“I never met a man I didn’t like….”

The Writer’s Almanac lists November 4 as the birthday of Will Rogers, a favorite of most of our grandparents, if not our parents, for his brilliant and topical humor.

Rogers was born in what is now Oklahoma in the year 1879, and was of a prominent Cherokee family.  Not liking the life his father had planned for him, he quit school, then left home.  After various jobs on ranches from Oklahoma to South America, he ended up in a wild-west show, and then gained his greatest fame in New York vaudeville and with the Ziegfeld Follies, telling jokes while doing rope tricks.  (He was excellent with a lariat, and came to the attention of the New York booking agents by roping a steer at a Madison Square Garden rodeo that had broken loose.)  He was eventually discovered by Hollywood, and made dozens of films, silent and voice.  From there, he built an audience with a newspaper column, and then radio, the cutting-edge medium of the day.  To this day, he’s regarded as the favorite son of Oklahoma; his gentle but pointed humor, often skewering the notable in politics and celebrity of the day, is still as relevant as it ever was.

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