ST. PAUL, Minn. — Garrison Keillor is not spending his time in retirement baking Powdermilk Biscuits or drinking coffee down at the Chatterbox Cafe now that he’s hung up his microphone as host of “A Prairie Home Companion.”

He turns 75 on Aug. 7 and boards a bus the next day for a 28-city “Prairie Home Love & Comedy Tour – 2017,” which he vows will be his last.

“I don’t think you should go out onstage after the age of 76,” Keillor told The Associated Press during a recent interview. “You don’t want to fall down out there and then all of these people, you know, there’s a sudden intake of breath. And men in white jackets come in from the wings and put an oxygen mask on you.”

“You don’t want that to happen. It’s too much entertainment for the dollar,” he adds. “An entertainer is supposed to go away and have a quiet dotage, and you know, lose your marbles in private and not do this out where people can see you.”

Keillor started his Saturday-evening radio variety show featuring tales of his fictional Minnesota hometown of Lake Wobegon in 1974. He went out with a final show at the Hollywood Bowl in July 2016 and turned the show over to mandolinist extraordinaire Chris Thile, who starts his second season as “Prairie Home” host on Oct. 7.

Keillor admits he misses being on the air and says he hasn’t listened to “Prairie Home” since Thile took over.

“I keep my distance because I was given tremendous freedom when I did the show and it took a while for me to even get a grasp of what was involved. Made a lot of mistakes in the course of all those years. So the new people really should be given the same freedom and allowed to make their own mistakes,” he said.

“I would miss it too much, I think. I really would feel a big loss, I think, if I listened to it,” he said. “I really have to turn my back.”

Wearing his signature red tennis shoes without socks as he prepares to hit the road, Keillor talks about finishing a screenplay about Lake Wobegon.

Keillor hopes the movie will be filmed in Minnesota.”We just have to find a town that can be Lake Wobegon, and then I think we should be all set to go,” Keillor said.

– From news service reports

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