Al Franken to launch comedy tour as he attempts career comeback following Senate resignation

The former senator remains popular among many Democrats despite being forced to resign in 2018 over sexual misconduct allegations

Former Democratic Sen. Al Franken announced this week he will launch a 15-date comedy tour this September. 

While the description of his "The Only Former U.S. Senator Currently on Tour Tour" remained vague on his website, Franken tweeted Tuesday that audience members would "laugh and leave hopeful—unless I’m in a bad mood." 

Franken was a "Saturday Night Live" cast member and writer before he was elected as a U.S. senator from Minnesota in 2008. 

He remains popular among many Democrats despite being forced to resign in 2018 amid sexual misconduct allegations.

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Franken was pressured to resign by fellow Democrats – led by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y. – at the height of the #MeToo movement after he was accused by radio host Leeann Tweeden of kissing her against her will during a USO tour in 2006. A photo also emerged of Franken smiling as he appeared to pretend to touch Tweeden’s breasts while she was sleeping. 

Al Franken is seen in a controversial photo that led to his resignation from the U.S. Senate in 2018.

Al Franken is seen in a controversial photo that led to his resignation from the U.S. Senate in 2018.

Tweeden eventually accepted Franken’s public apology. He was also accused by several other women of inappropriate touching. 

Gillibrand, who has tried to project an image as a champion for women, was the first Democratic senator to call on Franken to resign. 

A year later, Franken told late-night host Conan O’Brien he wished he could have gotten "due process" in the Senate as he resigned before an investigation could take place. 

"It really needed to have a process, but I just couldn't stay either," Franken told O’Brien. "It was awful. There were no good choices."

Al Franken resigned from the U.S. Senate in 2018 in part because of pressure from a fellow Democrat, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York.

Al Franken resigned from the U.S. Senate in 2018 in part because of pressure from a fellow Democrat, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York.

Several of his former colleagues in the Senate have said they regret swiftly calling for his resignation. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., called it "one of the biggest mistakes" he’s ever made in his nearly 50 years in the Senate,  according to The New Yorker magazine. 

Franken has also said he regrets his decision to resign without an investigation. 

He has seemed poised for a comeback of late. He slowly started doing TV interviews again after his ouster, he has a popular podcast and a sympathetic New Yorker magazine piece from 2019 questioning the fervency of his removal caught fire among many in the party. 

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Recent Franken sightings in New York City – he's a native who moved to Minnesota as a child – have also sparked speculation he might launch a Senate campaign there, some have hoped against Gillibrand.