December 7, 2005

Franken at the Barrymore.

Al Franken was in town to do a live broadcast of his Air America radio show, here on State Street, at the Barrymore Theatre. I hadn't noticed that this was happening, or I might have felt I head out into the cold yesterday so I could tell you about it. But The Isthmus has a good report, with a bloggish set of pictures:
The show was on stage from 11 am through 1 pm, with Franken speaking to a parade of local lefty pundits and Democratic politicians, such as Mayor Dave Cieslewicz, State Rep. Mark Pocan, and Gov. Jim Doyle (via phone). The theater was standing-room only, with nearly one thousand officially ticketed attendees. "I think we packed the place," says Brian Turaney, who is the program director for The MIC.

The live-broadcast was well-received by the politically-liberal crowd. "It's a great event whenever Al comes to town," Turaney explains. "It's great, especially on a cold winter day, to get together and see how many people are like-minded. It's great to see how many people came out and how happy everybody was."
Yeah, it was really cold. Drawing a big crowd for a 3-hour radio show is pretty impressive. But this is Madison! We're not sissies about the cold, and we love the rousing lefty politics.
The crowd is very enthusiastic, applauding regularly and excitedly at Franken's punchlines and rhetorical flourishes made by the political guests.
That's what ever comedian wants to hear: how loud the crowd ... clapped.
The age range of the crowd is diverse, ranging from the myspace Generation to the Greatest Generation. It is also overwhelmingly white and middle class (at least in superficial appearance), certainly reflective of the radio station's listenership. This makes sense, given the need for many audience members to take (at least) several hours out of their work day to attend. In terms of general appearance, conservative naysayers envisioning "hippies" or whatever the fantasy du jour is (as is often the case among those negatively commenting on liberal gatherings of this type) have little to work with.
Is that what you conservative naysayers envision? Well, at least we know that (liberal?) journalists envision conservative naysayers envisioning Franken's audience as somehow rotten-looking.

It sounds as though most of the show was trotting out the local politicians. Franken is a radio genius if he made that interesting. I remember how Bruce Springsteen -- that denizen of Franken's iPod -- reacted when he had to share the stage with Governor Doyle: "I think this will be the governor's last experience as my opening act."

UPDATE: I'm mixing up the Barrymore and the Orpheum! Sorry. The Barrymore is way over on the East Side and would have required a car ride.

4 comments:

Ron said...

I remember how Bruce Springsteen -- that denizen of Franken's iPod -- reacted when he had to share the stage with Governor Doyle: "I think this will be the governor's last experience as my opening act."

That's 'cause only one of them could be The Boss, and a governor would find it hard to swallow that it wasn't him!

Al Maviva said...

I'm a conservative naysayer, and yeah, I envision middle to upper middle class academics in a college town being huge Franken fans. In fact, the Republican base is trending more and more mid-middle and lower-middle class than ever before, and the Dem base more wealthy. So if it's got a blue collar or a T-shirt on it, it's probably one of ours...

Dale B said...

conservative naysayers envisioning "hippies"

I'm probably conservative, at least sometimes. What I envision is a 50ish man with close cropped grey hair and beard wearing Land's End clothes. He has a Subaru or BMW X5 with Kerry AND Wellstone bumper stickers. He has a recumbent bicycle in the garage.

Palladian said...

"to get together and see how many people are like-minded."

I love those independent thinkers of the left!