Garrison Keillor’s Final ‘A Prairie Home Companion’ Aired on Saturday

Photo: Chelsea Lauren/2013 Chelsea Lauren

On Saturday the news from Lake Wobegon — the town on the edge of the prairie where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average — was that Garrison Keillor, 73, hosted his last “A Prairie Home Companion.” The final episode was taped in front of 18,000 fans on Friday at the Hollywood Bowl (with a special call-in segment from President Obama recorded separately) and aired on NPR member stations during its usual Saturday time slot. True to his humble heartland persona, the host ended his 42-year career with few of the bells and whistles big-city folks might expect, but instead with a variety show that stuck to the basic formula of story telling, comedy sketches and folk music that he’s been using for decades.

However, Keillor didn’t go quietly into the night — the show ended with an encore all-Americana sing-along with folk songs, traditional spirituals and even an Elvis hit (listen to the medley below). Though this was Keillor’s goodbye to the program’s three-million weekly listeners, the show will return in October with a tweaked format and a new host, Chris Thile.  

Garrison Keillor’s Final Bow on ‘Prairie Home’