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Oh Canada...

August 10, 2003 |


I am just wondering, as I was browsing your Web site, that you have NO CANADIAN DATES listed, and I believe that you should think about adding a few CANADIAN dates to your upcoming tours. Is this possible?


Dear Shawn,

I am fond of Canada in principle, admire your health care system and so forth, and my father's family came from there, but ... the last time we did a show there, in Vancouver, getting through Canadian customs was exquisite torture. An officious young Canadian woman took me into a small room and questioned me for 20 minutes about my intentions—the papers were all in order, the CBC was our sponsor, it couldn't have been more legit—and if her purpose was to exercise a little hostility toward Yankees, well, she succeeded.

I realize that American customs can be petty and mean-spirited, too, but it occurred to me that maybe I didn't have to do that again. And the little exit fee you have to pay at the Vancouver airport was a sour experience, too. And then a few months ago, we submitted an hour-long version of A Prairie Home Companion to the CBC, which they declined. Not because they didn't like it, not because they had no room for it, nor because they couldn't afford it, but because it was too American. That really burned my toast. That is stupidity on a scale I'm not used to dealing with. That is invincible stupidity. So I don't think the show is going to head north. We'll happily go to Germany, Ireland, Scotland, Switzerland, France, Norway, any place there's an audience, and think fond thoughts of our neighbor to the north.

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