Garrison Keillor: Wikis


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Garrison Keillor
Birth name Gary Edward Keillor
Born August 7, 1942 (1942-08-07) (age 67)
Anoka, Minnesota
Medium Radio, Print
Nationality American
Years active 1969-present
Genres Observational comedy, Satire
Subject(s) American culture (esp. the Midwest); American politics
Spouse Mary Guntzel (1965-1976)
Ulla Skaerved (1985-1990)
Jenny Lind Nilsson (1995-present)
Notable works and roles Himself, Guy Noir, Lefty, Bob Burger, and Lake Wobegon narrator in A Prairie Home Companion

Gary Edward "Garrison" Keillor (born August 7, 1942) is an American author, storyteller, humorist, columnist, musician, satirist, and radio personality. He is known as host of the Minnesota Public Radio show A Prairie Home Companion (also known as Garrison Keillor's Radio Show on United Kingdom's BBC 7, as well as on RTE in Ireland , Australia's ABC and Radio New Zealand National in New Zealand).


Biography and personal life

Keillor was born in Anoka, Minnesota, the son of Grace Ruth (née Denham) and John Philip Keillor, who was a carpenter and postal worker.[1][2] He was raised in a family belonging to the Plymouth Brethren, a fundamentalist Christian denomination he has since left. He is six feet, three inches (1.9 m) tall[3] and has Scottish ancestry. Keillor is a member of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party. He is currently an Episcopalian,[4] but has been a Lutheran.[5] His religious roots are frequently worked into his material: he often remarks that most Minnesotans, being of German or Scandinavian descent, are Lutherans. He graduated from the University of Minnesota with a bachelor's degree in English in 1966. While there, he began his broadcasting career on the student-operated radio station known today as Radio K.

Keillor has been married three times:

  • To Mary Guntzel, from 1965 to 1976. The couple has one son, Jason, born in 1969.
  • To Ulla Skaerved (a former exchange student from Denmark at Keillor's high school whom he famously reencountered at a class reunion), from 1985 to 1990.
  • To violinist Jenny Lind Nilsson (b. 1957), who is from his hometown of Anoka, since 1995. They have one daughter, Maia, born in December 1997.

Between his first and second marriages he was also romantically involved with Margaret Moos, who worked as a producer of A Prairie Home Companion.[6]

The Keillors maintain homes on the Upper West Side of New York City and in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

One of his brothers, the historian Steven Keillor, is also an author.

On September 7, 2009, Keillor was briefly hospitalized after suffering a minor stroke.[7]



Keillor has many noteworthy ancestors, including Joseph Crandall, who made progress in the studies of Native American languages and was also an associate of Roger Williams (who founded the first American Baptist church as well as Rhode Island), and Prudence Crandall (who founded the first African-American women's school in America).


Keillor in 2007


Garrison Keillor started his radio career in November 1969 with Minnesota Educational Radio (MER), now Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) and distributing programs under the American Public Media (APM) brand. He hosted The Morning Program in the weekday drive time slot of 6 to 9 a.m. on KSJR 90.1 FM at St. John's University in Collegeville, which the station called "A Prairie Home Entertainment." The show's eclectic music was a major divergence from the station's usual classical music format. During this time he also began submitting fiction to The New Yorker, where his first story, "Local Family Keeps Son Happy," appeared on September 19, 1970.[8]

Keillor resigned from The Morning Program in February 1971 to protest what he considered an attempt to interfere with his musical programming. The show became A Prairie Home Companion when he returned in October.[9]

Keillor has attributed the idea for the live Saturday night radio program to his 1973 assignment to write about the Grand Ole Opry for The New Yorker, but he had already begun showcasing local musicians on the morning show, despite limited studio space for them, and in August 1973 The Minneapolis Tribune reported MER's plans for a Saturday night version of A Prairie Home Companion with live musicians.[9][10]

Keillor doing a live radio broadcast in the rain.

