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Host Garrison Keillor answers your questions about life, love, writing, authors, and of course, A Prairie Home Companion.

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Dear Mr. K., I am

November 19, 2004 |

Dear Mr. K.,

I am very curious about what happens at the end of the show every week. After the credits, while the music is playing, there is always a moment when the applause gets suddenly louder. For a long time, I imagined that Sue Scott and Tim Russell and you and the guests were dancing onstage. Recently I realized that maybe the applause gets louder simply because you're all taking your bows. What does happen onstage at the end of the show?

Rina Sanej
Bronx, NY

That is the moment when we bring our show animals out onstage, the German shepherd Renee and the python Suzanne and the cats Meow Tse Tung and F. Cat Fitzgerald and Curtis the chicken. We have found that animals are crucial to a show like ours, and that when attention lags and the audience starts to doze off, the mere appearance of a cat or a chicken suddenly gets them ginned up again. As a writer, Iím not proud of this — I, of course, would prefer that the wit and elegance of language and story would be enough to entertain people. But it ainít happening. So we need a dog. At the end of the show, the five of them come out and thatís when the standing ovation starts. Show business is odd that way. Kids and animals are what people want to see.

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