Paula Poundstone, comedian and pet enthusiast, has three kids, ten cats, a dog, a bearded dragon lizard, a bunny, and, oh yes, a sense of humor.
It’s been years since she performed on the Strip, but Poundstone has recently enjoyed a steady string of gigs at Boulder Station including an upcoming performance on February 6.
“I remember taking a picture of my name on a marquee somewhere [on the Strip], which was exciting to see but honestly I don’t remember any one gig there very much,” says Poundstone.
In regards to her new off-Strip shows, she says she likes the fact that she plays to a predominantly local crowd. “I’ve actually been working at this venue [Boulder Station] several times a year, for the past several years. I haven’t totally embarrassed myself yet there, well no more than average at least. This is one of my favorite jobs actually, I’m really looking forward to going to Vegas.”
While her dog, Ramona, barked loudly in the background, “giving into peer pressure” according to Poundstone, Weekly caught up over the phone with the witty comedian.
Having been a political correspondent on The Tonight Show and The Rosie O’Donnell Show in the past, how do you feel about this generation getting so much of their political news from The Daily Show and The Colbert Report?
“I think it’s a little dangerous in a way, quite honestly. The good news is that those guys and the people that they work with I think have brilliant minds and they reduce, like in science when you boil something, the essence of the news. A lot of news is just so piss poor right now that a lot of people are turning to those sources. It’s good to have something making people pay attention.”
Having been in the business for so long, how do you keep it fresh gig after gig?
“When I first started out, I used to do a lot of open mic nights where I worked in a café in San Francisco. … I had a great insight as a result of working there into the reactions of people who saw the same comics over and over again. They would bitch and moan about having to listen to the same thing. I therefore became very sensitive to not letting the waters of my act be still. I think I would be bored anyway, doing the same thing over and over again.
What is your favorite part about performing live?
“A lot of my act is just conversation with the crowd. It’s the most fun. There’s a magic to a group of people who came out to laugh. I both treasure that and exploit it.”
So you have been doing comedy for nearly three decades now, why did you wait so long to put out your first CD, I Love Jokes?
“Just lazy I guess. It was really fun to do. Nobody who hates it has gotten in touch with me, so that’s good news.”
What brought about the decision to pen humorous math workbooks for children like Venn Can We Be Friends and You Can’t Keep Slope Down?
“Well I’m friends with my high school math teacher. We co-authored it. I used to get my kids workbooks over the summer and these workbooks would have these really entertaining covers with animated characters that the kids might recognize and then you open it and it’s just a regular old workbook. I felt like that was a kind of a rip off.”
Can you tell me about your apparent on stage dress code of a suit and tie?
“It really couldn’t be more dull. I started buying ties about 20 years ago around the time that Nicole Miller started coming out with these really great fabrics and she made ties with them. Once you have one or two of anything, people assume it’s just what you do. I have a beautiful Three Stooges tie.
So you’re a Three Stooges fan?
I love the Stooges. For the past two years, my family has gone to the Three Stooges Film Festival in Glendale at the historic Alex Theater. To sit in a crowd with everyone who loves the Stooges and listen to the roar with laughter over stuff I’ve seen easily a hundred times.”