Kevin Kling: The Anti-Keillor

Kevin Kling (left) gestures while telling a story as accordionist Simone Perrin listens during an evening with Kevin Kling at the Marshall Performing Arts Center on the University of Minnesota Duluth campus Wednesday. (Clint Austin /

Of course, this didn’t occur to me until I was driving home from work last night, but I’ve decided that playwright/storyteller/cracker upper/NPR contributor Kevin Kling is the anti-Garrison Keillor.

It’s interesting the way two people can approach a similar craft: Funny stories with regional appeal.

There is Kling, breathless and animated. An up-talker mining his past for stories and then giving them a global message. He’s clever and hilarious and family-friendly. Then there is Keillor, who sounds like Kling on a slower RPM. His low, monotone, soothing drone. His "Wobegon" series fictional, but close enough to a truth to almost be truth.

Kling’s sidekick is an accordion player with a nice voice and a lot of whimsy — Simone Perrin. Keillor’s is the Guy’s All Star Shoe Band — which has its own charm.

It was a good show last night. My story is here, regretfully without the Keillor connection.

And Happy Sieur Du Luth to all of you.

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