Comedy writer, author, and occasional actor Al Franken was one of the first alumni of the NBC network sketch comedy institution Saturday Night Live (1975) and spent most of his career closely associated with the series and its byproducts. He is also the author of the best-selling book Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot. On television, he starred in the NBC sitcom Lateline (1997-1999).
Franken started out as a standup comedian in high school. While attending Harvard, he attempted to get onto the staff of the Harvard Lampoon but was rejected. Later, he teamed up with his former high school classmate Tom Davis and toured the country as a standup comedy duo. They were spotted by Canadian producer Lorne Michaels, who at the time was trying to put together a Monty Pythonesque sketch comedy show for American audiences. He hired them in 1975, as both writers and performers. As writers, Franken and Davis distinguished themselves with their outrageously funny sketches. Franken's recurring segment "Al Franken Decade" was one of his popular creations. They remained with the show until Lorne Michaels departed in 1980.