The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

01 April 2006

Cranky Al Franken, Matt Lauer, NBC's Today Show, Michael Smercomish


On National Television, Grumpy, Testy Al Lets Loose

Memo to network producers: avoid booking Al Franken in the early morning hours. Before a certain point, he's a certifiable grump.

Who knows, maybe he didn't get his Wheaties yesterday.

Whatever the reason, Al made a serious mistake appearing with Matt Lauer on NBC's Today Show. Paired with WPHT-AM/Philly's Michael Smercomish, Mr. Smalley had little to say about the topics at hand, including ongoing pro-illegal immigration marches sweeping the West Coast.

Thanks to Ian at Expose The Left for making the video available, while a transcript exists at Scott Whitlock's Newsbusters blog. Hat tip: Scott Johnson at Powerline.

Is this what happens when Mr. Billy ($625,000 per annum) Kimball is fast asleep in his hotel room? Was the remaining Franken/Harvard entourage not available for prop-up duties?

For Al, the end result of this mess was career-damaging: he lashed out at Smercomish, saying "screw you" on national television. Who knew the Today Show was unsafe to watch with one's children?

While Franken brought nothing but misery to NBC, despite Lauer's predictable praise for Air America (which Al oddly didn't address), Smercomish was in top form.

Bringing facts and timely information to the segment, he won the illegal immigration debate by default.

If only NBC's liberals were interested in listening to reason!

From the NewsBusters transcript (with Whitlock's dead-on comments):

Lauer: "Al Franken is host of the Al Franken show on Air America radio, celebrating a second anniversary today, so congratulations."

The Today host allowed Franken to take a number of cheap shots at the administration. He even obliged by throwing the radio host some softballs:

Lauer: "Andrew Card, five and a half years as chief of staff, out. Was he shown the door? And if so, is change good?"

Franken: "He was exhausted. I think he's been exhausted since, pretty much, since day one...You know, they point to lousy decisions made recently, but they've been making lousy decisions since, pretty much since- I think they just stayed up too late at the first inaugural."

Franken went on to say that Josh Bolten taking over as chief of staff would do no good because he’s "even more exhausted." He then added:

Franken: "I think they should just fire these guys in order of exhaustion. I think Rumsfeld is looking real tired."

That last line drew a laugh from Lauer and the Today set. However, Mr. Franken, who felt free to dish insults out, became very testy when Michael Smerconish noted how somber the author of "Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot" seemed:

Smerconish: "Yeah, Al sounds a little exhausted to me this morning."

Franken: "It's 4:11AM! It's four in the morning here....Screw you! I got up at four in the morning."

Franken, who was appearing via remote from California and thus in a different time zone,couldn’t let the issue go:

Franken: "I got up at 4AM, Michael! Four friggen AM!"

Hey Al: welcome to the media biz! Are you new to this?

Interviews at crazy hours are par for the course. It's not a reason to lash out on national television.

Maybe Al gets so darn much free publicity these days, he just doesn't appreciate it.

Because morning shows usually have a "fun" element to them, Franken's anger seemed especially jarring.

And most baffling is why NBC staffers found Franken's Rumsfeld "joke" so funny.

Even with Lauer's fawning, softball questions and hand-holding, Franken still bombed, creating a heavy tune-out urge.

Quite an accomplishment, Al! Wonder if NBC will be crazy enough to try this again? We think that's unlikely.

Also at NewsBusters: Tim Graham on Air America's second birthday. And, a big thanks to sites linking to yesterday's Radio Equalizer piece on that very occasion, including Viking Pundit, memeorandum, The Truth Laid Bear, Ace Of Spades and several others not yet known to us.

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DRS, NBC Spin: David A Lunde for the Radio Equalizer


  • Next issue: the bald dude. What's with his hair? How about it, cueball? I'm lookin' at you and thinkin' "fourteen in the side pocket."

    By Blogger @whut, at 01 April, 2006 10:32  

  • Great work, Brian!

    keep posting non-story after disingenuous story after outright lie...

    It's a pity you show any semblance of honest "reporting" ever, when you're so obviously unaware of how much you marginalize yourself with weak stuff like this...

    I wonder - at which point does your "reporting" seem like obsession to your fans? The reasonable among us already understand your obsession - you and michelle malkin thought you smelled blood over the Cohen-created Gloria Wise issue - but, that didn't play out as you'd hoped, or planned.

    And now, you're reduced to snark.

    Too funny.

    By Blogger TJ, at 01 April, 2006 10:36  

  • You really got em this time Brian. Wow. Such substance. "Screw you"! Boy, that stung. Career-damaging. (Grasp stomach, bend over, bwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!...) Brian, you'd need a career to be able to make that charge.

    What a figment.

    By Blogger LT, at 01 April, 2006 16:26  

  • you pimp everyone linking to this shit...but me? OUTCAST.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 01 April, 2006 21:52  

  • >>>I've been reading your blog for almost two years, and for two years you've been claiming AirAmerica is days away from its demise. Your credibility gap is growing almost as long as your nose.

    By Chris<<<

    Okay, lemme get this straight... you've been tuning in for two years; and you think he's an idiot, but you keep coming back and even rouse yourself to enter a comment....

    Screw You! Paris Hilton uses YOUR nose as a vibrator. YOU LOVE IT.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 01 April, 2006 22:10  

  • HEY, KITE, do you ave, like a day job?

    By Blogger Unknown, at 02 April, 2006 08:14  

  • I am a registered Republican, had a Bush-Cheney '04 and a Viva Bush bumper sticker on my car deep in a blue state during the election surrounded by Kerry stickers and *#$% Bush stickers, and refused to vote for Bob Dole in 1996 because I didnt think he was conservative enough. Having said all that (although obviously I cant prove it) ...
    I have to agree with the left wing comment posters. I watched the video. Franken was obviously joking. Everyone was laughing, including Smercomish. And not in an uncomfotable type of laugh. Genuine laughing with him, not at him. I credit you for posting the video, but it undercuts your whole case.
    The only thing I can fault Al Franken for is repeating the same joke over and over again in the segment. However, that shouldn't be entirely unexpected considering that that has been the modus operandi of Saturday Night Live. Take one mildly amusing joke and stretch it out for 10 minutes. Just see the Simpsons episode where Krusty on "Tuesday night live" does the "big ear" family sketch and comments when no one is laughing "Ugh, this goes on for another 14 minutes"

    By Blogger Kysr, at 02 April, 2006 13:23  

  • It just seems odd you spend so much time barking at the moon.

    Me, I'm self-employed. I can tell the whole company to piss off every once in a while, since it's me I'm talking to. But your boss is obviously getting robbed because of your obsession.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 02 April, 2006 14:56  

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