Kurt Vonnegut on the Shapes of Stories
Ev Williams

I saw him give this same talk to a gym full of people in 1982 or ‘83. I think this was part of his “routine” speaking engagement. His visited my college in rural, southside Virginia and sat in on my English class of 15 or 20 people. He said virtually nothing during the class, and I was too stupid to hang around afterwards and shake his hand with the kids that thronged him. I was, and am, a huge fan. One of my favorite moments in television is when John Stewart had him as a guest and started the interview by saying, “thank you” and then something to the effect of “your books made adolescence bearable.”

Anyway, the video lacks one of the big laugh lines of the talk, which was when he charted a graph by saying “you wake up one morning and you’ve been turned into a cockroach” and then he just drew a sharp line down. It was very funny. Maybe you had to be there.

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