You Can Call Me Senator

From Harvard Magazine:

AlAlan Stuart Franken, now 60, was born in New York, but his father, seeking opportunity, moved his wife and their two sons to Minnesota when Al was young. Joe Franken was a printing salesman, yet Al attended Blake, generally acknowledged as the most exclusive private school in Minneapolis. How did that happen? There is no better question to ask Al Franken. In his Senate office, settled into the obligatory leather couch, he leaned forward and looked back. “My brother and I were Sputnik kids,” he began. “My parents told us, ‘You boys have to study math and science so we can beat the Soviets.’ I thought that was a lot of pressure to put on an 11- and a six-year-old, but my brother and I started playing math games in the living room.”

Franken turned out to be a whiz in science and math, and when his brother went off to MIT, the family began to look for a better secondary school for Al. As it happened, Blake was looking for kids just like him. “Blake was a school chartered for Protestants,” Franken said. “In the 1950s, it started to lose the ability to get enough kids into top colleges. They needed kids who would score well. And they said…‘JEWS!’” It was almost inevitable that Blake’s Jewish wrestler and honor student glided into Harvard, graduating cum laude in general studies. But his real field of concentration was comedy. In Minneapolis, he’d worked up an act—some improvisation, some sketch comedy—with his Blake classmate Tom Davis. By Franken’s senior year at Harvard, Davis was sleeping on his couch.

More here.