Senator Frankenclown Finally Makes a Funny

Quips lighten Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, however briefly

Thank heavens the newly minted senator from Minnesota, Al Franken, finally said something funny.

Franken has been a senator for one whole week, and during that time the press has grown increasingly agitated at his weird shenanigans, which consist of giving serious responses to all of their questions. This guy was allegedly a comedian, or a "clown" or something, and yet he insisted on trying to act ... well, senatorial.

His behavior has baffled the millions of Americans who felt entitled to some sort of entertainment show from this buffoon, who instead at his first press conference delivered an earful of ho-hum verbage that made Harry Reid look entertaining by comparison.

So. This is why we may all rejoice that finally, on Wednesday, Senator Franken cracked a joke.

The junior-most member of the Judiciary Committee told Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor that he was surprised she'd been inspired to be a prosecutor by watching Perry Mason, since the prosecutor always lost.

Sure, his little joke didn't have quite the finesse of Tom Coburn's remarks that the Hispanic nominee "would have some 'splainin' to do," but we can't all be natural wits. The larger point is that, following a bruising and extremely expensive recount process in Minnesota, one that left both Franken and Coleman supporters feeling exhausted and drained, now the healing can finally begin.

The clown from Minnesota has been safely installed in office, and he is acting at least a little bit like a clown.

Circus historian Sara K. Smith writes for NBC and Wonkette.

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