Tonight is Garrison Keillor’s last as host of NPR’s (actually, not NPR… but that’s another story) long running “A Prairie Home Companion.” The new guy’s already been picked, there’s no turning back.
Keillor is an enigma because it’s easy to say, “What’s his talent?” He is not show biz obvious.
Garrison Keillor and I stand on this Earth as opposites. He is a Protestant, born and raised in a very white, very rural, environmentally difficult environment. Not me.
One night while driving home from NYC with Stef I switched him on. I thought Stef was asleep. Maybe she was at the beginning.
When we got home she made fun of his audience shoutouts (“To my Aunt Bertha who just had a hip replaced…”), corny jokes and horrible taste in music. I’m with her on that last one.
That’s when it struck me why APHC is so good. It’s not just what’s happening on one show, it’s the amazing consistency. When Keillor reads an audience member’s card long time listeners get it more because we know him well. We know the unnamed characters who appear each and every week and have developed consistent personalities.
There’s another reason I like the show. It represents the last live big time on-stage radio show left. Like Benny and Hope there’s a cast of regulars and a band. Everyone sings and joins in the skits. A well preserved relic of times-gone-by.
“A Prairie Home Companion” was not a weekly ritual for me. It is for some. If I was in the car and it was on I always listened.
Garrison Keillor is sensible and level headed. To a large extent we share values. He will be missed.