Pounding Out The Laughs


Paula Poundstone is on the phone from Santa Monica and it’s only 10 a.m., a time when most successful stand-up comedians would barely have climbed into bed, much less arisen. “Well, I have kids now,” she says in that unpretentious, let’s-just-yak voice of hers. “I remember living the kind of life where I made it my business to awake every day by 3 p.m. at the latest so I could beat the rush-hour traffic.” Even this simple sentence is satirical, gently mocking people who share their regimen with you as though it’s the secret of their success (and could be yours!).

Famous for using a smattering of notes and playing off her audiences, Poundstone returns to the region for a show at the Crest Theatre on Saturday, Feb. 16 at 7:30 p.m. She’s asked if this ad-libbed style—polished after years of live engagements, award-winning HBO specials, talk shows and regular appearances on National Public Radio’s weekly “Wait Wait . . . Don’t Tell Me!”—ever trips her up. “Well, I always have to remember if I pick someone out of the audience and start talking with them that they become the stars. And people sometimes get shy when I put a microphone in their faces, so I make sure I repeat what they say. Otherwise, when I respond to it, no one will know why what I said is funny.”

When it’s suggested that Poundstone, with her unarguable warmth and wit, would make an ideal dinner guest, she instantly agrees: “I always stay and do the dishes.”


Where: Crest Theatre

When: Saturday, Feb. 16 at 7:30 p.m.