Garrison Keillor leaves his ‘Prairie Home’ after 42 years

Garrison Keillor used his introduction to the showtune Friendship as a telling explanation for why he has devoted himself to the radio variety show A Prairie Home Companion for the past 42 years.

“Friendship, I believe in that,” the self-effacing Keillor, 73, told the crowd at Hollywood Bowl Friday night. “That was the whole reason for starting a radio show — it was to get to meet people if you had no social skills. And people would walk up to you and say, ‘I heard you on the radio.’ This was the beginning of a conversation that would lead in all sorts of interesting directions.”

Keillor’s decades-spanning conversation came to an end as he hosted his final Prairie Home in front of a packed house of 18,000 fans for a show that aired Saturday.

Fittingly, this final conversation led in all sorts of interesting directions, too.

Prairie Home is normally performed live to radio, but Keillor said the pre-taping was necessary because the Southern California summer sun “does not allow matinees.” He mentioned offhand that President Obama had called for a “little conversation” before the taping, which was heard only on the Saturday broadcast.

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