© 2021 WNIJ and WNIU
Northern Public Radio
801 N 1st St.
DeKalb, IL 60115
Northern Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Drinkin' With Lincoln
Drinkin’ with Lincoln is a podcast from WNIJ that looks at Abraham Lincoln's life, land and legacy through the eyes of the people who know him best: Lincoln presenters (commonly known as Lincoln impersonators, a term many Lincoln presenters avoid). Each episode, a Lincoln presenter joins WNIJ history correspondent Clint Cargile as he explores sites significant (and sometimes not-so-significant) to Abraham Lincoln's life in Illinois.Then Clint and his guest Lincoln find the nearest brewpub or brewery to quaff a beer (sometimes two) so we can get to know the man behind the beard: where he comes from, why he does what he does, what makes him Lincoln.If you have a Lincoln-related topic you'd like us to cover, or a Lincoln presenter you'd like us to interview, contact us at lincoln@niu.edu.

Drinkin' With Lincoln Episode 4: Letting Lincoln's Humor Shine

For our Season One finale, we celebrate the unveiling of a new Abraham Lincoln statue in Naperville, Illinois. It is the world's only statue depicting young Lincoln laughing.* And it wouldn't be a proper Lincoln statue unveiling without a proper Lincoln presenter: stage actor and 25-year Lincoln veteran Michael Krebs.

Michael has portrayed Abraham Lincoln in films, documentaries, TV shows, and commercials. He's a popular fixture at the Chicago History Museum and has performed in Washington, D.C., for the Lincoln Group, the National Archives, the National Park Service, and the Library of Congress. President Bill Clinton once handpicked him to present before one of his speeches.

In part one, we talk with the organizers who brought Laughing Lincoln to Naperville, including sculptor David Alan Clark. We discuss why Lincoln is there in the first place, in a city that seemingly has no connection to the real Lincoln. Or does it?

Then it's off to Solemn Oath Brewery, where Michael and I sip some brew and discuss his time in Rockford's New American Theater, his connection to Freeport Lincoln presenter George Buss (see episode 2), and how his budding acting career in Chicago lead him to Lincoln.

You can also listen to this episode at these podcast directories:



Google Play



*Sculptor Jeff Adams of Mount Morris, Illinois, created a bust of an older Lincoln laughing, A Lighter Lincoln.

Bonus Content:

Bonus Clip 1 - Michael Krebs weighs in on "impersonator" vs. "presenter" (May 14, 2019)

Bonus Clip 2 - Michael Krebs discussing his Lincoln costume (May 14, 2019)

Show Notes

Lincoln Presenter: Michael Krebs



YouTube Channel


Mana Kintorso (performed live on Sessions from Studio A)

Behind the Beard Location:

Solemn Oath Brewery, Naperville, Ill.

Michael's TV/Films/Documentary Credits:

Field of Lost Shoes – IMDB

Field of Lost Shoes – Lincoln scenes

TV/Film demo reel

Commercials (YouTube playlist 1)

Commercials (YouTube playlist 2)

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (book trailer)

C-SPAN Lincoln-Douglas Debates:

Galesburg Debate Re-Enactment (Michael Krebs as Lincoln)

Michael Kreb’s profile (includes several of his Lincoln appearances)

All 7 of C-SPAN Lincoln-Douglas Debate Re-Enactments

Other Interviewees:

Brand Bobosky

David Alan Clark

Mary Lou Wehrli

Places Visited:

Naperville, Ill.

Central Park, Naperville, Ill.

Laughing Lincoln Statue

Places Mentioned:

Chicago History Museum

Freeport, Ill.

Galesburg, Ill.

New American Theater, Rockford, Ill. (now the Nordlof Center)

Western Illinois University, Macomb, Ill.

Lincoln-related Sites Mentioned:

Brewster House, Freeport, Ill.

Knox College, Lincoln Studies Center, Galesburg, Ill

Knox College, Old Main, Galesburg, Ill.

Lincoln Group of DC, Washington, D.C.

Lincoln’s Lucky Nose, Springfield, Ill.

President Lincoln’s Cottage, Washington, D.C.

Vandalia State House, Vandalia, Ill.

Abraham Lincoln’s Family and Associates Mentioned:

Mary Lincoln (wife)

Sarah Lincoln (sister)

Sarah Bush Lincoln (step-mother)

Thomas “Tad” Lincoln (son)

William Crook (bodyguard)

William Herndon (law partner, Springfield)

Historical Figures Mentioned:

Stephen Douglas

Joseph Naper

Other Lincoln Presenters Mentioned:

George Buss

Association of Abraham Lincoln Presenters (ALP)

Lincoln Sources Mentioned:

Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln

Lincoln, by David Donald

People Mentioned:

James Clark (playwright)

Hal Holbrook (actor)

Jeannette Lloyd (theater teacher)

Debra Ann Miller (Mary Lincoln)

Donald E. Wehrli (gravestone)

Donald E. Wehrli (obituary)

Grant Wehrli (state representative)

Douglas L. Wilson (Lincoln scholar)

Lincoln-related Topics Mentioned:

1862 Message to Congress

Gettysburg Address

Ken Burns’ Civil War (PBS)

Lincoln (ABC mini-series)

Second Inaugural Address


Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith

Alton, Illinois, in the Civil War

Century Walk

Naperville Trolley & Tours

New Market Campaign

Books on Lincoln’s Humor:

Carwardine, Richard, Lincoln’s Sense of Humor (2017)

McClure, Alexander, Abe Lincoln’s Yarns and Stories (1901)

Zall, Paul M., Abe Lincoln Laughing (1982)

Zall, Paul M., Abe Lincoln’s Legacy of Laughter (2007)

Websites on Lincoln’s Humor:

Abraham Lincoln’s Stories and Humor

Mr. Lincoln & Friends: Humor and Personality

Related Stories