GK: The Art of Storytelling. A true story.

FN: Hey. I'm sorry to bother you, I know you're busy, you're on your way somewhere, but this'll just take a minute and I feel really really bad about saying this but I used to do sound effects on the radio and I was doing really well, I used to be on "A Prairie Home Companion" and I did all the ---- you know ---- the animals, the (PIG) and the (MOO) and the (WHINNY) and the (BIRD SHRIEK) ---- that was a shrike ---- this is a curlew (SFX) and this is the condor (SFX) ---- anyway, I was earning really good money and then one day---- (BIG EXPLOSION) it all just blew up in my face ------ I was going to do a dolphin but instead out came this torrent of words at high speed (FAST FORWARD TALK, UNINTELLIGIBLE) and when they slowed it down, they discovered I had said every word of profanity in English, and I was fired and the next day (SIREN) I was hit by a car and then (SNARLING) attacked by a neighbor's dog and then I went hiking in the woods and (ROAR) a bear came after me and I had a gun and (GUNSHOT, CRY OF PAIN) I shot myself in the foot. It's been one thing after another and (WEEPY) I just feel so bad asking this but I need to get to Weehawken, N.J., to start a job delivering pizza on a bicycle (BEEPS) and I need $28 for a bus ticket and I already have twelve so I just need $16 more. Could you help? Please. I hate to ask.

GK: New York is a city of many stories and we get to hear them because we're pedestrians. In Minnesota, we just see someone by the freeway ramp holding up a cardboard sign that says "Homeless. Need A Job. God Bless You." And you're going 35 mph and there are cars right behind you and you don't stop. In New York, the storyteller sees you coming and stands in your path and the light turns red so you have to listen.

RD: Sorry---- I don't mean to bother you but I saw you here and ---- it's like this----- I used to play piano on the radio but all I really wanted to do was dance and then I saw this ad for "Gentleman Escorts Wanted On Norwegian Cruise Lines ---- must have tuxedo and be willing to travel and be able to dance two-step, waltz, rhumba, and polka with unaccompanied women passengers. Only men of high moral character need apply." So I sold my piano and I headed for the ship and then I realized that the guy I sold the piano to ---- he was a guy I met in the bus station ---- he had forgotten to sign his check, so I need to go find him. The bank is over in Weehawken. Can you lend me twenty-eight bucks to get there? Please. I hate to ask. I never asked anybody for money before. But I'm asking you. Please.

GK: Detail is so important in a story. The little surprising detail. Like "Only men of high moral character need apply." That was a nice touch.

SS: I am really sorry to bother you, I know you must be very busy, but I don't have a choice ---- I'm an actor and I was employed on a radio show called "A Prairie Home Companion" ---- I don't know if you ever heard of it or not, it doesn't matter ---- anyway, I worked for them for years and years and it was okay, I'm not complaining, but it just wasn't the best use of my gifts. I played bimbos or Moms or I played old French chanteusies ----- (SINGS)

Quand il me prend dans ses bras

Il me parle tout bas,

Je vois la vie en rose. ---- That sort of thing. I mean, in legitimate theater I was doing Beckett and Pinter and Tennessee Williams ---- "I can't stand a naked light bulb, any more than I can a rude remark or a vulgar action." ---- and now on radio I was just a joke, I was a cartoon. (Duane! This is your mother.) So anyway I was offered a part off-Broadway and I thought, At last! I can follow my heart. And I quit the show and joined the cast of a play called Underpants Bananas. It was very post-modern, very hip, very improve and free association, that sort of thing, and I loved it, every night on stage was full of fresh revelations, and the review came out in the Times and Ben Brantley just put his big foot down and stomped it to death ---- the next night, ten people in the audience, and then six, and four, and we were let go, and that's when a woman whose son's name is Duane sued me for invasion of privacy and all of my savings, my annuities, the house, the car, everything, I lost it, and I had to go and live with my brother in Weehawken, and that's where I'm going, as soon as I can put together $28 for busfare....

