Garrison Keillor brings his solo show to Jaffrey, NH. Poetry, Limericks, Sing-Along and the News from Lake Wobegon
Boothbay Harbor, ME
Garrison Keillor returns to Boothbay Harbor with his solo show. Poetry, Limericks, Sing-Along and the News from Lake Wobegon
Garrison Keillor brings his solo show to Beverly, MA with Poetry, Limericks, Sing-Along and the News from Lake Wobegon
A Prairie Home Companion’s 50th Anniversary Tour will visit to the Chicago Theater in Chicago, IL with our Special Guests: Heather Masse, Christine DiGiallonardo, Rich Dworsky, Howard Levy, Chris Siebold, Larry Kohut, Sue Scott, Tim Russell and Fred Newman.
St. Paul, MN – 3rd show – Limited Seating
A Prairie Home Companion’s 50th Anniversary Tour returns home to The Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul, MN for THREE SHOWS with our Special Guests: Heather Masse, Christine DiGiallonardo, Rich Dworsky, Sue Scott, Tim Russell and Fred Newman and more.
The Communion hymn in church last Sunday was “All People That on Earth Do Dwell,” which I cherish for the lines “Sing to the Lord with cheerful voice:
serve him with mirth,” which is the only time comedy is mentioned in our hymnal, I do believe. There’s joy and rejoicing and gladness, but the thought of serving our Creator with jokes is rather rare and, I think, beautiful. I’m not sure I know exactly what joy is but I do know the one about the engineer who sees another engineer rolling a little pellet between his fingers and saying, “I’m trying to figure out if this is more rubbery or more like plastic,” and the first engineer takes the pellet from him and says, “There is plasticity to it but there’s a viscosity, a sort of liquidity too” and he puts it in his mouth and says, “And there’s a salinity to it as well. Where did you get it?” The other engineer says, “Out of my nose.”
A joke is a friendly transaction between two persons and even if it falls flat, it conveys a generous spirit. I have four friends who still tell me jokes, three men, one woman, all of them old enough to remember the Helen Keller jokes (How did Helen Keller burn her fingers? She tried to read the waffle iron.) and the lightbulb jokes (How many philosophers does it take to change a lightbulb? Define “light.”) or the “What’s the difference” jokes (What’s the difference between roast beef and pea soup? Anyone can roast beef.) and the “What did the blank say to the blank” (What did the maxi-pad say to the fart? You are the wind beneath my wings.) and double-amputee jokes (“What do you call a man with no arms or legs hanging on your wall?” Art.) and old guy jokes (Old lawyers never die, they just lose their appeal. Old actuaries never die, they just get broken down by age and sex.) and the Ole and Lena jokes (So Ole died and Lena called up the undertaker to come get him, and he said, “I’ll be there in an hour,” and she said, “I’m having my hair done in half an hour, how about I drag him out to the curb and you can pick him up there?”). And there were Viagra jokes but they petered out.
Back when I hung out in saloon, in a booth stuffed with guys drinking whiskey, all of us in our twenties, trying to get an angle on our lives, any one of us could change the music by saying, “Twelve years in analysis and finally yesterday I got in touch with my emotions and I broke down and cried.”
“My analyst looked at me and said, ‘No hablo ingles.’”
It was Minneapolis, some of us were grad students, I was a radio DJ, there were a couple of Army vets, we were a tight bunch squeezed in the booth, ambitious, reasonably serious, but there was a patter of jokes to remind us — life is good, don’t take your troubles too seriously — and I miss that tightness. It was a booth for six and we were eight or nine because we really wanted to be there.
So what happened to joke-telling?
For one thing, some of the best jokes are about death. The old Republican is dying and tells his wife, “I’m going to switch parties because I’d rather it happen to a Democrat than to one of us.” These are maybe less funny when you get to be my age. For another thing, a politician came along in 2015 who isn’t funny. This was a first. There were dozens of George Bush jokes and Bill Clinton jokes but with this guy, late-night comics deliver very clever insults but nobody laughs.
I’m not giving up. I was on the phone with a pal who’s in chemo and we spent 58 minutes telling jokes back and forth, including the one about the priest asking the widow, “Did your husband have any last request?” and she said, “Yes, he asked me to put down the gun.” The pal laughed so hard she almost split a seam. Later she called me back to tell me one more. Herschel was swept out to sea by a tidal wave and Mama cried out, “God, you can’t do that to my boy! Bring him back!” and another wave washes Herschel back and Mama cries, “Thank you, God” and then looks at Herschel and looks up at the sky — “He was wearing a hat!” I’ve heard that joke many times and I’m starting to get it. A guy needs a hat.