Slate has an at times fawning profile of Garrison Keillor this weekend:
Keillor’s humor has always been a bit of a puzzle: What is its irony/sincerity ratio? Is he mocking Midwesterners or mocking the rest of us via Midwesterners? In 1985, when Time magazine called Keillor the funniest man in America, Bill Cosby reportedly said, “That’s true if you’re a pilgrim.” A decade later, a cartoon version of Keillor forced Homer Simpson to assault his TV and shout, “Be more funny!” But judging Keillor by mainstream standards of comedy (compression, originality, edge) misses the point. He works hard to be unfunny in a very particular way. His humor is polite, understated, and deliberately anachronistic; it never breaks a sweat.
I don’t know how much perspiration Keillor was generating when he spoke to a university in November of 2004, but it’s certainly not my definition of polite: