Update (7/1/2016): The final Keillor-hosted APHC goes down Friday, July 1, 2016 in Hollywood. We reached out to Brace Belden, the creator of the petition, for comment. Here's what he had to say:
"My god. Looking back, it seems like the past 26 years of my life have been spent not in anxious misery or secluded onanism, but waiting for this very moment. My son, who I've forbidden from consuming any form of media or speaking to anyone over 40 in fear he'll be drawn into the corrupt depths of Lake Wobegon, will finally be free to learn to read and speak a language besides Esperanto. This is truly the "a-ha" moment this troubled millennial has been waiting for. Truly, nothing is impossible."
In Brett Favre-like fashion, Garrison Keillor, 73, has been teasing his retirement from A Prairie Home Companion since 2011.
Mercifully, Keillor announced his concrete departure plans back in July, tabbing Chris Thile of the Punch Brothers as his successor. For some, Keillor's absence from almost 700 public radio stations will be a great cultural loss, the permanent sign off of an old, comforting friend. For others, and count me among them, the labored sighs of the Minnesota-born radio icon can't exit the airwaves fast enough.
For Brace Belden of San Francisco, however, the swift and complete death of APHC is of the utmost importance. That's why last month he created a petition — Cancel Goddam Prairie Home Companion — on Change.org, one that seeks the destruction of that "dumb boring show that forces millions of radio listeners under 60 to turn off their radios whenever that stupid old guy starts his rambling crap."
Written to "NPR, President Barack Obama, Congress I Guess," the petition has only attracted 225 supporters, but might get a bump from alt-weekly Willamette Week. Last week, ahead of APHC's tour stop at the Oregon Zoo, the Portland-based publication invited Belden to share his fiery contempt for Keillor.
Here is just a snippet of Belden's impassioned anti-Keillor tirade:
"I could spend the rest of my shitty life listening to A Prairie Home Companion and walk through death’s fucking doors not knowing a thing. The show is an abomination — an entire hour of nothing but one man’s insane, repulsive fantasy. 'News from Lake Wobegon.' My God. What a nightmare. It’s inoffensive, it’s bland, it’s plodding. You can feel the wrinkles growing and the blood draining out of your dick. It’s a radio show for guys who married their high-school sweethearts. Model train music. He stretches that hour into eternity. There is absolutely a hell, and it’s in Minnesota, and its demon king is fucking Keillor."
Yowza! We recommend checking out the rest of WW's chat with Belden if you're anywhere near that level of dissatisfied by folksy, self-satisfied musings on powdermilk biscuits and blindingly white church basements.
While we're on the oft-neglected (at least locally) subject of APHC being tediously unfunny, let us remember these classic critiques. First, this Simpsons bit from 1993:
And here's a tremendous Onion photo caption from earlier this year:
Garrison Keillor Fully Deflates After Massive Sigh pic.twitter.com/fACpstPtcT