The night Garrison Keillor consoled a grieving state


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.”

Unfortunately, it’s only available online as RealAudio (the dominant audio player 10 years ago), but if anything can make you reinstall it, this segment is it.