Franken achieved note as a writer and performer for the television show Saturday Night Live from its inception in 1975 before moving to writing and acting in films and television shows. He then became a political commentator, author of five books and host of a nationally syndicated radio show on the Air America Radio network.
In 2008, Franken narrowly defeated incumbent Republican Senator Norm Coleman, by 312 votes, after a mandatory statewide manual recount. Coleman contested the outcome in court, but the Minnesota Supreme Court unanimously upheld Franken's victory on June 30, 2009.
Franken was sworn in to the Senate on July 7, 2009.