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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, July 5, 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 27
Perennial Paula - Still funny after all these years
Arts & Entertainment
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Perennial Paula - Still funny after all these years

by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

PAULA POUNDSTONE
PANTAGES THEATER, TACOMA
July 12


Comedy is and always has been a man's world. Paula Poundstone, however, is one woman who has muscled her way into the industry and continues to draw audiences across the country to her live performances. The Alabama-born comedian launched her professional career during the early '80s in San Francisco - a career that has now extended into its fourth decade. If you want to call Poundstone anything, call her a survivor. Still going strong, the veteran comic appears next weekend at Tacoma's Pantages Theater, as part of Tacoma Pride (www.tacomapride.org) Via e-mail, here's what she had to say to SGN.

Albert Rodriguez: You've performed many times in the Seattle-Tacoma area. Do you have any fond memories of either?

Paula Poundstone: I used to love looking around the bookstore in Pioneer Square. I also recall buying a lunch box at a 'peanut butter and jelly' store in Seattle, which I think is fairly unusual, and the glass-blowing place in Tacoma is unbelievable. Honestly, though, my fondest memories of the Seattle-Tacoma area are the audience members. Their energy is fantastic. I often bomb in the city I play after there, because I get all over-confident from having too much fun with the Seattle-Tacoma crowd.

Rodriguez: For anyone who hasn't seen you in concert, can you describe a Paula Poundstone live experience?

Poundstone: The 'live Paula Poundstone experience' includes top-of-the-line audience members. When I used to work clubs where there was a headliner, a middle act, and an emcee, guys would kill to work with me - not because I was such a stroll in the park, but because they wanted to play to my crowd. They're smart and fun. My act is largely autobiographical. I talk about raising a house full of kids and animals, and current events and politics as best as I can understand them, and not because I am always right. I sometimes talk about the Hardy Boys, but only where appropriate. I've been known to make public my bitter feelings towards Helen Keller, but my favorite part of the evening is just talking to the audience. I do the time-honored 'Where are you from? What do you do for a living?' In this way, little biographies emerge, from which I set my sails.

Rodriguez: Do you think it's still relevant for entertainers to come out or identify themselves as Gay?

Poundstone: Sure.

Rodriguez: What makes a great show vs. an average performance?

Poundstone: There is something magical about talking to a group of people who have come out to laugh for the night. Something happens when you sit with your species and laugh. That magic makes for a great show, and I have almost nothing to do with it.

Rodriguez: Is the comedy world still a man's world? Do you feel female comedians are still under-represented?

Poundstone: I've never much cared. Funny is funny.

Rodriguez: Are there any newer, up-and-coming comedians you really like?

Poundstone: I'm sure there would be if I saw them, but I work alone, and then I go home to clean up cat pee and listen to my children talk rudely to me. If one of these funny new comics would like to come sift my litter boxes, I'd enjoy them endlessly.

Rodriguez: Will you be attending any of the Tacoma Pride festivities, aside from your own show?

Poundstone: No. In the old days, when I worked clubs that had me in for a week, I got to hang out. Now, I generally leave to fly to work well before the sun is up, and still have only time for a meal, a bit more sleep, and a shower. In the morning I head out again. I see the skyline. That's about it.

Rodriguez: Is there anything that's off-limits (the President, etc.), in terms of content, for your concerts?

Poundstone: I try not to say anything bad about premature babies.

Rodriguez: Are there any future projects (book releases, recordings, etc.) that you'd like us to be aware of?

Poundstone: I'm writing a book currently. It's coming along quite slowly. My goal is to finish it before I die. You needn't be aware of it, though.

Rodriguez: Did you think we'd ever see the day when about one-third of U.S. states, including Washington, legally allow same-sex marriages?

Poundstone: Yes!

For tickets to Paula Poundstone's appearance in Tacoma, visit www.broadwaycenter.org.

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