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March 10, 2008 | 28 Comments

Dear Garrison,
I am usually impressed with your story telling abilities, but I was disappointed in your tasteless account of the girl in school trying to hold the fart. I found the strings hanging from her nose particularly disappointing since you usually don't stoop to the need to use body functions as a source of material which appears to be the current vogue of many comedians. I'm hoping this was an exception rather than a trend.

Another English major,
Phyl L.

Sorry you were disappointed. Some neighbor boys were at the show and I did that story to impress them and of course they enjoyed it tremendously. As for bodily functions, there are great English authors I could refer you to — Chaucer, Joyce, and so forth — but you know all that.


Phyl L. - I don't know who you've been listening to because Garrison often uses that type of humor to the delight of most of us - but not all will admit to being amused!

Everyone knows that farts, poop,
snot and ear wax are just about
the funniest things in the world.

It's all about the orifice.

On the other hand, head lice are
not funny.

Just say "fart" among children
and see what happens...

Some adults don't laugh at farts,
but they ought to.

San Clemente

I guess I'm a "neighbor boy" and thought that the fart joke was very funny. And as long as it's in a good mix with others, bodily function jokes are funny, and have been funny for millennia.

Garrison - Listened to the segment this weekend where you waxed eloquently concerning gas inducing lunches and subsequent classroom disasters. Said to myself "uh-oh, someone's going to take Mr. K to task for lowering his humor standards". But I wasn't offended by the skit. Instead, I kind of saw you acting like that slightly mischievous person who most people perceive to be perfectly pure and sanctified, so every now and then he has to tweak them a little bit, to remind them that he's human. Good job...

To follow Phyl's comment, I wrote a paper to attain my Master of Arts in English Literature on the subject of how Satan was cast from heaven by a giant fart and other bodily functions that one can enjoy in Milton's "Paradise Lost." (I had to use quotation marks as I can not seem to get the underline function to work for the title.)

Dear Garrison,

I realize that guys seem to need their bodily -- particularly anal -- jokes; even Mozart did. However, on behalf of Phyl L. (the English major), I'd like to quote your own website at

"We don't do long-winded story jokes. We do classic jokes." Well, maybe most of the time, but the fart story WAS long-winded (no pun intended) and not classic. I wasn't particularly offended -- just bored and puzzled.

Maybe the anal stuff could deliver a sharper punch and be lighter on the graphics next time.

Concerning the joke program that was broadcast on Saturday, March 8; I found the so called jokes about the war in Iraq and terrorism totally insensitive. There is nothing funny about war or terrorists. I cringed as the jokes were being told.
Billie Abraham
Oxford, Mississippi

Mr. Keillor's cleaner humor and imaginative characters and writing do amuse me a great deal.
I periodically read from his book, We Are Still Married, just for the fun of it. HOWEVER, my delicate ears do cringe when the crudeness takes over. I salute his talent, question his lack of couth in mixed company, but hope there will always be more of the refined humor than the other:)

The fart jokes were not my favorite but after reading about who your target audience was, I have to tell you that you reached them and left them laughing.
I was listening to the show with my 11-year-old daughter. We were driving in the car and there was tension between us over a homework issue. The body humor jokes started. At first, she tried to hold the laughter in which made me laugh and pretty soon we were both laughing out loud.
Thank you for that, Mr. Keillor, because she is growing up so fast and is very moody much of the time. It was nice to have a relaxed moment with her just laughing at a joke. She announced, "That guy is really funny, I want to listen to him again!" Congratulations, she is not an easy sell!

I don't know about classic. I do know however, that I fall asleep every Tuesday evening listening to the Lake Wobegon podcast, and rarely have I howled with delight the way I did at this particular gem!

This is my first time at your website. The reason, to get info about the "Fart story" to give my fart loving brother for his 60th birthday.

Garrison-The low point!

I agree with Phyl L. as far as the crude bodily- fuction jokes are concerned. No need for them. Someone tried to use the excuse for you that you were merely catering to your audience. I don't have to paint a picture for a reasonable person to see where that kind of logic could lead.
Also, the great historical writer excuse dosen't fly either. Jumped off any bridges lately? Please don't add to the goo that is making the slippery slope our society is headed down any slipperier(sp).

I strongly concur in the rebuke re that tasteless, witless, supposed humor re the fart. It's a topic better left to innuendo. As it was, it was devoid of wit, and pathetic. There are those who think Bush-Cheney are wonderful, too.

Maybe you need a break, to sharpen the satire.


The segment on last week's show about the farts and snot sent me over the edge--and I have a very high edge. I turned off the show. I didn't like it--and I have been listening for 30 years. If this trend keeps up, you will loose a faithful listener. Please say it was just a momentary lapse in judgement.

