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Al Franken returns to late-night comedy with weeklong stint as "Daily Show" host

Al Franken returns to late night
Al Franken returns to late-night as he guest-hosts "The Daily Show" 05:57

Former Sen. Al Franken is returning to his roots of late-night comedy, sitting in the host's chair for a weeklong run headlining "The Daily Show." Starting Monday night, he will be filling in as guest host following the departure of Trevor Noah.

The series is broadcast on Comedy Central, a division of CBS' parent company, Paramount Global.

Appearing on "CBS Mornings" on Monday, Franken acknowledged that this is a potentially news-filled week, particularly in light of former President Trump's call for protests over his possible indictment and arrest. When asked if he would be attending any protest, Franken jokingly replied, 'I'm a Proud Boy, and he told us to 'stand back and stand by.'"

Franken was a writer and cast member for "Saturday Night Live," where he worked for 15 seasons, before becoming an Air America Radio host and bestselling author. He later became a senator from Minnesota and served nine years in office. He resigned in 2018 over sexual misconduct allegations. He apologized without admitting wrongdoing.

Former Sen. Al Franken discusses his guest host stint on "The Daily Show." CBS News

Franken said he's nervous to host "The Daily Show," but that an abundance of news makes his return to late-night easier.

"I haven't really done this in this format in a while," he said. "And they've had, I think, eight or nine other hosts since Trevor stepped back. And they've been terrific. And each tries to make it his own or her own."

To try to make it his own, Franken will have Sen. Lindsey Graham on the show Monday night. 

"People would ask me, like, 'Who's the funniest senator?' I say, 'Lindsey.' He's really funny," Franken said. "When he was running for president in 2016, he was doing very badly against Trump. I was in the Senate bathroom with him. I said, 'Lindsey, if I were a Republican, I'd vote for you.' And without hesitation, he said, 'That's my problem.'"

"But we're friends," he said. "We disagree on almost everything, but we'll talk about a few things we agree – one thing we agree on – and then of course we'll be talking about his friend, the former president."

When asked for his assessment of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Franken said, "Well, what he's done is ridiculous in Florida. He has this law that if a teacher makes a kid feel uncomfortable about anything, I guess, including their race, the parent can sue them. So, I mean, how do you teach American history in Florida? It's like, 'For our first 200 years, there were people who had to work for free. No, not like the free internship you did for your father.'"

Beyond his week in "The Daily Show" chair, Franken refused to speculate about a return to politics. When asked if he would run for office again, he replied, "I get asked that all the time. I have no plans to do that, no. People have asked me to run for president. The problem with that is, if I won, I'd have to be president! And I don't think I want to do that."

"The Daily Show" airs on Comedy Central at 11 p.m. ET/10 p.m. CT.

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