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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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September 28, 2006 | 12 Comments

Dear Mr. Keillor,
I can't recall having ever seen you on any television talk shows and I'm curious if I've just missed you or if you don't do talk shows. If you don't why not? I'm sick of watching their usual round of guests and so I rarely tune in any more. Is there any possibility of ever seeing you conversing with say, Jon Stewart of the Daily Show or maybe at length with Larry King?

Cathy G.
Westerville, OH

I used to do talk shows, Cathy, back when I was famous but I'm a recovering celebrity now and so it's not that interesting. Also, they don't ask me. That makes it easier to say no. The last one I did was the Craig Ferguson show in L.A. They tape it in the late afternoon and the audience is made up of unemployed twentysomething people who are herded like cattle into a studio and sit on bleachers for an hour as a deranged bald man runs around with a hand mic and makes them scream on cue. He's the warm-up guy. The same happens at the Letterman show. They bully the audience and abuse it and for some reason people enjoy this and get excited. The fact that they are treated with contempt makes them believe that the show must be really really good. So you get this hyper audience prepared to salivate at the sound of a bell, so that all the host need do is raise an eyebrow and the audience screams with delight. It isn't the branch of show business that I signed up for, Cathy.


Dear Mr. Keillor, finally someone tells it like it is about the phony TV shows. I hate shows with,"laugh tracks", if it`s funny people will laugh, if not just get another job! Nuts to applause signs! Saw you in Norfolk! You are the funniest Liberal there has ever been! God Bless! Don H.

We were in the audience for a David Letterman show in December 2005. I can report that members of the audience were treated as honored guests, other than waiting in line part, of course. The warm up guy was very funny, and we weren't pressured or harangued at all. Mr. Letterman came out and did his own warm-up for a few minutes. Contrary to rumors I had heard, he was very gracious, thanked us for coming (transit strike was on, people had trouble getting there), and told some funny jokes. Other than the studio being FREEZING (a Letterman quirk, we heard) it was a fabulous experience.

I saw you on the Al Franken Show less than a year ago when he had a show on Bravo...just before he moved back to Minnesota in January. I thoght you were great and had some interesting views on the topic of Jack Abramoff.

No adience was whipped into a froth - other than Al's interns, who seem to be encouraged to add to the show.

We too were at a Letterman show and remember that the warm-up guy stressed that the lounder we clapped and laughed the better the show would be. He wanted a lot of audience reaction.

Garrison, We've attended three of your programs and saw you at the Arkansas Literary Festival a few years ago. We'd love to see you on Charlie Rose's show. Rose is the best interviewer around and is non-commercial and loves to let people plug their books. So, write a new book and get on his program.

Great that you & PHC will be at Town Hall 7X come December. You hit the mark re talk shows. I went to a sports talk show that was akin to a party in a toilet. Whatever...Guy Noir, Ruth Harrison, Lake Woebegon: very helpful and tres amusant & deep, yes, deep. Writer's Almanac a great help.

Dear Garrison Keillor,

Television, the great social experiment. I wonder if we will ever know it's full effect on society ?

Girard L. Durham,Penn.

I've been to you shows many times when you appear in Southern California...but I've also been to Craig Ferguson's show and I'm not twenty-something, not unemployed, thank you very much.


I listened to your show from Montana this evening and was struck by the lovely tune that was played right near the end. Of course I can't remember the name of the tune...could it have had some reference to Montana? I'd really like to obtain a copy of the tune. Is this possible?


Mr Keillor,
I am originally a Minnesotan who moved to Indiana in 67. I have been retired since 2002 and now we are able to travel in our motorhome. Last winter while we were in Arizona and Nevada, I was able to listen to you on our laptop. Now we have been told that our son will be back from Iraq shortly after Thanksgiving and we will be in Texas to get together with him when he returns. The person who is co-ordinating the information between the millitary and their families has invited us to have Thanksgiving dinner with their family while we are down there waiting for our son. Just wanted to let you know there are good people yet in this country of ours. I had never met the person before in my life and I really feel honored to be invited.
Bob Anderson in northwest Indiana

I'll sound in about the Letterman show as well. We won a trip to the show from a local radio contest, went to the ticket office (a line that wrapped around the block was already there) and our names weren't on the reservation list. They double-checked, showed a lot of courtesy, but still couldn't find anything (my suspicions were that the radio station intern who handled everything messed up . . . she had many of the details wrong and didn't seem to know what she was doing). They ended up giving us tickets anyway and put us in line. The tickets are regularly free, but there's over a year's wait to get them. The details others mentioned were identical; long lines to get in, directions about what to do, warm-up comic, DL warm-up, and a cold auditorium. Otherwise though, it was high energy and impressive. Their interns are unpaid, I should mention, and did a commendable job.

I watch The Daily Show, as well as Colbert Report ( I am 78 yrs, and, of course, a Democrat.) I think it would be great to see you with one of them- especially after hearing your show from Washington on Oct.7/8 (Vermont VPR)thought your "shots" at the Republicans were great. Regarding the Republican's decision to hold their convention in Minnesota, must say "What were they thinking?".

Incidentally, I loved Stephanie Davis'"Goodnight Little Cowpoke" and plan to order her recording of it. I just put my 14 yr. old Bull Terrier to sleep two days ago, and while she was definitely not a cowpoke, Stepahinie's song really touched a nerve. Thanks for your great show, which has kept my hopes alive during some of the recent dark days!

I just came home from a trip to L.A., California.
I thought it would be fun to attend a live show being recorded. I couldn't imagine a more mind blowing experience. The Carson Daily Show! has
absolutely ruined my late night television experience for life. The crowd that came to the taping of their own free will was about twenty. The remainder of the crowd was filled in by a huge group of younger more glamorous young adults.
They were loaded into the seating area first as
to give the appearance that only pretty people attended "The Carson Daily Show."
After a few hours the crowd was used and abused for their ability to clap and scream. Then we were abruptly shown the door.
As we left their was a large line against the exiting fence. We thought maybe a celebrity was signing autographs and quickly joined the line. It was to our shock that they were paying the pretty people twenty dollars each for their attendance.
I can't imagine myself ever being able to enjoy the late night television experience again.

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