Minnesota taxpayer dollars used to promote Al Franken’s comedy tour

Vaccinated Minneapolis theatergoers can spend $94 on a ticket to see Franken's newest routine at a taxpayer-funded theater on Oct. 2.

This photo, released by Tweeden, shows the former senator groping Tweeden while she sleeps.

A taxpayer-funded theater in Minneapolis is charging nearly $100 for tickets to former Sen. Al Franken’s new comedy tour.

The tour is titled “The Only Former U.S. Senator Currently on Tour,” and is set to visit the Pantages Theatre on Oct. 2. Pantages is owned by the Hennepin Theatre Trust, which is a publicly-funded entity. In addition to hosting the event, the Hennepin Theatre Trust is running ads to promote Franken’s comedy career, according to its Facebook ad library.

This is a screenshot of an add the Theatre Trust is running ahead of Franken's next show.
This is a screenshot of an ad the Hennepin Theatre Trust is running ahead of Franken’s next show.

The Trust says its “activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant.” State records confirm that Minnesota’s Legacy fund provided $596,295 in 2019, $701,364 in 2020 and $603,934 in 2021. The Legacy fund was established in 2008 and has been used to pour millions of dollars into projects aimed at promoting LGBTQ performances.

Public financial records show that the Hennepin Theatre Trust maintains $24.2 million of assets and is funded in large part by public money.

Ticket’s to Franken’s show cost between $49 and $94 and attendees will be required to wear a mask and show proof they received the coronavirus vaccine.

Meanwhile, Franken says that although he’s focused on his comedy tour, he’s not opposed to the idea of returning to politics at some point. “I’m keeping my options open,” he recently said in an interview. “I love the Senate. I love the work that I did,” he added.

Franken resigned from the Senate in 2018 after a photo emerged of him grabbing radio anchor Leeann Tweeden’s breasts while she slept. Tweeden also alleged that Franken groped her while she was awake and forcibly kissed her against her will.

Tweeden reported: Franken “came at me, put his hand on the back of my head, mashed his lips against mine and aggressively stuck his tongue in my mouth … I immediately pushed him away with both of my hands against his chest … I felt disgusted and violated.”


Kyle Hooten

Kyle Hooten is Managing Editor of Alpha News. His coverage of Minneapolis has been featured on television shows like Tucker Carlson Tonight and in print media outlets like the Wall Street Journal.