It’s a Good Thing This Book Didn’t Come Out in 2008.Posted: May 2, 2009
I have been, and continue to be, an ardent supporter of Al Franken for U.S. Senator from Minnesota. (As well as a financial contributor.) I hope the State Supreme Court of Minnesota will someday confirm him, just as I hope for everlasting peace on earth and the complete elimination of disease.
I have to think Franken is grateful that Tom Davis’ memoir Thirty-Nine Years of Short-Term Memory Loss didn’t come out until after the election. In fact, I think he’s more than grateful. I think there was a deal to make sure it happened that way.
While the comedy team of Franken and Davis broke up over Davis’ hard-core drug use, the two are friends. Franken contributes material to Davis’ book, and Davis writes of supporting Franken’s Senate campaign (which had been announced at the time of the book’s writing). The ticklish thing for Franken is that while Davis was certainly the harder-core partier of the two, the book portrays Franken as doing copious amounts of drugs in the seventies himself. And a bunch of other things back then he probably would have had to apologize for now, if Norm Coleman had gotten his hands on the material. It could have been fatal — especially in an election that turned on 300-some votes, as this one did.
So, I think that Al said to Tom, “Tom, go ahead and write your book, but do me one favor. Don’t publish it until after the election.” And Tom, doing what a friend would do, complied.
By the way, the book has received some pans having to do with it containing too much material that has nothing to do with comedy, Franken, or Saturday Night Live. Those pans are wrong. Granted, irrelevant material abounds, about Davis’ world travels and Grateful Dead worship and girlfriends, but there is also plenty of good stuff. More than enough of it to make the book a rewarding read for anyone interested in comedy, Franken, Davis, and their SNL cohorts. It is not particularly well-written, but at least it’s grammatical. And while the book isn’t funny (an air of melancholy and regret suffuses much of it), its reminiscences served to remind me of the unique comic genius that Tom Davis brought to the party. I devoured it, and recommend it.