A Prairie Home Companion debuted as an old-style variety show before a live audience on July 6, 1974, featuring guest musicians and a cadre cast doing musical numbers and comic skits replete with elaborate live sound effects. The show was punctuated by spoof commercial spots from such fictitious sponsors as Jack's Auto Repair ("All tracks lead to Jack's where the bright shining lights show you the way to complete satisfaction") and Powdermilk Biscuits, which "give shy persons the strength to get up and do what needs to be done."[9] Later imaginary sponsors have included Ralph's Pretty Good Grocery ("If you can't find it at Ralph's, you can probably get along without it"), Bertha's Kitty Boutique, the Ketchup Advisory Board[11] (which touted "the natural mellowing agents of ketchup"), the American Duct Tape Council, and Bebop-A-Reebop Rhubarb Pie ("sweetening the sour taste of failure through the generations"). The show also contains parodic serial melodramas, such as The Adventures of Guy Noir, Private Eye and The Lives of the Cowboys. After the show's intermission, Keillor reads clever and often humorous greetings to friends and family at home submitted by members of the theater audience in exchange for an honorarium.

Also in the second half of the show, the broadcasts showcase a weekly monologue by Keillor entitled The News from Lake Wobegon. The town is based in part on Keillor's own hometown of Anoka, Minnesota, and in part on Freeport and other towns in Stearns County, where he lived in the early 1970s.[12] Lake Wobegon is a quintessential but fictional Minnesotan small town "where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average." A Prairie Home Companion ran until 1987, when Keillor decided to end it; he worked on other projects, including another live radio program, "The American Radio Company of the Air"—which was virtually identical in format to A Prairie Home Companion—for several years. In 1993 he began producing A Prairie Home Companion again, in a format nearly identical to the original, and has done so since.[13] On A Prairie Home Companion, Keillor receives no billing or credit (except "written by Sarah Bellum," a joking reference to his own brain); his name is not mentioned unless a guest addresses him by his first name or the initials "G. K.," though some sketches feature Keillor as his alter ego, Carson Wyler.

A Prairie Home Companion regularly goes on the road and is broadcast live from popular venues around the United States, often featuring local celebrities and skits incorporating local color. Keillor also sometimes gives broadcast performances of a similar nature that don't carry the "Prairie Home Companion" brand, as in his 2008 appearance at the Oregon Bach Festival.[14]

Keillor is also the host of The Writer's Almanac which, like A Prairie Home Companion, is produced and distributed by American Public Media. The Writer's Almanac is also available online[15] and via daily e-mail installments by subscription.[16]


Garrison Keillor at the Miami Book Fair International of 1985

Keillor has written numerous magazine and newspaper articles, and over a dozen books for adults as well as children. In addition to The New Yorker, he has written for The Atlantic Monthly and

He also authored an advice column at under the name "Mr. Blue." Following a heart operation, he resigned on September 4, 2001, his last column titled "Every dog has his day":[17]

Illness offers the chance to think long thoughts about the future (praying that we yet have one, dear God), and so I have, and so this is the last column of Mr. Blue, under my authorship, for Salon. Over the years, Mr. Blue's strongest advice has come down on the side of freedom in our personal lives, freedom from crushing obligation and overwork and family expectations and the freedom to walk our own walk and be who we are. And some of the best letters have been addressed to younger readers trapped in jobs like steel suits, advising them to bust loose and go off and have an adventure. Some of the advisees have written back to inform Mr. Blue that the advice was taken and that the adventure changed their lives. This was gratifying. So now I am simply taking my own advice. Cut back on obligations: Promote a certain elegant looseness in life. Simple as that. Winter and spring, I almost capsized from work, and in the summer I had a week in St. Mary's Hospital to sit and think, and that's the result. Every dog has his day and I've had mine and given whatever advice was mine to give (and a little more). It was exhilarating to get the chance to be useful, which is always an issue for a writer (What good does fiction do?), and Mr. Blue was a way to be useful. Nothing human is beneath a writer's attention; the basic questions about how to attract a lover and what to do with one once you get one and how to deal with disappointment in marriage are the stuff that fiction is made from, so why not try to speak directly? And so I did. And now it's time to move on.

