Monday, June 08, 2009

A Puyallup pronunciation update (Thanks, John Keister)

I'm a bit pathetic for following up on the Puyallup pronunciation issue but I have a little more time on my hands than usual these days. Time to continue building a house on my childish impulse.

While sitting with my youngest daughter in the ER a few weeks ago during the beginning wee hours of the morning, I discovered that KING-TV in Seattle was playing re-runs of Almost Live! at 1am. I'm not usually awake at that time, and with accumulating preaching opportunities in the summer months, Saturday night TV viewing will be further on the decline. Almost Live! is a PNW cult local sketch comedy favorite--KING-TV would delay Saturday Night Live even longer because Almost Live! was such a hit. The sketches have mostly local appeal, like "High Five'n White Guys," "Cops in Wallingford (imagine a population of combination upper middle class/hippy/new age intellectuals--where you can get arrested for not having sprouts on your sandwich or giving a "bad vibe")," The Ballard Driving Academy" and "The Lame List." Many of these sketches can be found on YouTube.

Ross Schaefer was the first host/head comedian of the show, but it gained it's edge and expanded popularity with John Keister. Keister was the leader of the local comedy cult that met on Saturday nights, both in Seattle and in homes all over the Puget Sound area. I remember interrupting Saturday night activities to check out what Keister, Pat Cashman, Nancy Guppy and the rest of the troupe could deliver that evening. This was not a flashy production, as Keister's Weekend Update modeled news show revealed, simply called "The John Report." Keisters opening: "This is the John Report. I'm John. Here's my report." Then he proceeded to make fun of places like Tukwila, Kent and of course, Puyallup through local news stories. No one would ever doubt John's Puget Sound region cultural cred--I have noted in my recent and expanding longitudnal study of Almost Live! that John pronounced Puyallup both with the "Al" sound and the "All" sound. I call on anyone in the Puget Sound region to challenge the cultural authority of John Keister.

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