Rank #1: Obama National Security Advisor Susan Rice Talks Foreign Policy Successes and Failures
Al and Rice discuss how immensely consequential decisions are made in real time. Sometimes you get it right. Sometimes you don't. And how you deal with tragic mistakes but have to keep on going.
Dec 08 2019
Rank #2: Judd Apatow Discusses Comedy, Mental Health and Politics
Writer, director, producer Judd Apatow (Knocked Up, The Larry Sanders Show, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Girls, Anchorman, Trainwreck) discusses comedy, mental health and politics. Al laughs and gets depressed.
Oct 27 2019
The Oath with Chuck Rosenberg
Rumble with Michael Moore
Gaslit Nation with Andrea Chalupa and Sarah Kendzior
What A Day
Why Is This Happening? with Chris Hayes
Mueller, She Wrote
America Dissected: Coronavirus
What Next | Daily News and Analysis
Late Night with Seth Meyers Podcast
Rank #3: Intelligence Expert Malcolm Nance Makes the Convincing Case that Trump is a Russian Asset
The author, commentator, and career intelligence officer lays out Donald Trump's decades-long relationship with Putin, the KGB, and Rusky Oligarchs. With a cast of unsavory characters like convicted Russian stooges Paul Manafort and Roger Stone, Nance leaves little doubt that the President of the United States has been and continues to be in cahoots with corrupt money-launderers and murderers. A fun show!
Feb 16 2020
Rank #4: Whoever Wins the Popular Vote Should Be President. The New Yorker's Hendrik Hertzberg and Al Discuss Why
The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact is a compact to award member states' electors to the candidate who receives the most votes nationwide It will take effect when states with 270 electors adopt it.So far, 14 states and DC (representing 187 electoral votes) have compact. Colorado's legislature and governor have approved it (9 more electors) and nervous Conservatives have put it on the ballot as a Referendum in 2020. Hertzberg explains it all and why it's good for every American except Donald Trump.
Nov 10 2019
Most Popular Podcasts
Rank #5: A Conversation With Sarah Silverman
Al and Sarah discuss her evolution as a comedian, the hazards of using irony in comedy (the viral death-threat against Sarah from a Florida preacher’s sermon), and the importance of growing as an artist and a person. Alternately edgy and warm and fuzzy, you’ll leave this one smiling.
May 28 2019
Rank #6: A Conversation with Jimmy Kimmel
Al and Jimmy discuss his radio days, Jimmy Kimmel Live’s rough start, then success, bad guests, his emotional appearance after his son’s birth, and his passionate support of universal health care.
Feb 09 2020
Rank #7: A Conversation with Dana Carvey
Al and Dana discuss political comedy and how some of the greatest moments in SNL’s political satire were created. Al promised Dana to blow smoke up his ass during this interview, and, indeed, smoke is blown. Al opens with a monologue in which he assesses the relative talents of Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump. Hint: Reagan could read a speech.
Jul 09 2019
Rank #8: John Mayer on Playing Guitar and Singing at the Same Time
John Mayer talks about how he transitioned from pop star/tabloid fodder (recurrent Sexiest Man Alive) to the impossible challenge of filling Jerry Garcia’s gigantic shoes with Dead and Company, the current iteration of the Grateful Dead. (If you guessed Al is a big Dead Head, you might be right).
Plus, an angry Al vents about the week's impeachment news.
Feb 02 2020
Rank #9: A Conversation with Chris Rock
Mr. Rock is a well-regarded comedian, writer, and actor who is a friend of the host. They discuss a whole bunch of stuff.
Sep 29 2019
Rank #10: How We Got Here. Norm Ornstein on the Erosion of Norms from Gingrich to McConnell to Trump
Veteran Washington observer Norm Ornstein tracks the erosion of norms that once allowed Washington to work. From Newt Gingrich instructing Republicans to demonize Democrats as “sick, corrupt, traitors” to Mitch McConnell denying Merrick Garland a hearing. The abandonment of fact-based evidence, shutting down the government, using the filibuster to grind the Senate to a halt, to a pathological President attacking the media as “enemies of the people.”
