The Midwest Comes South: An Evening with Garrison Keillor


Garrison Keillor is best known for his Prairie Home Companion, but he occasionally goes on the road without his entourage.  Even solo, he is quite the entertainer.

Keillor stopped n Houston on Wednesday, January 27th, and he spent a wonderful two hours discussing his background, his career, and all the while telling wonderful stories, singing the occasional song, and telling jokes.

Although Keillor has written for The New Yorker, he is best known for his midwestern musings, discussing the qualities that make up middle America: religion, literature, and family life.  Central to his stories is “Lake Wobegon,” a fictional place where all the women are strong, the men are good-looking, and the kids are above average.”

Among his songs, jokes and tales, our favorites:

  • Song: The Ballad of Sergeant Musgrave
  • Jokes:
    • Where do you find a dog with no legs?  Right where you left him.
  • Tales: Several tales, really, involving his aunts and uncles.  The wedding tale involved a duck decoy that doubled as a duck-blind; a naked para-sailor; a poorly-dressed lover named Raul; Babe Ruth’s last home-run ball; and a car wreck by the prospective bride and groom.

Keillor closed the evening to the strains of “Red River Valley” and “Goodnight Irene.”

Following the event, Keillor signed books and other memorabilia.  He spent much time with individuals.  Rather than have the line come to him, he would sign and then move himself to the next person, even going up the stairs of Jones Hall.


To Ryan Brim, who is in a quest for the right college, Keillor offered: “You’ll never need math.”  Following a couple of minutes of conversation, Keillor signed Ryan’s book, “Lighten up, Ryan.”