Garrison Keillor: Our joke show comes as an Arctic cold front moves into Minnesota (BLIZZARD) and cars are frozen tight (SLOW STARTER) and food supplies are dwindling. People are living off stuff that's been in the fridge for years, pickled watermelon and herring and cheese logs and fruitcake. Or - (MEOW). People are looking at their pets in a different way. (WIND, OUTSIDE. PEN ON PAPER)

Tim Russell (WRITING): My darling, today we ate the last of our water chestnuts, and now -- though I dread the thought -- we've found a baking dish that is just the right size for Muffy. I'm so glad I got to see you there in San Luis Obispo last fall. I wish you well. I have no regrets. We decided to live in Minnesota because it's a cultural mecca. If we survive until March, we have tickets to see "Death of a Salesman". And the Mozart Requiem. I must go now and chop up the dining room table for fuel. Take care--

GK: What makes this cold snap harder is the fact that December was unseasonably warm and it set in motion a denial process and people imagined they were living in Tennessee or Iowa, and then-- (BEAR) the bear broke into their house. (BEAR ROARING) He ate all the jelly and honey (BEAR EATING) and cleaned out the cheese drawer (EATING). He was horrible. (BEAR SNARL) And then he was very pleasant. (BEAR CHUCKLING) And then he was horrible. (BEAR SNARL) He was a bipolar bear. Canadians invaded from the north (VOICES) and they organized discussion groups and book clubs. They tried to get people to go out doors and go skiing.
TR: Come on, hey? It ain't that cold out, hey. Winter is supposed to be about skiing and about skating and about having a good time, that's what winter's about.

GK: People went into hiding. The airport closed.

Sue Scott: Shampoo, toothpaste, hairsprays or gells -- take them out of the clear plastic bags and go home. The airport is closed. Three One One. March 11th. That's when we reopen.
GK: And schools started closing - schools never used to close for cold weather, not back in my day - we kids'd tune in the radio in the morning for the school closings and instead we'd hear a message from the Governor.

TR (JOWLY): This is Governor Anderson speaking to you from the State Capitol. I am calling on all Minnesota girls and boys to put on your warm mackinaws and your overshoes and go to school. Our state's future depends on you kids learning to use the English language and to write grammatical sentences and to express yourselves clearly and persuasively. Forget about math. It's not important. You need to learn to write stories and poems. And so I have ordered the National Guard to go door to door to make sure that nobody is playing possum. Any child who claims to be sick and is not will be sent to Stillwater Prison. Go to school. It's the law. This is the Governor speaking to you from the State Capitol.

GK: That was then, and this is how it is now.

TR (KID, WHINING): Mom, it's so cold. The air hurts my nose. I don't feel good. I'm so tired. I want to stay in bed and listen to music. Bring me some pizza.

SS: Here, honey. Here's a pizza.

TR (KID, WHINING): That's sausage pizza. I hate sausage pizza. Why not pepperoni?

SS: Sausage is all we have left, honey. Daddy went to the store to get more.

TR (KID, WHINING): Well, why doesn't he hurry up?

SS: He had to go on skis, honey, and there are bears out there. And Daddy's a liberal so he has no idea how to use a gun. All he has for self-defense is a sparkler and a squirtgun.

TR (KID): Call him on the cellphone and make sure he buys pepperoni.

SS: The bears took the cellphone when they cleaned out the refrigerator, honey. (PHONE RING) Oh maybe that's Daddy. (PICKUP) Hello? (BEAR ROAR AT OTHER END)


GK: Winter didn't used to be like this. Our hardy ancestors (SWEDISH) would go out into the frigid Arctic wind (BLIZZARD) just to get a newspaper and a tin of chewing tobacco, just to show they could do it. (TR SWEDISH AND SPIT) They might even cut a hole in the ice (SAWING) and take off all their clothes and (TR SWEDISH RESOLVE AND SPLASH OF WATER) dive into the freezing water, just to show they could. And then to keep up their circulation they would whip each other with the branches of trees. (TK AND TR TAKING TURNS, LASHING, REACTING) What's happened to that pioneer spirit? It's mostly gone. Now people sit in their homes and-- (TAPPING ON KEYS)

SS: Hi-- whassup? Cool. LOL. ROFL. ROFLMAO.


SS: My screen froze! What do I do?

GK: Screens are freezing all over Minneapolis and St. Paul. Chinese takeout is no longer available. (TR CHINESE, SHIVERING) The malls are closed. (POUNDING ON DOOR)

Tom Keith: Open up! I need a venti 2% latte!!! Please!!!

GK: No more latte. Just cafe coffee.

SS (WAITRESS): Warm that up for you, Earl?

TR (MINN): Go ahead, Myrt.

SS: You don't take cream, do you?

TR: You know me better than that, Myrt.

SS: Oh yeah. It's your brother who takes cream.

TR: My brother in Florida.

SS: I see the airlines got cheap flights now to Miami Beach.

TR: Why would anybody want to go there?

SS: I donno. Curiosity.

TR: If you're curious, go look at a magazine, that's what I say.

SS: You ever been to Florida?

TR: Why would I want to go there?

SS: It's warm there.

TR: If you're cold, put on a sweater.

SS: I've got two on already.

TR: Put on a sweater and have some coffee. And tell a joke.

SS: Tell a joke?

TR: What do you get from sitting too long on the ice? Huh? What do you get from sitting too long on the ice? You get polaroids. Get it? Polaroids. (HE WHEEZES) Lighten up, Myrt. Polaroids.

GK: And so, our Joke Show. Because it's cold.