In 2004 Keillor published a collection of political essays called Homegrown Democrat, and in June 2005 he began a syndicated newspaper column called "The Old Scout," which often addresses political issues. That column also runs at

Keillor wrote the screenplay for the 2006 movie A Prairie Home Companion, directed by Robert Altman. (Keillor also appears in the movie.)


"Common Good Books, G. Keillor" in St. Paul.

On November 1, 2006, Keillor opened an independent bookstore in the historic Cathedral Hill area of Saint Paul, Minnesota. "Common Good Books, G. Keillor, Prop."[18] is located at the southwest corner of Selby and N. Western Avenues (in the Blair Arcade Building, Suite 14, in the basement, below Nina's Coffee Cafe). Cathedral Hill is in the Summit-University neighborhood.[19] The bookstore opening was covered by the St. Paul Pioneer Press.[20]

Awards and other recognition

  • In 1994, Keillor was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame.[21]
  • "Welcome to Minnesota" markers in interstate rest areas near the state's borders include statements such as "Like its neighbors, the thirty-second state grew as a collection of small farm communities, many settled by immigrants from Scandinavia and Germany. Two of the nation's favorite fictional small towns -- Sinclair Lewis's Gopher Prairie and Garrison Keillor's Lake Wobegon -- reflect that heritage."[22]
  • In 2007, The Moth, a NYC-based not-for-profit storytelling organization, awarded Garrison Keillor with the first The Moth Award - Honoring the Art of the Raconteur at the annual Moth Ball.[23]


In 2005, Keillor's attorneys sent a cease-and-desist letter to regarding their production of a T-Shirt bearing the inscription "A Prairie Ho Companion."[24]

In 2006, after a visit to a United Methodist Church in Highland Park, Texas, Keillor created a local controversy with his remarks about the event,[25] including the rhetorical suggestion of a connection between event attendees and supporters of torture and a statement creating an impression of political intimidation: "I walked in, was met by two burly security men ... and within 10 minutes was told by three people that this was the Bushes' church and that it would be better if I didn't talk about politics." The security detail is purportedly routine for the venue, and according to attendees Keillor did not interact with any audience members between his arrival and his lecture.[26] Before Keillor's remarks, participants in the event had considered the visit to have been cordial and warm.[27]

In 2007, Keillor wrote a column that in part criticized "stereotypical" gay parents, who he said were "sardonic fellows with fussy hair who live in over-decorated apartments with a striped sofa and a small weird dog and who worship campy performers."[28] In response to the strong reactions of many readers, Keillor said

I live in a small world -- the world of entertainment, musicians, writers -- in which gayness is as common as having brown eyes.... And in that small world, we talk openly and we kid each other a lot. But in the larger world, gayness is controversial...and so gay people feel besieged to some degree and rightly so.... My column spoke as we would speak in my small world and it was read by people in the larger world and thus the misunderstanding.[29]

In 2008, Keillor created a controversy in St. Paul when he filed a lawsuit against his neighbors' plans to build an addition on their home, citing his need for "light and air" and a view of "open space and beyond". Keillor's home is significantly larger than others in his neighborhood and would still be significantly larger than his neighbors' planned addition.[30] Keillor came to an undisclosed settlement with his neighbors shortly after the story became public.[31]

Voiceover work

Due to his distinctive voice, Keillor is often used as a voiceover actor. Some notable appearances include:

  • Voiceover artist for Honda UK's "the Power of Dreams" campaign. The campaign's most memorable advertisement is the 2003 Honda Accord commercial Cog, which features a Rube Goldberg Machine (W. Heath Robinson for those in the UK) made entirely of car parts. The commercial ends with Keillor asking, "Isn't it nice when things just work?"[32] Since then, Keillor has voiced the tagline for most if not all Honda UK advertisements, and even sang the voiceover in the 2004 Honda Diesel commercial "Grrr."[33] His most recent ad was a reworking of an existing commercial with digitally added England flags to tie in with the World Cup. Keillor's tagline was "Come on, England, keep the dream alive."
  • Voice of the Norse god Odin in an episode of the Disney animated series "Hercules."
  • Voice of Walt Whitman and other historical figures in Ken Burns's documentary series The Civil War.

