Comedian Paula Poundstone takes life one joke at a time
By Michele LaFong
Paula Poundstone has been a recurring favorite guest on my radio show, Las Vegas Backstage Talk for over two years. I always attend her show at The Orleans whenever she is in town, as her show never seems to get repetitive. One thing that always struck me is that Paula always makes her entrance on stage with very wet hair. I had to ask if this was reflective of some kind of ritual or superstition?
”I shower before going on-stage because I want to give the crowd ‘The Deluxe.’ It is this kind rapid- fire, sarcastic, one liners coupled with Poundstone’s mostly autobiographical comedy that make me think “sitcom” every time I see her. Is a sitcom in her future?
“Here’s the thing. My youngest is only 14, and I want to finish ruining his life before moving onto other projects. I want to finish making bad parenting choices before I take that on.”
Michele LaFong: You became a stand-up early on in life—you just got on a Greyhound bus, and you started going to clubs. How long was it before you really felt that you “might have something” once you were in the clubs?
Paula Poundstone: I don’t know but when I get to that point I will give you a call. I did take the Greyhound bus all over to open mike nights. I started out in Boston, and ended up a couple of years later in San Fransisco, which had a GREAT comedy scene at that time. And then I moved to Santa Monica, I don’t like to brag, but I live right near a Jack in the Box.
ML: Do you still go out and do guest sets and try out new material?
PP: No I don’t have that opportunity to go and do open mikes anymore. I wish I did ‘cause it’s such a great tool. But I have kids. I have to be home every night so that my son can lie to me about doing his Spanish homework.
ML: Do your kids have any interest in being comics or anything in show business, and if so how would you feel about that?
PP: If they were interested, I’d have no problem with it. I’d think that would be fun if that’s what they wanted to do. My oldest daughter would like to sit in a chair, and you might think maybe work at a computer, or work at phone banking or something. But no—she just wants to sit in a chair, and it’s been very hard to convince her that there are no jobs that you just sit in a chair and get paid. But I’m her mom and she doesn’t believe me, so she’s still looking.
ML: You started comedy in 1979, and haven’t had a slow season since then have you?
PP: “I’ve been very lucky to work a lot over the years. I’m on the road a lot, a lot a lot! I have many frequent flyer miles, and many, many small shampoos. The truth is that very early on I tried going out for a month straight before I had children, and I was miserable. It was just a horrible experience. What I do now is I go out on the weekends. Sometimes it’s Thursday thru Saturday. Occasionally there are weeks where I don’t go out at all, and my children seem to wish that I would.
ML: So your kids bring a lot of material to your show…?
PP: I don’t even have to write! I really just have to take notes. My oldest daughter… if only she were kidding. If only there was any irony in the things that she said.
ML: How old is she?
PP: Twenty one. We’ve actually been getting up earlier in the morning now so that we can fight longer! Otherwise, we’re tired by ten. And I’d like to still get in another good solid hour of yelling and screaming.
ML: Does she get your sense of humor?
PP: Not really. She believes that everything that I say is the polar opposite of what she must do. I mean honestly, I could actually kill her by telling her to breathe! I tell her all the time “if you don’t get your act together, we’re gonna live together for the rest of our lives, like Laverne & Shirley.
Paula Poundstone’s new CD is now available that she taped in Boston at the Wilbur. It was released April 1. Paula’s latest interview plugging her appearance at The Orleans Showroom, July 5 and 6 at 8 p.m. can be heard on Las Vegas Backstage Talk Radio Show from 6 p.m.-7pm PST, July 4 and 6 on 1230am in Las Vegas and steaming live on lasvegasbackstagetalk.com.
Michele LaFong is the host of syndicated radio show Las Vegas Backstage Talk with Comedian Michele LaFong which airs Thursdays, and Saturdays from 6 p.m.-7 p.m. PST, on 1230 AM KLAV, in Las Vegas, and streams live on The Web. Las Vegas Backstage Talk Radio Show is the only place to listen-in on “those inside” conversations and backstage stories with the stars that make Las Vegas the entertainment capital of the world. This weekly audio/video production features interviews with notable show biz personalities from yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Visit her websites at www. lasvegasbackstagetalk.com