Intg that the fart segment had so many defenders. I'm sure it's reassuring that so many people are pleased to see bodily functions made a focus, but may I speak for those of us over 60 who wish we could forget ours for a while? Just in case it matters, you lost my 74-year-old husband's respect for good last Sat. night. We actually turned the show off, which we have never done before. My husband's comment: "This guy!" I've defended you before, but this time I was as disappointed as he was.

I've just read the comments regarding the story of the little girl holding in a fart. I was pulling into the Wal-Mart shopping center when it came on and ended up sitting there listening to the entire story with tears of laughter rolling down my cheeks.

Tough subject...but totally hilarious!!

Loved it!!

I'm 44 years old, a mother of two, and I STILL think farts are funny! I loved the fart story. That was fabulous.

I have loved the Prairie Home Companion for many years for its wry and touching humor, its compassion and its wit.

But I must have missed previous Joke Shows.

I listened last Saturday and it was awful. I don't expect PHC to be odorless, but this show, full of flatulence, was tasteless. It is the only time I can remember shutting off the radio during your show.

I gather that the Joke Show is an annual tradition. How unfortunate! Why not have it only on Leap Years?

What I liked least about the Joke Show is that you stand outside the joke. The things that are really funny come when the character (I'm thinking of Rusty the Cowboy) makes the joke come from inside. I suppose fart jokes do come from inside, but I mean something different.

I guess you won't be hearing too much from people who enjoyed the Joke Show because you're supposed to be 13 to submit a post to the website. (There's a joke in here somewhere about old farts, but I can't quite chip away all the extra granite. )

P.S. OK, I did like the one about Bill Clinton, George Bush and Jane Fonda.

An occasional fart joke may be accepted as humorous, but to go on, joke after joke, year after year, becomes crude, offensive, even desperate.

Shame on EVERYONE for claiming to be OFFENDED by a silly fart joke. i hope to god i never meet a single one of you. what boring stupid people! does everything need to be catered to you? why don't you just tell GK EXACTLY how to make you happy, because obviously what you want is in everyone's best interests! people like you who can't appreciate the show, in all it's aspects, shouldn't listen. i doubt the show's going to cancel if all 10 of you don't tune in. i doubt you idiots even pledge any cash come pledge week! bet you turn your radios off till it's over. then you drive in silence and think about how much you hate your life.

also, as far as the pakistan joke goes, to assume that people think that all pakistanis are suicide bombers is ridiculous! being able to laugh at a joke like that and just seeing it for what it is - A JOKE - is what i love about america!

i was just over in the middle east and africa entertaining the US troops there and they would have found that hilarious! and in their situation, you would think something like that wouldn't be funny.
being able to laugh is a gift. being able to enjoy a joke is a better one.

garrison, you are the man. your show is awesome. i've been listening to it since my teens and haven't stopped.

Very well done for broadcasting ANOTHER FART STORY right after all this fart "controversy". I love it!

Laughing out loud,


Aaw c'mon. I couldn't agree more with Sandy Gilman. Just try to keep a bunch of kids from giggling when gas is passed. The annual joke show actually revived my interest in PHC -- it made me think that I am not in fact too young for this broadcast. Immaturity is one of the funniest things in the world! The joke show was spray-Dr.-Pepper-from-your-nose funny!

Geez. Lighten up, willya? I have a class of 22 14 year old boys and I plan to download and read the "fart piece" to them when the weather gets nice and their attention is anywhere but the classroom. Thanks G!

Melissa M.
Eng. Maj.

Dear Garrison,

I am a middle aged woman and occasionally tune in to your show on WAMU. However, after listening to your fart segment, I will never, EVER miss another broadcast. I laughed so hard that I frightened the dogs. My eyes are puffy and swollen, my throat hurts, and I think I pulled some muscle in my gut. Break, G! Break with the wind!!!

My daughter and I were in the car when this was replayed a couple weeks go. We couldn't leave the car until it was over. We were rolling--I had one of those laughing stomach aches. What a great moment! I can't understand why people are so damn uptight about the use of language and subject matter. We all fart, and we all make snot--big deal! If more people laughed at life the world would certainly be a better place. Mr. Keillor--you can come and tell jokes for us anytime, and by the way, even though my daughter is almost 12, we still read, "Cat, You Better Come Home." Thanks for making the world a little less serious.

Why are bodily functions such sacred cows? We ALL have them and some of them are downright hilarious. I know not everyone enjoys humor about them, but why would you want to denigrate someone who does as if he were somehow lesser than you? What a very unChristian sentiment. I say - fart away, and may the best cabbage win!!

Comparable to the greatest fart scenes in the movies, Garrison, this made those demure critics say to themselves, "I hope nobody heard, my God, I can't believe I was trying so hard not to laugh I farted."

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