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Al Franken can't escape Stuart Smalley

“I'm an aspiring comedy writer,” gushed Atlanta resident Jeff Auerbach upon meeting Franken at a J Street reception Wednesday.

Franken briefly shook Auerbach's hand and quickly entered the reception at a Charlotte restaurant, but the J Street volunteer didn't feel slighted in the least. He beamed a smile and pumped his fists, eager to talk about meeting one of his comic idols.

“I'm very excited,” Auerbach told The Hill. “He's Stuart Smalley! He's good enough, he's smart enough, and doggone it, people like him!”

Franken has worked hard since beating former Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) in the disputed election of 2008 to be seen as a serious policymaker and put his comedian past behind him.