Al, Bill, and Molly

I finally watched the CSPAN coverage of the book expo featuring Franken, O’Reilly, and Ivins, and I can genuinely say that the reports of its high entertainment value are not exaggerations. Franken did go long, but as he put it in response to O’Reilly’s complaining, “I went long because I was getting some laughs” (he was). Sans producer and mute button, O’Reilly’s level of discourse devolved to “Shut up! Just shut up!”, “This guy’s an idiot”, and “we can have a bagel”. I guess that if Franken were from Mexico or parts south, O’Reilly would have invited him over to swim a river. Or perhaps if Franken were black, O’Reilly would have invited him over to steal some hubcaps. The acrimony was actually greater than I anticipated. Franken was also great in a digression on Ann Coulter.

More substantively, Franken and Ivins are both really entertaining and I think either one could draw a nice talk radio audience, because they combine insight with humor. I wouldn’t want them making policy; both a bit too left and too anti-corporate for me. But neither one is “out there”, either. They would be great for exciting the proverbial base, yet entertaining enough to draw from outside the NPR audience.