January 2016 - Make 'Em Laugh: Paula Poundstone
Thirty-two years ago Paula Poundstone climbed on a Greyhound bus and traveled across the country -- stopping in at open mic nights at comedy clubs as she went. She went on to become one of our country’s foremost humorists. You can hear her through your laughter as a regular panelist on NPR’s popular rascal of a weekly news quiz show, Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me. Watch for Paula as she lends her distinctive voice to the character “Forgetter Paula” in the new Disney Pixar film Inside Out about a young girl Riley who is uprooted from her Midwest life when her father starts a new job. The movie chronicles and the emotional roller coaster that change can bring.
Poundstone tours regularly, performing standup comedy across the country. While there is no doubt that Poundstone is funny, the thing that probably separates her from the pack of comics working today and that has made her a legend among comics and audiences alike is her ability to be spontaneous with a crowd. Poundstone says: “No two shows I do are the same. It’s not that I don’t repeat material. I do. My shows, when they’re good, and I like to think they often are, are like a cocktail party. When you first get there, you talk about how badly you got lost and how hard it was to find parking. Then you tell a story about your kids or what you just saw on the news. You meet some new people and ask them about themselves. Then, someone says, “Tell that story you used to tell,” and then someone on the other side of the room spills a drink, and you mock them. No one ever applauds me when I leave a party, though. I think they high five.”
Paula’s interchanges with the audience are never mean or done at a person’s expense. She even manages to handle politics without provoking the pall of disapproval less artful comics have received.
Her most recent comedy CD, I Heart Jokes: Paula Tells Them in Boston was recorded during a performance at the Wilbur Theatre in the heart of the city and was released on April fool’s Day 2013.
Paula has starred in comedy specials on HBO and BRAVO, won an Emmy Award, served as “official correspondent” for The Tonight Show during the 1992 Presidential race, pioneered the art of backstage commentary during an Emmy telecast, steps up to the plate for causes she believes in, and is almost always included in any compendium – be it film, television or print, noting comedic influences of the 20th/21st century, most recently, We Killed: The Rise of Women in American Comedy (October 2012, Sarah Crichton Books). Paula also appears on Late Night w/Craig Ferguson about 3 times a year and she’ll do an occasional editorial for NPR’s All Things Considered.
Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me is now heard in 5 million homes across the country, including all of the major markets, internationally on NPR Worldwide and on the Internet via podcast. In 2008, it received a Peabody Award for broadcasting excellence. On the show, Paula gets to match wits with some of the country’s leading pundits. The show made its television debut on BBC America with a “2011 Year In Review.” Poundstone quickly goes on record about how much she loves being part of the show saying: “I am a proud member of the endorphin production industry. They allow me to say whatever I want on Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me. The panelists are unscripted, so it’s perfect for me. I feel like I’m a batter in a batting cage. I get lobbed topics. Sometimes I just watch them go by, but every now and then I get a piece of one. If the others didn’t cheat, it would be an almost perfect work experience.”
The Lensic Performing Arts Center in Santa Fe is happy to welcome comedian Paula Poundstone on Thursday, February 4th. Showtime is at 7:30 PM. Tickets range from $36 - $46 Call (505) 988-1234 or https://www.lensic.org.