Cultural references

His style, particularly his speaking voice, is often the subject of parody. The Simpsons parodies Keillor in an episode where Homer is shown watching a Keillor-like monologist on television, and upon hitting the set, exclaiming "Stupid TV! Be more funny!", which has become one of The Simpsons' oft-quoted catchphrases.[34]

One Boston radio critic likens Keillor and his "down comforter voice" to "a hypnotist intoning, 'You are getting sleepy now'," while noting that Keillor does play to listeners' intelligence.[35] Keillor rarely reads his monologue from a script.

In the bonus DVD material for the album Venue Songs by band They Might Be Giants, John Hodgman delivers a fictitious newscast in which he explains that "The Artist Formerly Known as Public Radio Host Garrison Keillor" and his "legacy of Midwestern pledge-drive funk" inspired the band's first "venue song."[36]

In the WB series Gilmore Girls, season 5, episode 18 "To Live and Let Diorama", Lane Kim is babbling at music store owner Sophie Bloom when Bloom interrupts saying "Oh My God Garrison Keillor, what is your point?!?".

Fellow Minnesotan, radio host, comedian, actor, and politician Al Franken, defending his decision to leave Minnesota for a career in show business, commented during a speech in February 2004 in Manchester, New Hampshire that "we can't all be Garrison Keillor."

Bret Easton Ellis references Keillor in the 1991 novel American Psycho, when the main character Patrick Bateman decides to flip through the latest hardcover he bought, "something by Garrison Keillor."[37]

Pennsylvanian singer-songwriter Tom Flannery wrote a song in 2003 entitled, "I Want a Job Like Garrison Keillor's."[38]


Keillor's work in print includes:

Lake Wobegon

  • Lake Wobegon Days (1985), ISBN 0-14-013161-2; a recorded version of this won a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word or Non-musical Album in 1988
  • Leaving Home (1987; collection of Lake Wobegon stories), ISBN 0-670-81976-X
  • We Are Still Married (1989; collection including some Lake Wobegon stories), ISBN 0-670-82647-2
  • Wobegon Boy (1997), ISBN 0-670-87807-3
  • Lake Wobegon Summer 1956 (2001), ISBN 0-571-21014-7
  • In Search of Lake Wobegon (Photographs by Richard Olsenius, 2001), ISBN 0-670-03057-6
  • Pontoon: A Novel of Lake Wobegon (2007), ISBN 0-670-06356-8
  • Liberty: A Novel of Lake Wobegon (2008), ISBN 0-670-01991-7
  • Life among the Lutherans (2009), ISBN 978-0-8066-7061-4
  • Pilgrims: A Wobegon Romance (2009), ISBN 978-0-6700-2109-3


  • Happy to be Here (1981), ISBN 0-06-811201-7
  • WLT: A Radio Romance, (1991), ISBN 0-670-81857-7
  • A Visit to Mark Twain's House audio (1992), ISBN 0-942110-82-X
  • The Book of Guys (1993), ISBN 0-670-84943-X
  • The Sandy Bottom Orchestra (with Jenny Lind Nilsson, 1996), ISBN 0-7868-1250-8
  • Me, by Jimmy "Big Boy" Valente (1999), ISBN 0-670-88796-X
  • Good Poems (2002), ISBN 0-670-03126-7
  • Love Me (2003), ISBN 0-670-03246-8
  • Homegrown Democrat (2004), ISBN 0-670-03365-0
  • Good Poems for Hard Times (2005), ISBN 0-670-03436-3
  • 77 Love Sonnets (2009), ISBN 0-143-11527-8
  • A Christmas Blizzard (2009), ISBN 978-0-670-02136-9

Contributions to The New Yorker

Title Department Volume/Part Date Page(s) Subject(s)
Notes and Comment The Talk of the Town 60/47 7 January 1985 17-18 A friend's visit to San Francisco and Stinson Beach, California.

