June 3 - 9, 2005• Vol. 26 - No. 22


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 The Blonde and The Maven Pound It Out with the Brilliantly Funny and Quick-Witted Paula Poundstone
by The Blonde and The Maven
Film Columnists


We feel honored to have interviewed one of our favorite stand-up comics, the one and only Paula Poundstone. Ms. Poundstone performed this past weekend at the Ft. Lauderdale Improv at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. The show was sensational. Her mesmerizing comedic-style of improv and gutsy interaction with the audience was nothing short of brilliant. As we expected, Paula's more than hysterically funny show ended with thunderous applause and happy faces exhausted from laughing! We love you, Paula!
Paula was born in Birmingham Alabama. Shortly thereafter, she moved and was raised in Sudbury, Massachusetts. As an adult, Paula moved to San Francisco where she met Robin Williams. In 1979, it was Robin who gave Paula her first break in the stand-up comedy business. Through the ‘80s, Poundstone performed her comedy in many venues, including comedy clubs, hosting her own radio show and eventually two HBO specials. In 1992, Paula was the first woman to win a Cable Ace award for Best Stand-up Comedy Special. She was also the first woman to headline at the White House Correspondents Dinner and covered the '92 political conventions for “The Tonight Show.” (YOU GO, PAULA!) Here's some Paula Poundstone trivia: She supports Planned Parenthood, healthcare for the homeless, campaign finance reform, gun control and the Democratic Party!
Now for our one-on-one, exclusive Entertainment News and Views interview with our favorite comedienne:

Blonde & Maven: Paula, when did you first realize that comedy would be an integral part of your life?

Paula: My Kindergarten teacher's (Mrs. Bump) summary letter written in May 1965, stated, “I’ve enjoyed many of Paula’s humorous comments about our activities.” Then I started doing open mike nights in Boston in 1979.

B&M: Where would you like to see your career go, in the future?

Paula: Oh, gee! I've been writing a book now for six long years, not six years with consecutive minutes! I am writing a book because I've already spent the advance! If I could, I would like to write a movie. I think I am missing some of the elements like, ya know, talent! My first goal is to get my kids raised with some sort of potential. It is an impossibly hard job, especially with how far behind our schools are. California is coming in third from the bottom!

B&M: How many kids do you have?

Paula: I have two daughters, 14 and 11, and a 7-year-old son, nine cats, a big cat-eating dog, a bearded dragon lizard and one ant left over from an ant farm.

B&M: What brings you happiness?

Paula: My children in teeny ways, not 24 hours a day, that's for sure, and Pop Tarts, (brown sugar cinnamon frosted). My career gives me happiness.  I love doing my silly stupid job. I love being a stand-up comic! If I never did anything other than be a stand-up comic and survive financially, I would be happy. I love telling my little jokes. I am not crazy about being away from home, in terms of traveling. I would love to do it like “Bewitched” and wiggle my nose and just be there and get home. That would be the perfect life.

B&M: What makes you angry?

Paula: Gee!  I don't like it when my children talk to me from two rooms away. I can hear “MOM” clear as a bell from China, so I say, “Yes?” Then I hear “jlkjljljljjlkjljljljlkj,” sometimes concluded by, "Can I"? Then, I have to dry my hands from washing the dishes, run in the other room to mostly be told "Never mind!” I'm happy to, 'never mind'…
B&M: Paula, how do you write your comedy?

Paula: My comedy goes in stages—each well-structured, carefully thought-out piece begins as an inkling, then occasionally graduates to a thought and then a clearly stated idea, followed by a comedy piece. Sometimes I think of stuff on stage while I'm talking to people.

B&M: Are you up on your politics?

Paula: Ya know, I try!

B&M: Are you happy with Arnold?

Paula: No. He broke his promise to the teachers. When I broke my promise to my teachers, I got a detention; he got nothing.

B&M: Hey, we got Jeb Bush!

Paula: Oh, that was so insensitive of me. I'm sorry! It's like I'm talking to somebody who is riddled with cancer about my cold!

B&M: What television shows do you watch?

Paula: I don't let my kids watch TV. There's too much to dodge when you flip the stations. Besides, I don't like commercials. We watch videos on weekends. I am so not a fan of a lot of what's going on in television right now. I don't like those reality shows. I don't watch it. I think it's strange that people pay attention to “American Idol.”

B&M: What comics do you admire?

Paula: Lots! My favorites are the old radio team Bob and Ray. I'm a huge Lily Tomlin fan. If I have to pick one, I have my job because of Robin Williams! The way he worked brought an energy and excitement back to stand-up comedy that hasn't been there for a long time. He brought people to liking the comedy clubs.

B&M: What do you do for fun?

Paula: I like to read and clean the doorknobs in my house. I can't stand sticky doorknobs.

B&M: What is your favorite food?

Paula: I really like Three Musketeers bars! But, ya know, it's hard to get them the right size. I don't like the giant, long ones. It's not the right relationship; it's not the right percentage of fluffy, nuts, stuffing filling, and creamy chocolate outside. The size you get at the airport could bring the plane down!

B&M: Do you get nervous before you go on stage?

Paula: Yeah! Not horribly, I mean I don't throw up or anything. I notice that I get a little spacey before I work. I feel like I have my troops moving into position, kind of thing.

B&M: Have you ever bombed on stage?

Paula: I have bombed on stage many, many times and it is VERY uncomfortable. I bombed at Farm Aide a few years ago in front of 30,000 people in the Super Dome in New Orleans. This one was not my fault. I mean, people were drinking all day long. I wasn't drinking that particular day…I did afterwards, LET ME TELL YA!

B&M: Do you still drink Diet Pepsi on stage?

Paula:  I do! I drink about 16 a day, and if I didn't drink them on stage, I wouldn't be able to keep up with my quota. Without soda, I can just fall asleep during a conversation.

The Blonde: STARBUCKS!

Paula: No, I am not a coffee drinker, unfortunately. One day my son told me soda was bad for me. I said, ya know what's worse for me is when you have tantrums! So I said, I'll make you a deal. I won't have another soda until you have another tantrum. I got so tired and had so many headaches from not having soda, that eventually I goaded him! Well, I had to keep my word!

B&M: What would you like to tell your fans?

Paula: I would like them to go and visit my website, www.paulapoundstone.com.

B&M: You have a fantastic website, we loved it!  Okay, Paula, your favorite singer or band?

Paula: I have to say the Beatles, then there's a long vacancy and then the next one! By the way, I have obsessive compulsive disorder and that's the kind of question that can keep me awake for a week trying to think of an answer. I also really love the Barenaked Ladies.

For more information about Paula Poundstone, visit www.paulapoundstone.com.
1.  Shara Rosayn, Paula Poundstone and Robin Roth
2. Comedienne Paula Poundstone
Photo by Robin Roth

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