Variety Acts

Emily says that when she tells people that she’s reading in February with Stephen Wright (the novelist) at the 92nd Street Y, they sometimes assume that she’s talking about Steven Wright (the comedian). They tend, she says, to get very excited at the prospect of this lineup. I personally think it’s a fantastic idea: fiction writers and comedians! Why not? I’ve never been to the Poetry Vs. Comedy Variety Show, but I believe that anything that gets people out to a reading—any theme or twist or shtick that makes it more like a show, and less like a trip to the dentist—is a good thing (cf. the comedian Jim Gaffigan‘s mildly reactionary bit about how a gift of a book isn’t really a gift, it’s a homework assignment). Literary Death Match III, in spite of Quick Fiction‘s devastating loss in the final round to the sharper geography skills of McSweeney’s, was the most entertaining reading I’ve ever been a part of. Fiction Vs. Comedy? As Wright says at the end of his interpretation of the titular joke in The Aristocrats, I’d like to see that, actually.