Arts & Entertainment

Garrison Keillor's final farewell at the Hollywood Bowl

Sara Watkins has been a regular on
Sara Watkins has been a regular on "Prairie Home Companion" with Garrison Keillor since 2000.
American Public Media

Writer and humorist Garrison Keillor served up a bittersweet farewell for some 18,000 fans at the Hollywood Bowl as he hosted his final episode of the old-style radio show, "A Prairie Home Companion."

Keillor's swan song Friday night wasn't markedly different from most of his nearly 42 years of "Companion" episodes, offering a rich mix of Americana music and folksy comedy. (U.S. President Barack Obama called in for a special segment recorded earlier Friday, but not even the Bowl audience will hear that until Saturday's broadcast.)

"There are many of us who have been listening to him for decades and this was just a fabulous way to close this out and to participate with him as he says goodbye to this era and moves on to the next," Shenda Baker of Upland tells KPCC.

The "last-show" aspect of the doings was so subtle that, at one point, even Keillor's cast mates began to prod their boss, asking, "How do you feel (about leaving)?" Keillor reluctantly replied, "It feels like something ends and something else is about to happen."

As Elizabeth Power Robison, a longtime Prairie Home Companion fan from Whittier tells KPCC, even though Keillor is moving on from the show, there's hope for the future: "He seemed to be anointing a new generation. He has brought up incredible talent. The five women he brought on the show tonight are a future of what can be of a Prairie Home. It was great to  hear them and see how proud he was to have cultivated their talents."

Keillor's guests at Friday night's show included longtime Prairie Home regular Sara Watkins,  singer-songwriter Aoife O’Donovan and vocalist Christine DiGiallonardo, among others.