Traci talks trash

By Kelsey Shea

Most mornings when Harold Keller wakes up, he puts his pants on one leg at a time just like any… Most mornings when Harold Keller wakes up, he puts his pants on one leg at a time just like any other upstanding citizen.

But once a month, Keller dons a black dress, black pantyhose, maryjane shoes, a long blonde wig and about a pound of blue eye shadow to become Traci — the main character on his PCTV television show, “Traci the Trailer Trash Girl.”

He describes his character as a “foul-mouthed, mean drag queen.”

Keller, a 56-year-old Beechview resident, might seem like just an average unemployed middle-aged man to his neighbors, but his midnight public cable show is making waves throughout Pittsburgh.

The premise of the show is Traci standing outside her trailer and yelling in her abrasive and crackly voice about city council, the president, her boyfriends and sex, all without any preplanned dialogue or even a script.

“I just say whatever I feel, and I go crazy for an hour,” he said. “It’s not liberal or conservative. I usually throw in some trivia about football and baseball and classic TV.”

Keller’s rants are peppered with some heavy Pittsburghese and what seems like an endless flow of profanity and obscene statements.

“I just want to do my thing and be uncensored,” said Keller, which makes PCTV an appropriate home for his show. “The station has never told me there was something I couldn’t say.”

John Patterson, the executive director of PCTV, says letting Harold say what he pleases is important for the station.

“Harold takes a lot of pride in the program, and we’re all about freedom of speech and letting people express themselves,” he said.

But for Keller, Traci is more than just a character. Keller said that he has a feminine side and that Traci is a way for him to express that.

“Traci lets me act in that feminine way that I couldn’t display in public,” said Keller.

According to Keller, people either love his show or hate it. He believes that younger people find it funny whereas others find it “weird, bizarre, crass and alarming.”

The crass nature of the late-night show, on a TV station that also hosts religious programs and children’s shows, upsets some Pittsburghers.

“I think Harold wants to offend people, and I really think he succeeds in doing that,” said Patterson.

“City Councilwoman Darlene Harris said she was going to look into my show, but she can’t do anything about it,” said Keller.

Keller’s character responded by calling Harris, “an ugly old hag” and continually used the f-word to parody the situation, on one episode of “Traci the Trailer Trash Girl.”

Referring to the show, Harris said, “I don’t even know what the name of this is.”

She said she planned to look into the content of some public programs but did not know the specifics or names of the programs.

But Keller doesn’t always agree with his on-air identity. He doesn’t wish the subjects of Traci’s ranting monologues any sort of real harm.

“Really, I wouldn’t want to hurt Darlene Harris or really turn her into sh*t or poopy dirt,” said Keller.

But despite the controversy, in the end Keller isn’t really too worried about what people say about Traci.

“I’m satisfied either way, whether people like it or hate it. As long as people are watching.”

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