Al Franken was back in office Tuesday, if only for the sake of a comedy sketch.
The former Minnesota senator was filling in as guest host on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" when he challenged the studio audience to imagine a future D.C. hearing that would reveal even more about the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol. Cameras then cut to a pre-taped bit in which Franken played a fictional congressman grilling a military attache, portrayed by Bob Odenkirk.
Franken's character got the witness to share how the former president devised a Wile E. Coyote-type trap for Mike Pence and danced a jig when he incorrectly believed his vice president has been attacked.
Franken, who cut his comedy teeth at Dudley Riggs' Brave New Workshop before moving on to "Saturday Night Live," spent much of his opening monologue poking fun at Donald Trump's latest ordeal, sharing that Mar-a-Largo is currently running a weekend special that features a free breakfast, room upgrade and a "nuclear secret of your choosing."
He seemed genuinely tickled that some In the audience understood a fairly obscure reference to Stormy Daniels.
He also made time to take digs at one of his all-time favorite targets.
"I probably liked Ted Cruz more than most of my colleagues liked Ted Cruz," he said, wearing a blue suit and striped tie. "And I hate Ted Cruz."
Franken may have never hosted a late-night TV show before, but he seemed extremely comfortable in the role, deftly handling interviews with Odenkirk and surprise guest Rhea Seehorn, who both starred in "Better Call Saul," the AMC series that ended its critically acclaimed run on Monday. Franken revealed that he had watched the finale at Odenkirk's home.
He showed he knew all about the art of kissing up to a guest when Rep. Katie Porter, a Democrat from California, joined him on stage, praising her for turning C-SPAN into must-see TV.
He even mustered up the appropriate amount of enthusiasm when introducing musical guest Los Lobos, who closed out the evening with "Love Special Delivery," a song from the band's latest album, "Native Sons."
The successful appearance bodes well for those lucky enough to score tickets for his four-night stint at Minneapolis's Acme Comedy Co., which starts Wednesday.