Among the many arts of which Rauschenberg was a master, storytelling ranks high. Maybe he learned it from Cage.
Here's a nice example, as he sits nestled in his little chapel on Lafayette St. talking about making Monogram. Dennis Hollingsworth has posted a great story about erasing the deKooning drawing. There are many more out there.
I got to talk face to face with Rauschenberg only once -- at the Dallas Museum in 1974 where there was a wonderful show of the early Combines. My friend and teacher at the time, Vernon Fisher and I went to the preview. There Rauschenberg was "entertaining" a group of Dallas socialites, who hadn't a clue about his work, in his usual manner -- downing glasses of bourbon, telling stories, making jokes that went right over everyone's head punctuated by his trademark booming belly laughs. It was hilarious to watch this obligatory spectacle, and through it all, he remained astonishingly gracious. After the reception, Vernon and I lingered, and were able to sit down with Rauschenberg for a while as he came down from his performance. He talked with us at some length about the works in the show, and their approach to process and materials as the key to their contemporaneity and longevity.