Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Fast Forward

Al Franken Has Mad Mapmaking Skills — And He Can Prove It

Al Franken is known as a former Saturday Night Live writer, current senator from Minnesota, and possibly a future presidential candidate. You can add one more descriptor to that list: impressive amateur cartographer.

For years, Franken has impressed audiences and constituents with his ability to draw a map of the United States from memory. Here’s the most popular video displaying his talents, taken at the 2009 Minnesota State Fair:

YouTube video

Franken first publicly showed off his skills on a 1988 SNL Weekend Update feature. He has since used his talents to impress both middle schoolers and celebrities alike.

Franken has given two stories to explain his mapmaking skills. In one version, he picked up the skill after he lost a bar bet to name all 50 states, reasoning that if he could draw them all at once, he could name them. In another, he learned the states’ shapes and locations as a child from a puzzle game in which each state was a piece.

The senator also creates a new map every year for one of his colleagues as part of the Senates’ Secret Santa gift exchange, which he organizes.

Contact Aiden Pink at [email protected] or on Twitter at @aidenpink.

Engage

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.