Jan 26 2020
Rank #11: Fmr. Facebook Exec Tim Kendall on How Social Media is Destroying the World
One of the Silicon Valley Guilty Parties who stars in Netflix’s Most-Watched Documentary Ever explains why humanity is doomed unless we do something.
Nov 29 2020
Rank #13: SuperPundit Norm Ornstein on the Election
Our SuperElection Podcast!
Nov 08 2020
Rank #15: A Conversation with Dahlia Lithwick and Matt Miller
Dahlia Lithwick, brilliant writer for Slate on all things jurisprudential, and Matt Miller, former spokesman for Attorney General Eric Holder, have a lively discussion with an impassioned Al who argues that it’s time for the House to go to an impeachment inquiry or get off the pot.
May 21 2019
Rank #16: A Conversation With Howard Fineman
How awful do you think Mitch McConnell is? Well. He’s worse than that. Howard Fineman, who began his career at the Louisville Courier Journal, has been covering McConnell for decades. Fineman’s McConnell relishes being a big prick. When coal miners with black lung disease travel from KY to ask Congress to restore the tiny tax on coal that funds their treatment, McConnell gives them all of 30 seconds. Fineman explains. Hell – the miners aren’t going to vote for him; the coal companies have always supported him with tons of campaign funds; and these black lung miners came to D.C. just to embarrass him. Well, screw you, coal miners with black lung disease – you’re all going to die soon anyway. Al tells a lighter story about presiding over the Senate during the debate over Elena Kagan’s confirmation to SCOTUS. Mitch gave the most condescending, sexist speech, typified by the following: “No one has any doubt that Ms. Kagan is bright and personable and easy to get along with. But the Supreme Court is not a social club. If getting along in polite society were enough reason to put someone on the Supreme Court, then we wouldn’t need a confirmation process at all.” Al breaks up and gets a nasty case of church laughter, as McConnell grows more and more infuriated. Find out how it ends in this fun, if somewhat dark episode.
Jul 30 2019
Rank #17: A Conversation with Michael Lewis
Al and Michael Lewis discuss his latest bestseller, The Fifth Risk, which Al calls the best book about the Trump Administration, in no small part because there’s very little focus on Trump himself. Instead, Lewis takes us inside of three Cabinet agencies – Agriculture, Commerce, and Energy – and the incompetent, venal, and/or corrupt appointees who find their way into crucial positions within the federal government. The head of science at the Agriculture Department is replaced by a right-wing talk radio host whose only qualification is that he endorsed Trump early in Iowa. Trump appoints the CEO of AccuWeather to head up the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration, which includes the Weather Service. The CEO’s mission? To stop making Weather Service data publicly available to force Americans to get their weather forecasts from … AccuWeather! And, of course, there’s Rick Perry. At turns hilarious, insane, and just plain sad, this is a fascinating look into what happens to our federal government when the President of the United States has absolutely no understanding or interest in what the government does.
Jun 04 2019
Rank #18: Al Talks with one of his Heroes, Harlem Children's Zone Founder Geoffrey Canada
One of Al's heroes, Geoffrey Canada, founder of the Harlem Children's Zone, talks about transforming the lives of some of our poorest, most disadvantaged kids and how we can replicate that across the country.
Oct 20 2019
Rank #19: Is Democracy in Danger? Legal Experts Dahlia Lithwick and Ian Bassin On Trump, Barr and The Abuse of the Criminal Justice System
Dahlia Lithwick of Slate and Ian Bassin of Protect Democracy discuss Trump's sickening lurch toward autocracy post-impeachment with the cooperation of Bill Barr.
Feb 23 2020
Rank #20: How Corrupt is Trump? Veteran DC Watchdog Melanie Sloan Discusses the Trump Culture of Corruption in Washington
The least surprising episode of The Al Franken Podcast. Veteran DC watchdog Melanie Sloan tells us Trump is very corrupt. Also Ivanka and Jared. And Don Jr. and Eric. Plus the EPA, Interior, and Commerce. And, finally this week, the National Weather Service!
Sep 10 2019