“A Prairie Home Companion” host Garrison Keillor doesn’t step down until July, but he already is looking ahead to retirement.
Keillor was interviewed by fellow Minnesotan Poppy Harlow on CNN’s “Newsroom Weekend.” The segment, posted online Saturday, included exchanges while the two sat on stage and walked around New York City along with highlights of Keillor’s performances.
Asked what his “chapter No. 2” will be, Keillor responded: “I’ll sit at home and type. … I’m going to rediscover lunch. I’m going to rediscover weekends.”
In looking back at his 40-plus years of the radio show, Keillor summed it up this way. “Lake Wobegon is kind of a stage impersonation of what my people did naturally. But you know, they kept repeating the same stories over and over again, and I can’t do that.”
Other highlights of Keillor’s interview, which you can watch here:
What was he most proud of in his career? “Persistence. Persistence. That’s the key.”
But was it the career he was meant for? “My real calling was to be a bus driver.”
His most proud professional experience? “I think meeting Chet Atkins,” whom he called “the king of the guitar.” It was “the first compliment that really struck home for me,” Keillor added.
Reacting to his brother’s assessment, reported by Time magazine, that Keillor wasn’t much of a performer when young, Keillor said: “I am not a performer. I never, never was, never could be.”
Reacting to being called “the shock jock of wholesomeness” by Slate, Keillor hummed and said, “I don’t know what that means.”
Reacting to comparisons of his storytelling to Mark Twain’s: “Well, he wrote ‘Huckleberry Finn,’ you know, and I didn’t. There’s one difference.
Pressed further by Harlow if he aspired to be like Twain, Keillor said, “Well, I aspired to be a novelist. And, so, I went down that road and then I got sidetracked on to radio.”
Asked how he measure success, Keillor gave a longer explanation: “Success is when you get up early in the morning and you feel ambitious, and you go and you sit down at your computer with a cup of coffee and you’re still in your pajamas and there is something you urgently want to do. And that’s, that’s the good life. Work.”