Some five years after his resignation from the US Senate, former Sen Al Franken of Minnesota is set to make his return to television as one of the guest hosts of The Daily Show in 2023.
Comedy Central announced earlier this week that Mr Franken will be one of a roster of co-hosts who will rotate presenting the show after current host Trevor Noah departs on Friday. Other guest hosts will include Leslie Jones, Wanda Sykes, Chelsea Handler, Hasan Minhaj and John Leguizamo.
But the return to a prominent television role marks a milestone of sorts for Mr Franken, who has hosted a podcast, toured a show and made guest appearances on political programmes in the years since he resigned his Senate in disgrace amidst allegations of sexual misconduct.
“Honored to be guest-hosting The Daily Show for a week in the new year,” Mr Franken wrote on Twitter on Tuesday. “Working on Trump indictment material.”
Mr Franken was serving his second term in the Senate in 2017 as a prominent opponent of the Donald Trump administration when broadcaster Leeann Tweeden accused him of forcibly kissing and behaving inapproprietely toward her on a USO tour in 2006.
In the following weeks, seven more women came forward to accuse Mr Franken of sexual misconduct. Mr Franken denied some of the allegations, while saying that he remembered other encounters “very differently” than his accusers. In December 2017, under immense pressure from his Democratic colleagues including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Mr Franken resigned.
His resignation proved divisive among the Democrats — some of whom believed that the movement to demand the popular senator’s ouster without any sort of trial or Senate ethics hearing was evidence of the excesses of the Me Too movement. Sen Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, the first Democraic senator to call on Mr Franken to resign, reportedly faced political reprocussions from top Democratic donors.
In the yeras following his resignation, Mr Franken has maintained a public profile while grappling with the sudden end of his political career. He has used his platform to continue speaking out against Mr Trump and other Republican candidates and policies, while also leaning back into his first career as an entertainer who was a member of the Saturday Night Live cast and the host of an Air America radio show.
Most recently, Mr Franken has toured a comedy show across the country. Its name? “The Only Former U.S. Senator Currently on Tour Tour”.
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