(IN LONGER MUSIC PIECE, FADE)
Garrison Keillor: Every year we get a few notes from kids who ask if there really is a Santa Claus and our only answer is to invite him on the show to speak for himself. Mr. Claus, welcome.
Tim Russell: Thank you. Are we on now? (TAPS MIKE) Is this on?
GK: Yes, it is. You look well, Santa. A little thinner.
TR: I've been working out.
GK: Why is it that so many children don't believe in you, Santa?
TR: For one thing, it's because of that stupid Easter bunny crap. And the tooth fairy. Every kid knows, there's no such thing. The Easter bunny is a big load of horsefeathers. So when people have been lied to, they start to doubt that I exist. Also, I think the whole weapons of mass destruction business hurt us.
GK: I guess kids wonder, how can he go around to all those houses and get down the chimneys when a lot of houses, and a lot of apartments, don't have chimneys or fireplaces.
TR: Well, it's not that hard to understand if you read up on the space/time continuum, the transfer of matter, just basic physics -- it takes some integral calculus but it's not beyond understanding. Come on. Do the work. Figure it out. The chimney is a metaphor. It has very little to do with chimneys. It has to do with physics.
GK: Well, I'm sure that once people enjoy Christmas, they'll start to believe in you again.
TR: I'm not counting on it.
GK: Are you okay?
TR: Of course I'm okay.
GK: Well, you don't seem all that jolly. I don't know--
TR: That's a stereotype that I am not particularly interested in. That whole jolliness thing.
GK: Well, we're talking about expectations--
TR: People think I go around chuckling all the time. People think I'm fat. I'm not. How can I make that clearer? Does this look like a bowlful of jelly? Huh? Does it?
GK: No, it doesn't.
TR: Hit me. Go ahead. Hit me in the stomach. Go ahead.
GK: I can't hit Santa Claus.
TR: Hit me. There's no jelly there. Look. I'm running a multi-trillion dollar operation. I've got a job to do, I don't have time to ho-ho-ho. Tell me a joke and I'll ho-ho-ho-- if it's funny.
GK: How about this one? Did you hear about the dyslexic devil worshipper who sold his soul to Santa?
TR: I don't get it.
GK: How about-- Santa is so jolly because he knows where all the bad girls live.
TR: Not funny.
GK: What do you call Santa's helpers? Subordinate clauses.
GK: What's Santa's helpers union called? The A. F. of Elves.
TR: I've heard that.
GK: What does Santa like to do in his garden? He likes to hoe, hoe, hoe.
TR: I've heard that, too.
GK: Well, have a nice trip back to the North Pole. Or wherever your final destination may be.
TR: Let's not get into that, okay?
GK: Okay. Thank you, Santa Claus.
(MUSIC BACK UP)
(MUSIC FADE FOR)
GK: At this holy time of year, (TR CHANTING, DINGING OF SMALL BELL) it's a great honor to welcome a special visitor: Pope Benedict XVI, who is being borne out onto our stage in a sedan chair carried by the Swiss Guards (FN & TR YODEL) who are setting him down now -- look out for that speaker there-- (KONK, OUTBURST OF GERMAN) -- sorry. Right over here, Holy Father. The microphone is right here. There you are.
TR: (GERMAN) Grace and peace and a great abundance of listeners to you and may shame be laid at the feet of whoever put that loudspeaker there. (MUTTERED GERMAN) .
GK: Welcome to our show and a Merry and Blessed Christmas to you, Holy Father.
TR: (GERMAN) Thank you. I'm glad you didn't say "Happy Holidays", or "Best Wishes at this Joyous Season", or any of that other (GERMAN CONTEMPT).
GK: Yes, sir.
TR (GERMAN): Saint Nicholas is a Christian Saint, he is not some fat man in a red suit. The name comes from the Dutch "Sinterklass". So you're all just mispronouncing it. Learn a language, people. I dare you. You might smarten up a little. (GERMAN ADAGE) Know what that means? No, you don't.
GK: What does it mean?
TR: (GERMAN) It means, Do the right thing or no sugar cookies for you, little Heinrich. (GERMAN ADAGE) When I was young, we didn't get mountains of presents for sitting around and doing nothing. If we were lucky, we got some candy in a boot. We got a little (GERMAN), we got some (GERMAN), and that was it. Ausgeschloss.
GK: I see.
TR: (GERMAN) And if you were bad, there were consequences. Children were not allowed to run wild and go around with the little (GERMAN) -- on their heads-- the little (GERMAN)--
TR: (GERMAN) The little ich-Pods. If children were bad, they faced the wrath of Knecht Ruprecht. He would come and beat on you with a stick. He would take you by your ear and shake you-- (HE IMITATES A CHILD BEING SHAKEN) -- he would take you off to the Black Forest, and you might never come back. Are you listening to me?
GK: I am, yes.
TR: (GERMAN) And so I would like to remind people to behave in a correct manner. Otherwise, Knecht Ruprecht will come get you.
GK: Okay. Thank you for coming
TR: (GERMAN) May you enjoy Christmas as God intended: with fear in your hearts.
GK: That's Pope Benedict XVI. Thank you so much for coming.
(MUSIC BACK UP TO FINISH)