See also


  1. ^ Where all the rooms are above average / Garrison Keillor's home not a little house on the prairie
  2. ^ Lands' End
  3. ^ Salon Books | Hot sex with the ex
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ Garrison Keillor
  7. ^ Walsh, Paul (2009-09-09), Minor stroke puts Keillor in hospital, Star Tribune,, retrieved 2009-09-09 
  8. ^ Lee, J. Y. Garrison Keillor: A Voice of America, pages 29-30. University Press of Mississippi, 1991.
  9. ^ a b c Garrison Keillor, page 30. University Press of Mississippi, 1991.
  10. ^ "Keillor to Quit Daily Show, Others Leave KSJN, Minneapolis Tribune, 1973-08-24, 14B.
  11. ^
  12. ^ Keillor, Garrison; Richard Olsenius (photographs) (2001). In Search of Lake Wobegon. New York: Viking Studio. pp. 12–13. ISBN 978-0-670-03037-6. 
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Oregon Bach Festival pressroom". Retrieved 2009-08-17. 
  15. ^ The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor | Analysis of Baseball by May Swenson
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^ Common Good Books, G. Keillor, Prop."
  19. ^ Summit-University
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^ Welcome to Minnesota - Minnesota Historical Markers on
  23. ^ The Moth - Annual Moth Ball
  24. ^ Sean Higgins on Garrison Keillor & Internet on National Review Online
  25. ^ The United Methodist Portal
  26. ^ Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Columnist Jacquielynn Floyd | Dallas-Fort Worth News
  27. ^ | Arts/Entertainment News and Events | Dallas-Fort Worth | The Dallas Morning News | Books
  28. ^ Family? Gender? Cowboys? I’ll tell you all about it, by Garrison Keillor - Chicago Tribune
  29. ^
  30. ^ Katherine Kersten » Blog Archive » Mr. Keillor’s Unneighborly Ways
  31. ^ Mediation ends Keillor's feud with neighbor
  32. ^
  33. ^ youtube Grr Commercial
  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^
  37. ^ American Psycho p.76
  38. ^ "I Want a Job Like Garrison Keillor" at
  • Keillor, Garrison. In search of Lake Wobegon. National Geographic. December 2000.
  • Lee, Judith Yaross. Garrison Keillor: A Voice of America. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1991. ISBN 978-0878054572.
  • "Lights! Camera! Retake!". Telegraph (2003). Retrieved 2005-06-07.

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Gentleness is everywhere in daily life, a sign that faith rules through ordinary things: through cooking and small talk, through storytelling, making love, fishing, tending animals and sweet corn and flowers, through sports, music and books, raising kids — all the places where the gravy soaks in and grace shines through.

Garrison Keillor (born 7 August 1942) is an American novelist, humorist, comedian, and public radio personality.



