To begin my touring in '08 I find myself in Nebraska, home of corn, cows, and the hometown of comedy legend Johnny Carson, which is Norfolk, NE, where I had my show last night.
Norfolk. Spelled like the Norfolk in Virginia, so one would think to pronounce it "Norfoke," or "Norf#&k" as the genteel folk in Virginia do.
Nope. It's pronounced "Nor-Fork" with a definite 'R' sound instead of an 'L' sound before the K. Of course I didn't find this out until after my show, so everytime I asked the crowd "Are you ready to rock, Norfoke?" I was making even more of an ass of myself than I usually intend.
Turns out they do that a lot here in Nebraska, it's their fun little way of instantly identifying outsiders. Me saying "Norfoke" instantly makes me sound like a snob, a carpet-bagger, someone with too much fancy phonics learnin' from shows like Sesame Street and The Electric Company.
They continue the trend elsewhere in the state where the town Beatrice is pronounced "Be-YAT-trice" in an apparent homage to Snoop Dogg. I wonder if the radio stations say things like "That was 'Love Me Do' by the BeeYATles."
But the shows have been fun so far, and tonight I'm at Doane College in Crete. Which I'm sure is pronounced "crate" or "cruton" or something. I'll remember to ask before I go on stage.