Chris Thile is set to fill Garrison Keillor’s shoes as the host of A Prairie Home Companion, the faithful fans (of which I am one) have voiced some uncertainty as to how it would work. The show has long been a real musical variety show. The music has been truly live, and truly good for as long as I can remember, but the corny skits and melodramatic radio reenactments are the real draw. APHC is a throwback to the days before tv, and it takes a certain kind of talent to pull it off.
Thile was the guest host on the show yesterday, and it seems the agenda was to remove all doubt. If it’s possible, I think the show might be about to get even better. Thile is a natural raconteur, and is nearly always the best musician in the room. Yesterday’s show as as entertaining as I’ve heard from my favorite NPR show. Thile was spot on the mark with everything from the Professional Society of English Majors, to this song about Peyton Manning, in anticipation of today’s Superbowl. The jokes leading up to the song were as good or better than the song itself, and the song is genius. Don’t take this as a sign that I’m rooting for the Broncos, I’m not. But I will never hear “Omaha!” in quite the same way again.