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The comedian: Al Franken
The straight man: Al Franken
The collision: Surely funny Franken and political Franken always co-existed, but sometime around the mid-1990s, the two sides collided into each other (at least for the American public) when he wrote the New York Times bestseller "Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot (And Other Observations)." He followed that up with "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right" in 2003 and the following year went 100% political (though still funny) with his progressive talk radio show on Air America. Now he's toning down the funny as he runs for U.S. senator from Minnesota.
FOR THE RECORD:
An earlier version of this item incorrectly said that Franken was running for Minnesota state senator