A Prairie Home Companion’s 50th Anniversary Tour comes to Akron, OH with Heather Masse, Christine DiGiallonardo, Rich Dworsky, Sue Scott, Fred Newman and Tim Russell.
A Prairie Home Companion’s 50th Anniversary Tour comes to Scranton, PA with Heather Masse, Christine DiGiallonardo, Rich Dworsky, Sue Scott, Fred Newman and Tim Russell.
Keillor & Company with Prudence Johnson, Dan Chouinard and Dean Magraw bring their show to Spokane, WA for a performance of classic love songs, poetry, The News from Lake Wobegon, and a conversation about Why You Should Go On Getting Older
A Prairie Home Companion’s 50th Anniversary Tour comes to the Grand 1894 Opera House in Galveston, TX with our favorite regulars, Rich Dworsky, Sue Scott, Tim Russell and Fred Newman. Additional guests to be announced.
New Philadelphia, OH
Garrison Keillor brings his solo show to Kent State University. Poetry, Limericks, Sing-Along and the News from Lake Wobegon.
One bright spot last week was a phone call from my niece Mylène with her Portuguese family in the car on their way back from Newport, including her dad, Antonio, an irrepressible free spirit who, though monolingual, walks into bars and cafes and shops and sprays Portuguese in all directions as if everyone was an old pal of his. Pure amiability.
She put her phone on speaker and I told her three jokes that she put through the Portuguese pipeline — the dying man who smells fresh apple pie and crawls to the kitchen and reaches for a knife, whereupon his wife brushes him away and says, “Leave it alone, that’s for the funeral” — the old man who buys two dozen condoms every week in the drugstore and when the clerk finally inquires what he needs them for, he says he feeds them to his dog so she poops in plastic bags — the man walking past the insane asylum who hears the inmates shouting, “Twenty-one, twenty-one” and puts his eye to a hole in the fence and is poked in the eye with a sharp stick as they shout, “Twenty-two, twenty-two” — and after each translated joke, I heard Antonio’s distinctive guffaws.
According to Google, “guffaw” in Portuguese would be “gargalhar” though it also offers “dizer” and “rir ruidosamente” and “chortle” is “cachinar” and “chuckle” is “cacarejar” or “rir abafado,” and it was heartwarming to hear three old jokes ding the bell in a foreign tongue. “Heartwarming,” BTW, is “comovente.”
The world as we once knew it is splitting at the seams. Wars and rumors of wars, horrendous pictures of suffering, dismal predictions by scientists that go ignored, and the Republican Party, which all of my uncles and most of my aunts supported, considering the Democrats to be godless, is powered today by resentment, which was utterly alien to my people. They did not close their eyes before meals and pray for revenge.
So for me, the transmission of jokes to a carload of foreigners, had a sort of magic about it.
I am very much comovented over the birth of Mylène’s boy, Dio, Antonio and Helene’s first grandchild, which is what brought her family here for a month of adoration. It wasn’t to visit Washington, D.C., and watch democracy in action.
Antonio promised that when I go to Portugal for the baptism next summer and see the little boy committed to the Christian faith whether he knows it or not, Antonio will have three jokes to tell me. And I will reciprocate.
A little child was brought in to be baptized and the priest had forgotten the date and the church was closed for renovation and the rectory was empty of all utensils except an antique chamber pot, but it was clean and so he put water in it and blessed it and baptized the child and the sexton who arrived late saw this and thought, “Lord, what people of faith they are.”
The beauty of jokes is how they can cross language barriers and political divisions and crankiness of all kinds. A man can walk into a bar full of strangers and if he bides his time and minds his manners there will come a moment when he can lean forward into a gang of guys arguing about something that matters not, and he says, “So a man walks into the bar with his hands full of dog turds and says, ‘Look what I almost stepped in.’” Or the talking dog who walks into the bar and says, “How about a drink for a talking dog?” And the bartender says, “First door on the left is the toilet.” And if they don’t laugh, then he needs to find a better bar.
A Republican congressman walked out of a contentious conference assembly in the House and said, “I think we should hold a lottery and whoever loses can be the speaker.”
Or to put it another way — a Republican was sent to the guillotine to be executed for insurrection and he lay down, blindfolded, and they pulled the rope but the blade wouldn’t drop. They tried again and again, no success, and decided he’d suffered enough and they’d commute the sentence to imprisonment. So they took the blindfold off and the Republican looked up and said, “No. Wait. I see the problem. The blade’s stuck. Give me a pair of pliers and a screwdriver, I can fix it.”