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June 25, 2007 | 7 Comments

People either loved my song about fatherhood and the sketch "Night of the Living Sperm" and laughed hard or else they despised them as vulgar and disgusting and turned off the radio. The audience at Ravinia seemed to get a big kick out of them, but they were in a festive mood and with the trees full of 17-year-cicadas singing to each other, there already was eroticism in the air.

Joan B. of Bothell, WA heard the show driving to church and laughed so hard she almost left the road. The song reminded her of "all the lovely pictures of my parents as young, vital, and obviously full of their biology." Rich L. of Alpena, AR was listening to the show with his family in the car on the way home from church. They were appalled and found the song uncouth and belittling of fathers and they turned off the radio. "Why are mothers honored but fathers are ridiculed as buffoons?" he asks.

A grandfather in Santa Cruz turned off the show, finding the song "mostly pointless, humorless and tasteless." Mr. McCoy in Kansas City thought it "cheapened the face of public radio as well as the beloved role of a father" and he will not be attending the show this week in Kansas City.

Karla M. of Salem, OR wrote in to thank us for making her laugh out loud. Steve S., Danbury, NC, considered the song "crass frat-boy humor" and turned off the show — "I was not 'honored,' amused or was I entertained, as a father of 3 boys on Fathers' Day, by being serenaded about sperm swimming up a vagina." Caroline H. of Worland, NY considered both pieces "offensive and disgusting, putting what is usually a classy show right down there in the gutter with little eight-year-olds who are just learning how to use dirty words." Richard L. of Hawley, PA thought the song wasn't funny, "like biology class with music. And the sketch was lifted from Woody Allen. Loved the rest of the show though, made sitting through those two worth it."

Jim W. of Napierville was at the show and felt that overall it had "a cynical take on fatherhood" and that the sperm song was in poor taste and spoiled the evening for him. Pete W. of Pendleton, OR wrote in to remind us that "to be a real father takes a lifetime of commitment, leadership, and love. For the lucky ones the father is the male biological parent. For those whose male biological parent is not present for any reason, the father can be an adopted father, grandfather, uncle, step father, surrogate father, etc. In any event, the true father is the one who supplies the most important example, leadership, and love that is more important than the mere sperm."

Anna S. ("Proud Mother of 2") writes: "I was tickled to tears by the song of Sperm on today's broadcast. WAY TO GO! Thank goodness someone (to whom many are listening) has the tenacity to teach sex ed to those who may have missed that class due to one reason, or another." Randy H. of Moweaqua, IL was "extremely disappointed" — he listened to the show in the van with his children (15, 3, 10) and turned off the show. "I expect this sort of stuff from morning shock jocks, not a family show," he writes. "I hope this is not an indication of your joining in the general coarsening of our society." Mary M. of Fairview Park, OH found the song hilarious and wants a copy to send to her grandsons and thinks the sketch about sperm should be made available "to every teacher of sex education classes. BRAVO!!" Worth H. of Pittsburgh found the song and sketch "gravely disappointing" and the sort of thing he'd expect of Howard Stern. "Why are you leaping over the edge with the rest of the entertainment industry?" he asks.


Hmmm. Women seem to have liked the song and men were offended.

I thought it was funny....

As I listened to the sperm sketches (hilarious), I was inwardly cringing with the anticipation of the 'hate it' mail to Garrison concerning the sketches. What a shame that so many are 'offended'. Offended because the subject involved SEX?!!! Grow up, offended folks.

Great Biology Lesson!

'Tis the way it should be taught - Caring, sweet and funny makes a great relationship! Encore!

Ya know, I haven't laughed so hard for a radio skit of yours in a while, and even knowing, while laughing out loud along with the father's day skit, that it would generate much mail from offended listeners whose gynecologists havent yet seen their vaginas that the complaints are almost as funny as the show! Thanks again for the weekend happiness! I will understand if you chose not to post this but please do take this message as a hearty compliment! ;o)


I hope it's not too late to weigh in with a comment about "Night of the Living Sperm." My husband and I were vastly amused and only regret our two sons (ages 18 and 23) were not home to hear it with us. Our take was that it was a very simple but factual description of how reproduction works rendered in an amusing way. It sure would have gotten their attention back in the day when we were discussing the facts of life with them! You should market this piece specifically for that purpose--I'd certainly buy a copy!

Glad to see so many felt similarly as I did about the song and sketch on the Father's Day show crossing the boundaries of good taste. The song was merely an irritant, lowering the tone of a family show to a raunchy level, but the sperm sketch was outright offensive, depicting an 18-year-old young man having unprotected sex with a young woman hiding in her mother's basement as an acceptable and desirable way of attaining fatherhood. Such behavior should not be celebrated in a lighthearted tone, it should be lamented as a sad trend reducing the population of Western society to irresponsible idiots. Although children don't choose their parents or means of entering this world, back in the old days (of social standards and personal accountability--most people under 50 don't remember these, but should at least have heard of them) children conceived in this manner were called "illegitimate" for good reason.

It's good to see Mr. Keillor taking critical comments in the spirit they are intended--a sense of ownership of loyal longtime listeners to a high quality show usually delivering superior entertainment. People should feel even greater ownership and loyalty to society--after all, society is what people make it and, except for total hermits, we all have to live in it.

Sorry I missed it. I would've laughed. On the other hand, my 47-year-old daughter is going through a sad divorce, with much crying. That's when fatherhood gets serious.

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