I believe in looking reality straight in the eye and denying it.
Jesus said the meek would inherit the earth, but so far all we've gotten is Minnesota and North Dakota.
If the government can round up someone and never be required to explain why, then it's no longer the United States of America as you and I always understood it. Our enemies have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. They have made us become like them.
  • God writes a lot of comedy, Donna; the trouble is, he's stuck with so many bad actors who don't know how to play funny.
    • Happy to be Here (1983), p. 259
  • Some luck lies in not getting what you thought you wanted but getting what you have, which once you have got it you may be smart enough to see is what you would have wanted had you known.
    • Lake Wobegon Days (1985), p. 337
  • Lake Wobegon, where smart doesn't count for so much. A minister has to be able to read a clock. At noon, it's time to go home and turn up the pot roast and get the peas out of the freezer.
    • Lake Wobegon Days (1985), p. 355
  • Thank you, dear God, for this good life and forgive us if we do not love it enough. Thank you for the rain. And for the chance to wake up in three hours and go fishing: I thank you for that now, because I won't feel so thankful then.
    • Leaving Home‎ (1987), p. 9
  • Selective ignorance, a cornerstone of child rearing. You don't put kids under surveillance: it might frighten you. Parents should sit tall in the saddle and look upon their troops with a noble and benevolent and extremely nearsighted gaze.
    • Leaving Home‎ (1987), p. 19
  • Nothing you do for children is ever wasted. They seem not to notice us, hovering, averting our eyes, and they seldom offer thanks, but what we do for them is never wasted.
    • Leaving Home‎ (1987), p. 20
  • A lovely thing about Christmas is that it's compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together.
    • Leaving Home‎ (1987), p. 184
  • It was luxuries like air conditioning that brought down the Roman Empire. With air conditioning their windows were shut, they couldn't hear the barbarians coming.
    • As quoted in Simpson's Contemporary Quotations‎ (1988) by James Beasley Simpson, p. 211
  • The funniest line in English is “Get it?” When you say that, everyone chortles.
    • We Are Still Married : Stories & Letters (1989), p. xvi
  • To know and to serve God, of course, is why we're here, a clear truth, that, like the nose on your face, is near at hand and easily discernible but can make you dizzy if you try to focus on it hard. But a little faith will see you through. What else will do except faith in such a cynical, corrupt time? When the country goes temporarily to the dogs, cats must learn to be circumspect, walk on fences, sleep in trees, and have faith that all this woofing is not the last word. What is the last word, then? Gentleness is everywhere in daily life, a sign that faith rules through ordinary things: through cooking and small talk, through storytelling, making love, fishing, tending animals and sweet corn and flowers, through sports, music and books, raising kids — all the places where the gravy soaks in and grace shines through. Even in a time of elephantine vanity and greed, one never has to look far to see the campfires of gentle people.
    • We Are Still Married : Stories & Letters (1989),, "The Meaning of Life", p. 217
  • To many Americans, whose only knowledge of the North Star State is that it is intensely cold and populated by Swedes and Holsteins, it will come as a surprise to wake up one morning in 2004 and read in the newspaper, "Half of U.S. Economy Now in Hands of Minnesota".
  • One day Donald Trump discovers that he is owned, lock, stock, and roulette wheel, by Lutheran Brotherhood, and must renegotiate his debt load with a committee of silent Norwegians who don't understand why anyone would pay more than $120 for a suit.
    • "Minnesota's Sensible Plan, TIME (11 September 1995)
  • Minnesota is a state of public-spirited and polite people, where you can get a good cappucino and eat Thai food and find any book you want and yet live on a quiet tree-lined street with a backyard and send your kids to public school. When a state this good hits the jackpot, it can only be an inspiration to everybody.
    • "Minnesota's Sensible Plan, TIME (11 September 1995)
  • Cats are intended to teach us that not everything in nature has a purpose.
    • As quoted in The Cat Lover's Book of Fascinating Facts : A Felicitous Look at Felines‎ (1997) by Ed Lucaire
  • I believe in looking reality straight in the eye and denying it.
    • As quoted in Precision Shooting : The Trapshooter's Bible‎ (1998) by James Russell, p. 54
  • Where I'm from we don't trust paper. Wealth is what's here on the premises. If I open a cupboard and see, say, thirty cans of tomato sauce and a five-pound bag of rice, I get a little thrill of well-being — much more so than if I take a look at the quarterly dividend report from my mutual fund.
    • As quoted in The Times Book of Quotations (2000), p. 384
  • The party of Lincoln and Liberty was transmogrified into the party of hairy-backed swamp developers and corporate shills, faith-based economists, fundamentalist bullies with Bibles, Christians of convenience, freelance racists, misanthropic frat boys, shrieking midgets of AM radio, tax cheats, nihilists in golf pants, brownshirts in pinstripes, sweatshop tycoons, hacks, fakirs, aggressive dorks, Lamborghini libertarians, people who believe Neil Armstrong's moonwalk was filmed in Roswell, New Mexico, little honkers out to diminish the rest of us, Newt's evil spawn and their Etch-A-Sketch president, a dull and rigid man suspicious of the free flow of information and of secular institutions, whose philosophy is a jumble of badly sutured body parts trying to walk.
  • Well, they're taking kids out of the country and sending them over there, National Guard kids and Army Reserve. They're sending kids who are barely prepared for this, and they're sending them over there to kill people, which is a serious thing. And to kill not terrorists, but to kill insurgents. I sort of find myself in agreement, uncomfortably, with Patrick Buchanan, who writes about this in his book, Where The Right Went Wrong. And writes that great powers, the way they skidded off the road, was getting involved in wars. That it's the role of great powers to stay out of wars.
  • To the cheater, there is no such thing as honesty, and to Republicans the idea of serving the public good is counterfeit on the face of it — they never felt such an urge, and therefore it must not exist.
    • Homegrown Democrat : A Few Plain Thoughts From the Heart of America (2004), p. 78
  • Journalism is a good place for any writer to start — the retailing of fact is always a useful trade and can it help you learn to appreciate the declarative sentence. A young writer is easily tempted by the allusive and ethereal and ironic and reflective, but the declarative is at the bottom of most good writing.
  • There is almost no marital problem that can't be helped enormously by taking off your clothes.
    • "The Old Scout" in The Writer's Almanac (4 October 2005)
  • I think the most un-American thing you can say is, “You can't say that.”
    • As quoted in The Nastiest Things Ever Said About Democrats (2006) by Martin Higgins, p. 171, and The Nastiest Things Ever Said About Republicans (2006) by Martin Higgins, p. 204
  • If the government can round up someone and never be required to explain why, then it's no longer the United States of America as you and I always understood it. Our enemies have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. They have made us become like them.
    • "Congress's Shameful Retreat From American Values" in The Chicago Tribune (4 October 2006)
  • If you can't trust a Methodist with absolute power to arrest people and not have to say why, then whom can you trust?
    • "Congress's Shameful Retreat From American Values" in The Chicago Tribune (4 October 2006)

