF intern is branding the soles of her feet with a burning copy of the Constitution. They should have borrowed a Stern bit and gone straight to Coulter Anal Ring Toss.

12:42 pm:
Unexpected phone call from cuddly Watergate felon G. Gordon Liddy, who's calling from his own radio show. If I were a nerd, this would be a joke about a tear in the fabric of the bipartisan space-time continuum. But since I'm not that smart, I'll just mention that G. Gordon and Al wistfully recount a sweaty, confusing night they spent camping in the shadow of the Washington Monument in 1978.

12:55 pm:
In an attempt to fully represent the Nixon Administration, Franken takes a phone call from actor/game show host/former Tricky Dick staffer Ben Stein. A quick Google search reveals that Spiro Agnew is an anagram for "grow a penis."

Note to Bunsen fans under the age of 40: Spiro T. Agnew was Vice President to Richard Nixon. Richard Nixon was President of the United States from 1920-1974, until he was caught visiting China.

1:10 pm:
In-studio guest: Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-Nebraska). My streaming connection is pretty bad, but I think I just heard Franken confess to firebombing an entire Cambodian village during the first season of Saturday Night Live. I probably missed the part where he blames Chevy Chase's bad coke. We're going to have to look into this, developing...

I know that sometimes I don't keep up with politics, but do Franken and Kerrey expect me to believe that there's actually someone in the administration named "Condoleezza Rice"? When Limbaugh makes up names, he at least has the decency to use credible fabrications, like "Mr. Lefty W. Douchebag".

Franken points out the Kerrey lost part of his leg in military service. But all talk about injuries suffered in defense of our great Nation must begin and end with the crafty German soldier who crazy-glued that pen into Bob Dole's hand during WWII.

1:40 pm:
Got up, had another cup of coffee and a nice cheese Danish. Bob Kerrey (yes, he's STILL TALKING) is prattling on about this Condoleeza person, and Dick "Don't call me Richard!" Clarke, the Bush Administration's weak role in early counterterrorism mettings, and Orrin Hatch's supposed addiction to anal beads the size of regulation Rawlings baseballs.

I'm starting to contemplate the important metaphysical questions, such as "Could I possibly be more bored right now? Like, maybe if I found a can of paint and left it in that can in its liquid form and stared at the paint in the can, while listening to a CD of whale songs, would I actually achieve a higher plane of boredom?"

Orrin Hatch. Anal beads. Orrin Hatch. Anal beads. Quite a mantra.

Oh, Bob Kerrey's leaving! Maybe now they'll spice things up with some commercials about Air America. Yup, that's what they're doing.

1:52 pm:
In-studio guest: Chuck D, hip-hop legend and host of one of Air America's new shows. Franken and Chuck D's rapport further strengthens the proud tradtition of Jewish comedy writers and black rappers throwing down in liberal talk radio love-fests. Mr. D recalls Flavor Flav's recent, ill-fated onstage freestyle session with Mel Brooks.

D and newly-minted "home boy" Franken are getting along so swimmingly, in fact, that I think Unknown Female Franken Co-host is starting to fear for her job.

Back in the "green room," Franken's intern is puckishly drawing a Hitler mustache on a drugged Ann Coulter. Blogging decorum (and new FCC standards) prohibits my noting exactly where he's drawing the mustache.

2:10 pm:
(Note to Wonkette readers being directed here: I promise at least one ass-fucking joke before the end of OFF. I've already done a bit with Orrin Hatch and anal beads, and there was a suggestion of "relations" between G. Gordon Liddy and Franken. That should tide you over until I get around to it.)

In-studio guest: Film/troublemaker Michael Moore. My connection has suddenly gotten very spotty, but I'm pretty sure that Franken and Moore are bonding over their wildly successful publishing careers and their mutual admiration for President Bush's truth-telling skills. They seem to find each other quite amusing. I catch a snippet to the effect of "Bush would lie about what kind of pancake is his favorite," the audio drops out, and then returns with peals of laughter. Of course, they might have been discussing Moore's breakfast preferences, or how during the filming of Bowling for Columbine, Moore reportedly showed a demented Chartlon Heston a package of adult undergarments, which the addled Heston hilariously misidentified as an AK-47 assault rifle.

2:37 pm
Unidentified Possibly-Female Co-host asks Moore if he regrets calling President Bush a "deserter," contributing a tiresome attention to "important news" into the Franken/Moore Mutual Admiration Society Meeting. She's not long for her sidekick gig if she's going to continually cock-block Franken's guests from affectionately ass-fucking him by injecting topicality into the show. I think someone needs a liberal radio network sidekick refresher course!

Franken and Moore get a phone call from Almost-President Al Gore! By taking the call, the OFF has officially guaranteed that they'll never get John Kerry as a guest after Gore's tainted the liberal airwaves with his near-miss election karma. He's going to avoid Franken like a toddler bitten by a zombie. Kerry's got an election to win and can't risk getting any Gore on him.

Back in the green-room, Franken asks his intern to put on an Al Gore mask and see if the impaired Ann Coulter will fly into a murderous rage. I wonder how this edition of "Ann Coulter in the OFF Green Room" will turn out!

2:52 pm
A helpful reader e-mailed me the secret identity of the Unknowable Might-be-female Franken Co-host, which I've already forgotten, and pointed out she's "no drag queen." The reader obviously doesn't know that it's much hotter to think about touching yourself if you don't know for sure if the newly-minted-liberal-radio-network-cohost is going to turn out to be a woman or not. Next thing you're going to tell me that What's Her Name also might not be a neoconservative harboring a secret social-libertarian streak. Way to suck all of the potentially transgressive excitement out of things, Helpful Reader.

It's 3:00 pm EST and the maiden voyage of "The O'Franken Factor" is over. My connection died (yes, again) just as Franken was taking phone calls from family members. I'm sure nothing funny or interesting happened.

Thank you for tuning in to Bunsen Blogs Franken. Enjoy your meal.

About this site

This is the internet home of Mark Lisanti, a Los Angeles writer sometimes known as Bunsen. He is the founding editor of Defamer, a weblog about Hollywood, where he now serves in the nebulous capacity of "editor-at-large."
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