Post to the Host

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

Send GK Your Question »

February 14, 2007 | 4 Comments

Post to the Host:
In all of the years I have been listening to and supporting A Prairie Home Companion, I have never felt so let down and disappointed as I do tonight. Why, oh, why did you find it necessary to join in with all of the mainstream media "vampires" to make fun of the public breakdown suffered by Lisa Marie Nowak? I really did think APHC was so much better than that. There is so much sorrow and ugliness in the world right now — and APHC has always been an oasis of common sense, calm and small and hopeful stories. How utterly disappointing to hear you plunge into the cesspool with the rest.

Susan W.
Petersburgh, NY

You may well be right, Susan, but I don't know that "breakdown" is how I would describe a 900-mile drive while wearing adult diapers and carrying rubber hose, a mallet, tear gas, etc., in order to attack another woman. That is a long drive. I feel sorry for Lisa Nowak, and I feel sorry for Senator Biden who spoke so loosely and shot his presidential campaign in the foot, and I feel sorry for the guy who attached a lawn chair to a weather balloon and sailed off into the sky, and for everyone who stepped on a banana peel and went down. Comedy is cruel sometimes, and semi-tasteless, but I thought the Lisa Nowak reference was funny and so did the audience. They laughed. Had Ms. Nowak injured her intended victim, it wouldn't have been funny. But the list of weapons, and the diapers, were funny. Mel Brooks said, "Tragedy is when I have a hangnail. Comedy is when you fall in a hole and break your neck." I don't go that far, but you get the idea. And someday when I am arrested in a diaper
and carrying a hose and a gas cartridge, I hope you get a good laugh out of it.


Everytime I read a comment like this, I think "Man, someone needs a diaper change."

I don't know why I'm not used to this after reading comments out here for some time, but I'm still amazed that some folks don't understand that -- sometimes -- comedy is laughing at other people.

I've gone back and listened to all the archived joke shows, and I think this year's was one of the best. Thanks for making me laugh out loud in my little cubicle, guys. And, no, I won't get offended at any cubicle jokes, even though cubicles themselves are sad.

I must say to you "Right on!" In truth, there is much sadness and irony in the human condition. Frequently, all you can do to preserve your sanity is to find the strength to laugh at the conditions and circumstances in which we find ourselves (most frequently of our own making). One of the greatest tools we have is laughter. As in this case, "You can't make this stuff up... No one would believe it!"

Egad. We must choose between Susan's ethics of speech and, gulp, Mr. Garrison Keillor. With all respect to APHC and its high standards, I side with Susan. The value of my laugh does not outweigh the reality of any person's true suffering. I know this will remove much fodder for humor, but Garrison is smart enough to remain our fodder figure.

Give me a break here. Fortunately, Lisa Marie Nowak's outlandish and harebrained scheme was a failure. It is on its face the kind of news that makes the newspaper reader or TV news viewer think, "Did they make that up?" Clearly, though, it happened. And without question, people like Jay Leno and David Letterman will use it in their monologues and audiences -- including me -- will laugh, because it's truly funny.

Remember Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan? There was plenty of comedy over that, too, including, but not limited to, a satirical recording of a song "You've got a brand new pair of figure skates, I gotta break your knee" (which sounded exactly like Melanie signing "Brand New Key" and David Letterman showing a line of brand new products including "L'Eggs Steel-Pipe Resistant Pantyhose."

When public figures behave egregiously and it makes the news, comedians will make jokes about it, and I say they ought to. In fact, it's what makes listening to them worthwhile, among other things theyd do.

You go, Garrison!

Previous Post:

Next Post:

Post to the Host Archive

Complete Post to the Host Archive

American Public Media © |   Terms and Conditions   |   Privacy Policy