There’s a link between poets and comedians. Both inspect and wrestle with the status quo, and both do so to share the experience of discovery.
But I think comedy has unseated poetry over the past 100 years in popular culture because its core purpose is more straightforward—laughter. The other stuff, the “Thinky Pain” as Marc Maron puts it, gets to tag along like a rider provision in a congress bill. Comedy has this way of leading different interpretations to the same general response—again, laughter.
Poetry doesn’t have a core purpose as easily definable as comedy (look at all the ink spilled everywhere), so maybe people are unsure what they’re supposed to glean from it, or how they’re to react. I love poetry for that. I love that a single line can elicit all sorts of interpretations.
The reason I guess that I use humour sometimes—maybe you could back me up—is to toss a little life raft into the storm and say, let’s all convene to have the same response to something, if just for a moment. It’s a cheap way to scooch your audience closer.
- Vincent Colistro, in interview with Catriona Wright over at The Puritan's Town Crier blog. You can read the whole thing here.