A Prairie Home Companion

That's the news from Lake Wobegon, where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.
6 July 1974 – 13 June 1987, and November 1989 - present
  • I want to resume the life of a shy person.
    • Announcing he was leaving the show, the first run ending in June 1987 (14 February 1987)
  • Librarians, Dusty, possess a vast store of politeness. These are people who get asked regularly the dumbest questions on God's green earth. These people tolerate every kind of crank and eccentric and mouth-breather there is.
    • "Cowboy Librarians" (13 December 1997)

News from Lake Wobegon

"News from Lake Wobegon" is a monologue segment which is heard in the second hour of every performance of "A Prairie Home Companion". The intro and close are nearly always the same:
  • It's been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon, my home town, out on the edge of the prairie...
  • That's the news from Lake Wobegon, where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.

The Writer's Almanac

The Writer's Almanac
  • Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.


  • Beauty isn't worth thinking about; what's important is your mind. You don't want a fifty-dollar haircut on a fifty-cent head.
  • I love sweet corn. It truly is better than sex! I'm not lying! All across the Midwest tonight, a husband and wife will finish what husbands and wives do, and the wife will ask the husband: "How was that?" And, if the man is honest, he'll say "Well, it wasn't sweet corn, but it was nice." It's a fact! Sweet corn is better than sex!...fresh sweet corn!...Store bought sweet corn, yes, sex is definitely better than that!
  • Intelligence is like four-wheel drive. It only allows you to get stuck in more remote places.
  • People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know?
  • You'd learn more about the world by lying on the couch and drinking gin out of a bottle than by watching the news.
  • If you give your child a vice, why not give it one that will get it through medical school?


  • Going to church no more makes you a Christian than standing in a garage makes you a car.
    • Though Keillor has been quoted on the internet and in print as having made this or a similar remark, such expressions have been made by others, and may have originated with Billy Sunday, who is quoted as having said "Going to church on Sunday does not make you a Christian any more than going into a garage makes you an automobile!" in Press, Radio, Television, Periodicals, Public Relations, and Advertising, As Seen through Institutes and Special Occasions of the Henry W. Grady School of Journalism (1967) edited by John Eldridge Drewry.
  • A book is a gift you can open again and again.
    • Attributed to Keillor in The Miracle of Language‎ (1999) by Richard Lederer, p. 149, this statement also appears in What‎? (1988) by Ronald Silliman, p. 28:
A book is a gift you can open again and again especially when you're writing it yourself.

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