Culture Who is the modern-day Mark Twain? Eric Ringham April 13, 2010, 5:00 AM Apr 13, 2010 39 comments Next week marks the hundredth anniversary of the death of the beloved American writer and humorist Mark Twain. Today’s Question: Who is the modern-day Mark Twain? ‹ Older Now that Target Field is built, are you glad we have it? Newer › What surprises did you find on your taxes this year? Browse by category Education Health Economy Politics/Government Culture Religion/Ethics Science/Technology Transportation Race/Gender Environment/Energy Security International affairs Immigration Media Military About the blogger Eric Ringham firstname.lastname@example.org Don Garrison Keillor Steven When I heard the question, I immediately thought of Stephen Colbert and John Stewart. There’s a big difference, though. Samuel Clemens wrote all his own material. Tim Goetsch Garrison Keillor tries to be Mark Twain, right down to the white suit and red socks. He comes close. But, outside of Minnesota, more people say the late Richard Prior. John Lady Gaga Al Peter Smith Steve B Garrison … not just for PHC, but also for his books, online and print columns. Nancy Harp Garrison, of course!!!! Steve If Garrison is the new Mark Twain, no wonder we are Prozac nation! Garrison is trying to make us all as miserable as he is. Joe Schaedler At first I thought Jon Stewart, but Stephen Colbert should get the title. While Stewart is an excellent everyman critic of the present-day world, Colbert personally transforms himself into his alter-ego to satirize it in the most compelling way available today. Cindy Lovell Although I LOVE GK, I’d have to say that today’s Twain resides in the collective heart and soul of Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Bill Maher, and even Keith Olbermann. Twain’s weapons of satire may well have been his greatest legacy, and these gentlemen, especially the first three, are no slouches in the satire department. Gordy Hoke As a novelist, I nominate Christopher Moore, especially for his willingness to address religious themes. But as a story teller and public speaker, the heir to Mark Twain is Kevin Kling. Steve Borgstrom Garrison Keilor of course… He pokes gentle fun where it is indicated and goes after the greedy and stupid with both barrels. But he does it so eloquently they often don’t know they are being blasted… 🙂 Corwin John Stewart Sandy Garrison Keillor! Love him! Hannah K Paul Auster, for the subtle humor, or Brian Jacques, for narrative genius. Steve I’ve been saying for years that Garrison Keillor is our era’s Mark Twain. CC&H Steve is EXACTLY right! YIKES! Lacey A Kurt Vonnegut. Satirical, funny, important, relevant. Paul Julien, La Crosse WI Scott Adams, the creator of the Dilbert cartoon, for the cartoon content. Jeri Kerns Garrison; but ah if Molly Ivans had lived longer—- Sue de Nim I love Garrison Keilor, but he’s too regional, and nothing he’s written so far seems destined to become the kind of American classic that Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer are. Corinne Eckhardt It would have to be a someone with a sense of humor, political commentator, a lot of guts, able to travel and speak, have suffered poverty and of course write some great stuff. Garrison Keillor is a very good choice. Fred Marx Homeboy Garrison should be considered, of course. I’d like to stir the pot by submitting Dave Barry. His weekly Miami Herald columns and some-30 books highlight his wit and wisdom. Were Twain alive today, I think he’d be reading Barry. Jeff There is no contest: Jon Stewart. Mike Kurt Vonnegut Gary Dombouy David Foster Wallace, from The Broom of the System to Infinite Jest, a master of humor and observation of contemporary America! Gary Dombouy David Foster Wallace–but if you mean someone living, it’s Philip Roth first and T. Coraghessan Boyle second Steve Keillor. No question. Dan Carl Hiaasen – far more humorous and pertinent than Keillor David I would nominate Kurt Vonnegut. Like Twain he is a champion satirist. Vonnegut even looked like Twain–something he cultivated. Kyla C How about Jon Stewart? Bill Haverberg We need to consider who would have the great national scope Twain once had, and has had the most influence. While Keillor fits the bill within the public radio population, I can’t imagine someone at a truckstop (or even here at work) saying “Did you hear what Garrison Keiller said yesterday?” By that test, for our parents it was Johnny Carson, and in our youth Letterman, Leno, and Saturday Night Live during a good year. With our divided population, it has to be Limbaugh on the right, Stewart & Colbert on the left, and that red-headed guy Leno bumped who will someday return to us. Gary H Though he is no longer with us, Kurt Vonnegut was Twain’s successor until his death on April 11, 2007. Like Twain, Vonnegut was a brilliant American satirist, writer and humorist, with a great love for this country. Both men were atheists/agnostics (take your pick — there is evidence for both) who advocated Christian ideals while excoriating (with humor) religiosity and hypocrisy. Vonnegut called Twain “an American saint” and named his first child, Mark, after him. As to a successor to Vonnegut, I see none yet, which is unfortunate for us all and for the country. DNA Many of the already mentioned are great…if Terence McKenna was still in corporeal form I’d give him my vote…although he spoke more in the form of the exacting truth, see: Terence McKenna — Global Perspectives & Psychedelic Poetics http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TotFy1QeBsc&feature=PlayList&p=39D8A38BB0F72A99&playnext_from=PL&index=1&playnext=10 and Terence Mckenna – Prague Gnosis http://entheovox.org/praguegnosis.html and http://www.youtube.com/watch? and Terence McKenna C2C v=3evp2nHJ8_Y&feature=PlayList&p=69AD73E950FA3655&playnext_from=PL&index=0&playnext=1 Mathew Was Mark Twain also unable to sing? Lane David Sedaris comments sent to MPR Comments texted to MPR at 677-677: John Stewart. -Molly, St. Paul Garrison no doubt. -Tim Jones Kurt Vonnegut. -Zoran, Minneapolis Garrison Keillor. -Eileen Minnetonka The modern Mark Twain has to be John Stewart. -Valerie Carlson, Ely David Sedaris could be considered a modern day Mark Twain. -Patty, St. Paul George Carlin -Kevin, Plymouth Tina Fey is modern day Twain. She can do pointed political and popular Alec Baldwin humor. -Andy, Dodge Center David Sedaris. -Amanda Duluth, MN Douglas Coupland. -anonymous Roland Smith! -anonymous Hunter Thompson. -anonymous DK Bob Dylan, Nuff said. Bryan Al Franken would have my vote. His satire is legendary.