NPR Humor

On a recent road trip, NPR was humming along in the background, barely audible. There was laughter, so John turned up the volume. It was a woman telling a Thanksgiving story, about being filled with stress about her parents coming to New York City to see her. She spoke in what I can only call that “classic NPR tone”– dry and over-enunciating. You. Can. Hear. Her. Now. She said, “My father sat in a chair all day,” and paused for full dramatic effect, “and kept telling jokes. That weren’t funny.”
The unseen audience roared with laughter. The three of us looked quizzically at one another. John turned the volume up a little more and the woman continued talking about her mother. She said, “I knew my mother would say something about the cornbread. To her, there is only one kind of cornbread, and it wasn’t what I had. My mother said, ‘That isn’t cornbread, that’s something you put in your hair.'”
Again, the audience went wild with maniacal laughter.
Finally Isa said, “I just don’t see why they are laughing so hard.”
“Me neither,” I said.
Just then we heard her talking about taking her parents to Ellis Island. It was cold, it was rainy, her piece went on and on for minutes (another NPR trait: lots of needless descriptive turns of phrase, I would think for traffic but she was performing live) and then she said, with more enunciation than the radio speaker could possibly bear: “The problem with going to Ellis Island-“
and she paused, for great dramatic effect here (and I could picture her looking up at her audience with a gleam in her eye as she delivered her punchline) IS THAT YOU ARE GOING TO ELLIS ISLAND.

John turned off the radio.

That’s right, the problem with Ellis Island is that you are going to Ellis Island.

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