Comedian Paula Poundstone Talks Approach to Comedy, Upcoming Show


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Comedian Paula Poundstone, a veteran in the comedy circuit, is coming to Playhouse Square November 12. Poundstone is a regular guest on several NPR programs and has performed for the likes of Hillary Clinton and Johnny Carson. Her first open-mic was 37 years ago, and her approach to comedy has evolved to incorporate her off-the-cuff outlook on life.

“My goal is to be the most me I can on stage," she told Scene in a phone interview. "My favorite part of the night is talking to the audience, when a little biography emerges."

Part of Poundstone’s signature humor comes from her ability to find the joke in everyday people and things. She has an almost zen-like philosophy that ironically emerged from struggling with obsessive compulsive disorder.

“When I hear something in a conversation, it inevitably makes me think of something else that I need to say," she says. "It’s disastrous socially. But in comedy it works.”

Poundstone reflects that she used to beat herself up about going “off-script,” but now she is much more able to embrace her quirks.

Poundstone has defined her voice as a comic over several decades and has a lot to say about experience. She references author Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers” and his theory that it takes 10,000 hours of practice in anything to become an expert.

“I’m not exactly sure how that applies to comedy, seeing as I spend about five to ten minutes on stage a couple nights a week, but you get the idea." Being a stand-up comic involves more than just time on stage. Poundstone has continued to hone her craft by writing jokes, letters, even a novel titled There's Nothing in This Book That I Meant to Say.

The audience at her show can expect to hear about her three kids, her eleven cats, and her thoughts on everything from politics to electronic obsession. Where Poundstone really shines, though, is in interactions with the audience.

“Often times the best stuff is the stuff I never meant to say.”

Buy tickets to her performance here.

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