The Gist

You Can’t Say That, Mr. Senator

Guest host Zoe Chace talks to Al Franken about jokes you can’t say out loud in Washington.

Sen. Al Franken and Gist guest host Zoe Chace.

Chris Berube

Listen to Episode 756 of Slate’s The Gist:

Subscribe in iTunes RSS feed ∙ DownloadPlay in another tab
Slate Plus
members: Get your ad-free podcast feed.


In 2008, Al Franken was elected to the United States Senate. Since then, he’s become a well-respected member of the upper chamber. But he hasn’t lost his keen eye for satire. After the Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex marriage, “I wanted to release a thing saying, ‘Mr. Franken is very happy, but he thinks Justice Scalia’s dissent was very gay,’ ” he tells guest host Zoe Chace. “My team told me I couldn’t do that.” Franken is the author of a new book, Al Franken: Giant of the Senate.

Today’s Spiel, an ode to the underappreciated, soon-to-be-extinct White House press briefing.

Join Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, exclusive member-only podcasts, and more. Sign up for a free trial today at

Join the discussion of this episode on Facebook.

Twitter: @slategist