SS: ...I only need twelve more dollars. Can you help? I hate to ask but you have such a kind face. Please.

GK: I try to read fiction in magazines and I get about one paragraph into a story and I turn the page. There's nothing there. I'm not a student, the story isn't an assignment, I don't have to read it to get a grade, I'd only read it because it's irresistible. If you want irresistible stories, walk the streets of New York and one of them will come up to you.

TR (TRUMP): Hey. How you doing. You know me, right? I used to be on television. That's my name up there on the top of that building. T-r-u-m-p. Trump. Yeah, I know, my hair doesn't look right cause I been out here in the wind, but ---- listen---- I am in a bad way ----- my penthouse is up there but I forgot my key, forgot my cellphone, and the doorman won't let me in because he just got off the boat from Colombia, and I found a cop and he thought it was a joke. He said, "That's a great Donald Trump impression. Now get out of here before I arrest you for lurking." Listen. My chauffeur Mike lives over in Weehawken. All I need is $28 to get over to Weehawken. Please. Have a heart. Help me out.

GK: In most cities, where you get around by car, the only people you get to know are the ones on the radio, and they're not that interesting, compared to people you meet as a pedestrian in the city of New York.

HM: Excuse me. I'm sorry. I don't mean to bother you, but I saw you walking by and ----

NM: Your face is so kind. You look like someone who really cares about people.

RM: We're Canadians. We're a singing group. The Wild Junipers. Anyway, we came across the border to buy clothes at WalMart----

HM: And then we changed out of our old clothes and threw them away in a dumpster and put on the new clothes----

NM: So we wouldn't have to pay duty on them but unfortunately----

RM: We threw away our passports in our old clothes and when we went back ---

HM: We went back to look for them, and there were dogs in the dumpster, huge dogs, and they'd eaten our passports----

NM: And also eaten our money, so we couldn't call up our friends and so we hopped on a freight train and we thought it was going to Toronto ----

GK: Excuse me. Are you going to Weehawken?

RM: We'll get to that. So we're on this freight train and instead of Toronto it came to New York and we got off in the Bronx----

HM: In a very sketchy neighborhood and we got a taxi to take us to a club which is run by a friend of ours---

RM: Who told us that anytime we want we can come and sing for a couple hundred bucks-----

NM: So we were on our way and the taxi hit a pothole----

RM: Hit a pothole about ten feet deep. It really shook us up. We were wearing seat belts but still----

HM: We got to the club and realized that because of the pothole we were singing about a half step flat----

RM: It knocked our voices down.


I was riding in a taxi

When it hit a deep pot hole.

And I could not sing my part then

In tune, to save my soul.

NM: So he wouldn't pay us.

HM: So we need to see this Ear, Nose and Throat specialist......

GK: Who is in Weehawken.

HM: Right.

GK: You need $28 to get there on the bus.

HM: Exactly. How did you know?

GK: Here's fifty. Just in case.

GK: Some people tell stories for fun. Some do it as history. Some as art. Some people tell stories for a living. You'll find them in midtown Manhattan, in the evening. Why midtown? Because native New Yorkers have heard these stories before. Midtown gives you a fresh audience....people from Iowa, Kentucky, Ohio. People like you people here for the show.

TR: I know that you people care about A Prairie Home Companion, otherwise you wouldn't be here. And probably you didn't know that our show depends on you for its support. Especially this week. Because this week a bolt of lightning hit our transmission tower in Weehawken, New Jersey, has (STATIC) and ever since......(STATIC) the signal has.....(STATIC) the phone company says that (STATIC).....Havana, Cuba, which he said was (STATIC)....giant watersnakes gliding through the tunnels leading to (STATIC) .....and so if each one of you simply gave $28---- please. Ushers are coming down the aisles now. Please, people. Please. (BAND BUTTON)