Garrison Keillor cancels show amid allegations of improper behavior

Garrison Keillor, creator and former host of, "A Prairie Home Companion," talks at his St. Paul, Minn., office in July. Keillor said Wednesday he's been fired by Minnesota Public Radio.

PITTSFIELD — A city appearance by Garrison Keillor, the former host of "A Prairie Home Companion," was canceled Wednesday afternoon, just hours after he announced he had been fired by Minnesota Public Radio over allegations of improper behavior.

Staff at the Colonial Theatre began reaching out to ticket holders via phone and email after receiving word about 4:30 p.m. of the cancellation. Refunds will be issued.

Keillor told The Associated Press earlier Monday of his firing in an email, according to the Associated Press. In a follow-up statement, he said he was fired over "a story that I think is more interesting and more complicated than the version MPR heard." He didn't give details of the allegation.

Minnesota Public Radio didn't immediately respond to messages seeking comment.

Keillor, 75, had been scheduled to appear for the 7:30 p.m. show as part of his solo "Gratitude Tour."

But shortly after news broke about the circumstances of Keillor's firing, WAMC, the public radio station sponsoring the event, announced it would no longer participate.

"We're all in a state of shock, and we don't think it would be appropriate," said WAMC President and CEO Alan Chartock said.

Formal word of the cancellation came shortly thereafter from DSP Shows, producer of the event, which was not a Berkshire Theatre Group presentation.

Keillor has made regular appearances at Tanglewood with "A Prairie Home Companion," most recently for his penultimate show in 2016.

His hand-picked successor, mandolinist Chris Thile, is in his second season as host of the long-running public radio variety show.

The statement came shortly after Keillor, an avowed Democrat, wrote a syndicated column that ridiculed the idea that Sen. Al Franken should resign over allegations of sexual harassment.

Keillor started his Saturday evening show featuring tales of his fictional Minnesota hometown of Lake Wobegon — "where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average" — in 1974. The show featured musical acts, folksy humor, parody ads for fake products such as Powdermilk Biscuits and the centerpiece, Keillor delivering a seemingly off-the-cuff monologue, "The News From Lake Wobegon," in his rich baritone voice.

Keillor bowed out with a final show at the Hollywood Bowl in July 2016 and turned the show over to Thile, a mandolinist and frequent "Prairie Home" guest musician. Keillor went on a 28-city bus tour this summer, vowing it would be his last tour, but he continues on the road with solo shows. Keillor also is finishing a Lake Wobegon screenplay and a memoir about growing up in Minnesota.

Eagle staff writer Ben Cassidy contributed to this report.