You’d think the youthful drug use of political candidates would have seized to be something that people give a crap about by now, but apparently that’s not the case in Minnesota, where according to the Strib, Senate candidates Norm Coleman, Mike Ciresi, and Al Franken were all asked about it yesterday.
This came about when a “marijuana activist” who was a former Coleman classmate wrote a letter stating that the now-Senator once “stood atop a building during a protest and smoked marijuana.” Now, everyone knows that Coleman was a left-leaning hippie in his youth, so none of this is surprising. But Franken has now also admitted that he used cocaine and LSD back when he wrote for “Saturday Night Live” in the ’70s, which should come as no surprise to anyone who knows anything about SNL in those days, or about the comedy-writing profession in general.
This reminds me of the anecdote, told by Lorne Michaels, from the great SNL oral history “Live From New York,” about what a hazard it was to work with John Belushi (quoted on this blog):
Al [Franken] and [writing partner Tom Davis] had bought their first-ever cocaine, and they had it all out on the desk. First time they were ever able to buy any. As apprentice writers, their pay was, I think, $325 a week. So they have the cocaine on the desk, and they’re like literally staring at it. I’m off in the distance. I’m in a tough place because I’m supposedly the executive, but I decided it wasn’t my job to play the policeman.
Suddenly this figure comes roaring through the room. Unbeknownst to us at the time, he had a straw in his hand. He gets to the table, and he has half of that stuff up his nose by the time they knew who it was: Belushi. They didn’t know whether to be thrilled that Belushi had just done this to their coke or be absolutely decimated, because that represented about half of the money they had in the world at that time.