Senator Al Franken (D-MN) has struggled mightily over the past eight years to downplay his previous career as a writer and performer for Saturday Night Live so that he might be taken more seriously as a member of Congress. But sometimes, his natural comedic abilities can’t help but shine through.
His turn to question Rick Perry, President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for energy secretary, during a Thursday confirmation hearing, was one of those times. Yet it was Perry who made the inadvertent joke.
Asked if he enjoyed their meeting in Franken’s office the night before, Perry replied, “I hope you are as much fun on that dais as you were on that couch.” Franken paused and gave a confused look just long enough to help Perry get an enormous laugh from the spectators in attendance. “May I rephrase that, sir?” Perry asked, chuckling.
“Please, please, oh my lord,” Franken said, deadpan.
Perry’s next line made him crack up for the first time: “Well, I think we’ve found our Saturday Night Live soundbite.” On that note, Franken collected himself and asked the former Texas governor about the shale energy boom.
It was a rare moment of genuine laughter and camaraderie across the aisle during a particularly fraught and divided time in America.