POEM ALERT: Why Is The New Yorker’s Editor Playing Al Franken?

Editor’s Note: A report that New Yorker David Remnick will be playing the role of Al Franken in a one-night-only Public Theater has moved our correspondent to verse, for better or worse.

One is a hero of the liberal bastion

The other’s prose stylings are always in fashion

When the latter acts the former, on Thursday next

The alt-right will take to 4chan, and kvetch.

One is an editor, the other a Senator —

What combination could more anger the redditors?

It takes chutzpah to step into Al Franken’s shoes

David Remnick, we’re sure, will pay adequate dues.

Why will Remnick play Franken? You’ll find out when

He steps into the role in “All The President’s Men?”

It’s an import from London, an immigrant show

We’re not at war with the Brits yet, so on it will go.

For one brilliant night, Remnick and Co. will perform

Scenes from confirmations that trespassed the norm

Of Pruitt and Price, Sessions and Tillerson

Played by Remnick, Ron Rifkin, and Staceyanne Chin —

— to name just a few. When these luminaries gather,

Will they lampoon the government, like Facebook hero Dan Rather?

Or will their deft recitations of authorities’s preaching

Come out urgent and earnest, perhaps even beseeching?

What is America? Where will Trump’s cabinet lead it?

Will corruption proliferate? What can we do to beat it?

Will they let the sea rise, the bears enter our schools?

Will they use their own agency, or be merely tools?

When Remnick plays Franken, will he reassure?

Will his storming provoke? Will his reason inure?

There are ways to imagine, only one way to know —

Just a commitment of time: Go see the show.


Talya Zax

Talya Zax

Talya Zax is the Forward’s deputy culture editor. Contact her at zax@forward.com or on Twitter, @TalyaZax.

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POEM ALERT: Why Is The New Yorker’s Editor Playing Al Franken?

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