John Kelso

Metro columnist

John Kelso has been writing a humor column for the Austin American-Statesman since 1977. Kelso has been around Austin for so long that only two things that were here in Austin when he arrived still remain: Kelso and the Broken Spoke. Kelso will write about anything. In fact, he once did a column about trying to fry an egg on the sidewalk. The egg didn't cook, but it did get a pretty good tan. In  2005, Kelso won an award for his humor writing from the National Press Club. The winning column was about a guy in Florida who hit his girlfriend with a small alligator he'd been keeping in the bathtub. Kelso lives near the town of Manchaca with his wife Kay and a spoiled but lovable Yorkie named Ziggy.

Latest from John Kelso

Kelso: Sooners’ secret: They’re socialists

12:50 AM Saturday, Jul. 22, 2017

It’s no secret that I was born in Oklahoma. But don’t hold it against me. The first words I ever spoke? At birth, I said, “I know what. Let’s get the hell out of here.” Really. It’s become a tradition for me to write a column right before the big Texas-Oklahoma football game poking fun at the entire state...
Kelso: Easy cure for Clinton: Wear mitts

12:42 AM Saturday, Jul. 22, 2017

If busy hands are happy hands, then Bill “Pinocchio” Clinton’s fingers must be about half giddy. It’s not that I don’t like Clinton. It’s just that he has this problem with what to do with his hands. I suffered from the same dilemma when I quit smoking 10 years ago. But at least with me it didn’t...
Gator guy does nation’s hicks proud

12:34 AM Saturday, Jul. 22, 2017

I’m a little jealous, because once again Texas has been out-goobered by another part of the country. The rednecky story of the year so far comes out of Florida. David Havenner of Port Orange was busted over the weekend for picking up his 3-foot alligator, swinging it and hitting his girlfriend with it. Havenner, 41, who is in jail facing...
Kelso: Where have all the great handymen gone?
 I’ve had bad luck with handymen. And I need one badly. I couldn’t fix a baseball game. That’s sort of a Pete Rose Joke, OK? The guys who are talented with home repairs tell me they got their education from watching their dads fix things around the house. My dad was a forester, and smart, but he wasn’t the least bit...

6:00 AM Saturday, Jul. 01, 2017

I’ve had bad luck with handymen. And I need one badly. I couldn’t fix a baseball game. That’s sort of a Pete Rose Joke, OK? The guys who are talented with home repairs tell me they got their education from watching their dads fix things around the house. My dad was a forester, and smart, but he wasn’t the least bit...
Kelso: So governor, you don’t like Austin? Leave!
 Gov. Greg Abbott needs to get the heck out of Austin. See, the governor doesn’t like our city. It’s too liberal for him and doesn’t fit the Texas conservative mold, he said so while speaking at a dinner put on by the Bell County Republican Party. “As you leave Austin and start heading north, you start feeling different...

7:00 AM Saturday, Jun. 10, 2017

Gov. Greg Abbott needs to get the heck out of Austin. See, the governor doesn’t like our city. It’s too liberal for him and doesn’t fit the Texas conservative mold, he said so while speaking at a dinner put on by the Bell County Republican Party. “As you leave Austin and start heading north, you start feeling different...
Kelso: Documentary on man who put the gore in ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’
 Joe O’Connell is doing his part to promote Austin’s eccentricity. O’Connell, an old newspaper guy who has written about film for several Texas papers, is shooting a documentary about the late Robert Burns, the man who put the gore in the original “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” movie. In case you haven’t...

7:00 AM Saturday, Jun. 03, 2017

Joe O’Connell is doing his part to promote Austin’s eccentricity. O’Connell, an old newspaper guy who has written about film for several Texas papers, is shooting a documentary about the late Robert Burns, the man who put the gore in the original “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” movie. In case you haven’t...
Kelso: Selfie junkies enjoy being the center of their own attention
 My friend and former South Austin next-door neighbor Shawnna Dwyer gets a charge out of taking selfies, sort of, although she admits they’re “completely self-centered” and “stupid.” But that didn’t stop her from taking a selfie with humorist and author David Sedaris right after his recent appearance at...

8:50 PM Friday, May. 19, 2017

My friend and former South Austin next-door neighbor Shawnna Dwyer gets a charge out of taking selfies, sort of, although she admits they’re “completely self-centered” and “stupid.” But that didn’t stop her from taking a selfie with humorist and author David Sedaris right after his recent appearance at...
Kelso: Don’t forget feng shui, decor touches in designing border wall
 So now that the Affordable Care Act replacement move has been botched — at least momentarily — it’s time to move onto Donald Trump’s next big campaign promise: building that $21.6 billion, 2,000-mile wall along the Texas/Mexico border. That’s a lot of dough for a wall, isn’t it? That’s a wall that&rsquo...

6:19 PM Saturday, Apr. 01, 2017

So now that the Affordable Care Act replacement move has been botched — at least momentarily — it’s time to move onto Donald Trump’s next big campaign promise: building that $21.6 billion, 2,000-mile wall along the Texas/Mexico border. That’s a lot of dough for a wall, isn’t it? That’s a wall that&rsquo...
Kelso: Trump can’t tell difference between fake, unfavorable news
 That 3,000-year-old hunk of statue that has been dug up by Egyptian and German archaeologists being promoted as a likeness of an ancient Pharaoh? Sadly for science, it’s a phony replica of Donald Trump’s head, buried in a Cairo slum by the Trump team to give the Trumpster even more publicity than he already gets. The piece will...

4:09 PM Saturday, Mar. 18, 2017

That 3,000-year-old hunk of statue that has been dug up by Egyptian and German archaeologists being promoted as a likeness of an ancient Pharaoh? Sadly for science, it’s a phony replica of Donald Trump’s head, buried in a Cairo slum by the Trump team to give the Trumpster even more publicity than he already gets. The piece will...
KELSO: Where else would hundreds line up to talk about using the john?
 Talk about a blown opportunity for Austin. On Tuesday at the Capitol, more than 430 people lined up to give their opinions on Senate Bill 6, the take-it-or-leak-it bill. That’s what I call it anyway. The bill, if passed, would make transgender folks go to the bathroom designated for the sex the person was given at birth. The concern...

6:00 AM Saturday, Mar. 11, 2017

Talk about a blown opportunity for Austin. On Tuesday at the Capitol, more than 430 people lined up to give their opinions on Senate Bill 6, the take-it-or-leak-it bill. That’s what I call it anyway. The bill, if passed, would make transgender folks go to the bathroom designated for the sex the person was given at birth. The concern...
Kelso: Happy summer camping Austin
 Having been named Senior All Camper at Trout Lake Camp in the 1950s, I feel qualified to speak in favor of sending your kids off to camp for the summer. I think I was 12 when I won the award, presented to me in front of the hundreds of fellow campers who were gathered in the camp dining room for dessert. I still remember my acceptance speech...

5:00 AM Saturday, Mar. 04, 2017

Having been named Senior All Camper at Trout Lake Camp in the 1950s, I feel qualified to speak in favor of sending your kids off to camp for the summer. I think I was 12 when I won the award, presented to me in front of the hundreds of fellow campers who were gathered in the camp dining room for dessert. I still remember my acceptance speech...