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February 17, 2004 |

Dear Mr. Keillor,
I was fortunate enough to get to see your show in Hot Springs last weekend, and was more than a little shocked to see a veritable Sidetrack Tap set up serving alcohol to the listeners. While I'm no teetotaler, I've never thought of your show as needing a glass of wine as accompaniment (though it certainly made the News from Lake Wobegone funnier to the woman sitting next to me). Wouldn't it be more appropriate to have the vendors selling plates of Tuna Noodle Casserole and Jello?


Dear Micah,
I wasn't aware of the wine sales but I'm not surprised. For years and years, we didn't sell alcohol at the show and then the Fitzgerald got a beer & wine license and there was a noticeable difference in the audience. Of course, Minnesotans need some lubricant more than Arkansans, and the Hot Spring audience was terrifically enthused and sang "Dixie" with a lot of feeling and seemed to have a good time, but there is a long-standing connection between comedy and alcohol. No doubt about it. I enjoy a teetotaling crowd (grade schools, for example) but anybody on stage can notice the difference. More giddiness, less confounded silence.

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