The night Garrison Keillor consoled a grieving state

This is a NewsCut post I originally wrote on this date a year ago. I’m reposting it here — besides the fact it’s the anniversary of the death of Paul Wellstone — because the audio has finally been rescued from the clutches of the antiquated RealAudio format and put into one that people of the 21st century can use.

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Ten years ago tomorrow night, Garrison Keillor had the most unenviable job in Minnesota.

In the wake of the plane crash 10 years ago today that killed Sen. Paul Wellstone and seven others, Keillor had to start his show with its usual comic personality at a time that was decidedly unfunny.

Wellstone was dead, the state was reeling, a memorial service hadn’t yet divided the state, and in many ways, Keillor had the task of being Minnesota’s consoler-in-chief.

The lights dimmed. The audience waited. The usual show open didn’t happen, at least in its usual spot. Instead, Keillor and his cast rose to the occasion as Guy Noire, private eye. He provided some laughs, and then reduced us all to tears.

“I’m not here to do a eulogy or a memorial.” he said after the bit. “The guy already has a city named after him right here.”

  1. Listen Garrison Keillor opening skit about the death of Paul Wellstone

    October 26, 2002

(h/t: Michael Wells)