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Paula Poundstone

Stand-Up Comedy

American stand-up comedian PAULA POUNDSTONE, well-known for her self-deprecating style and masculine dress sense, has been making audiences laugh for more than 25 years and won the American Comedy Award for “Best Female Stand-Up Comic” in 1989.

If you’re looking for comedy that leaves your cheeks hurting, Paula Poundstone is for you! An award winning comedienne, Poundstone returns with her razor-sharped wit and spontaneity that is unmatched. Although her illustrious career has spanned decades, Poundstone has only recently recorded her first album “I Heart Jokes, Paula Tells Them in Maine.” She can also be heard regularly on NPR.

  • She adopted her first child, Thomas, in 1993. In 1997, she adopted two girls, Toshia and Allison. Later, she adopted another son, to whom she refers as “Thomas E.”
  • Poundstone was a foster mother to several other children until 2001, when she was barred from the foster care program following a conviction of child endangerment for driving under the influence with a child passenger. Since then she has used the incident—and the resulting publicity—as the source for some of her comedic material.
  • Poundstone labels herself asexual. She stated her asexuality in an interview with the Dallas Voice in June 2007, saying “I’m totally an asexual human being. I haven’t dated anyone.”

Diary Of A Media Day: Paula Poundstone

By David Moye

For many entertainers who play at Anthology, the job doesn’t begin or end with the onstage performance – there’s pre-show publicity that needs to be done.

Sometimes, this means a phone interview with a newspaper like the San Diego Union-Tribune, or a weekly like Citybeat or the Reader; or with a radio station.

Other times, a TV appearance is in order.

Once in a while, a LOT of TV appearances are in order all shoved in one right after the other.

That’s how it happened with comedian Paula Poundstone on July 27.

As media person for Anthology, I had five requests from the local TV stations from nice, gracious TV producers hoping to book Paula for an appearance on their fine stations.

I’ll be honest: When it comes to the media, I’m no hard-ass. If I can help them, I will.

But to do it, I needed the help of Paula’s PR staff and Paula herself.

You may not realize this, but the majority of the morning newscasts are filmed in the morning. This means that not only the newscasters, camera crew, producers, and news writers have to get up very early in the morning – and so do their guests.

Meanwhile, comedy performers work at night and, as a result, have been trained to be night owls.

Despite this timely problem, Paula was gracious enough to agree to drive down from Los Angeles at 3 a.m. in order to do a day of TV appearances three days before her show.

“She doesn’t usually do this,” said her personal publicist, who has the booking routine down to a science. “But she loves Anthology.”

I am grateful.

I am also worried. As a believer in karma and reincarnation, I wonder how early Paula will make me get up in our next lives together.

Paula’s crack publicist makes sure the producers have talking points.

These are suggested topics that give the media something to form an interview around. Because Paula is a gifted comedienne, it’s usually a matter of giving her something to riff on.

However, Paula is a big supporter of libraries and with the new downtown library getting ready to break down, this is a natural way to allow her to talk about something near and dear to her heart and also about local interest.

But I am getting ahead of myself.

The interviews have been set for a week – and so have the arrival times and segment times, but things change at one station at the last minute, requiring some juggling. But that’s PR in general – you learn to live in chaos. That’s why when college students ask me, “How do I prepare for a career in PR?” I always say, “Grow up in a dysfunctional family and learn to apologize for things that aren’t your fault.”

So it’s morning, the day of the media onslaught: Four interviews on three stations in 3 hours. I get up at 5 in order to make it to KUSI by 6 a.m.

Paula and her driver, a circus contortionist moonlighting as a driver, are waiting in the parking lot. Paula is asleep in the front seat. We wake her up gently, and she is justifiably tired.

Still, professional that she is, she sucks down a Diet Pepsi, goes to the station’s bathroom to do her hair and comes out ready for the segment.

She speaks with David Davis about libraries, the show (great plug for the club) and gets some jokes in about the many news trucks in the KUSI parking lot.

“I’ve never seen so many,” she says. “You must have a lot of news.”

But while she is adept on current events, Davis brings up one item she was unaware of: The fact she’s doing two shows.

“That’s news to me, but that’s great,” she says.

After the interview is over, Paula gives back the mini microphone attached to her body and we drive to Fox 5. We take separate cars for flexibility and also because I am a terrible driver and don’t feel that killing a performer at Anthology would be good for my career.

I’m funny that way.

So we get to Fox 5 (not that hard, it’s about 10 minutes up the street) and let Paula sleep in the car for 45 minutes while I talk with her driver about the job prospects of working in a circus. Amazingly, we have mutual acquaintances since she tried out for Il Circo, the circus that played Anthology back in June.

Small word, isn’t it?

So it’s time to get Paula up and when she wakes, she downs another Diet Pepsi and comes into the Green Room to wait for her segment.

One of the things about the Green Room – it isn’t really green.

She watches the Fox 5 news and is especially fascinated by the woman who precedes her on screen, a doctor specializing in sex who discusses a male contraceptive that may one day come on the market. Oh, but there’s a slight side effect: weight gain.

“I don’t think that’s a slight side effect,” Paula says to begin her interview. During her segment, she also makes fun of Floatopia’s founders by saying, “Of course, people may still get together to float and they’ll say, ‘It was never about the alcohol. That was just something they did for fun.”

At one point, the interviewer, Chrissy Russo, asks Paula why she didn’t get any sleep last night.

Paula politely reminds her: “Because I had to get here this morning.”

The funniest moment may be at the end when Russo tells viewers to go to “Fox5SanDiego.com for more information” and Paula says, “You don’t articulate very well. That must drive your bosses nuts. You say it breathy in that escort kind of way.”

Naturally, the crew is in hysterics.

Afterwards, they pay Paula the highest compliment they can give a guest. They want pictures, pictures, pictures.

Meanwhile, I am trying not to be the bad guy, but we got to move move move. We are due at San Diego 6 in 10 minutes and it’s at least a 5-minute drive.

Whew! We make it just in time.

To wait.

That’s kind of what happens. The producers at morning shows like you to get there early so they don’t have to worry, but then they make you wait.

Paula has a special affection for San Diego 6 – although I’m sure she loves all the stations.

However, last year when she performed at Anthology, she did a segment at San Diego 6 right before a woman brought two cats for a pet adoption segment.

Paula took those two cats home with her.

Amazingly, the woman who brought the cats is here at the studio again. This time she has a dog, but Paula decides to give one of the viewers a chance to nab it.She does two segments: One is a straighter interview on the morning show and the other is a segment on San Diego Living, which is lighter and, as host Marc Bailey tells her, “We’re not doing news now so we can talk about anything.”

Paula jumps onto a tease about a segment with a woman offering tips on how to travel alone.

“I can already give you one – get rid of anyone you’re with,” she says.

Maybe it’s because it’s the last show, or because she’s woken up, but this interview gives an indication of Paula that’s not just about the funny.

Oh, she’s still funny, but she also reveals why she wanted a llama for a pet but didn’t buy one.

“You have to buy two or else they’ll pine to death,” she says. “I could get my neighbors to pretend I don’t have one, but not two.”

When the interview is over, Paula talks with host Marc Bailey about libraries and then she gets her stuff so she can drive home. I explain to her driver how to get back to I-15, but first Paula needs something more important.

“I gotta get an Egg McMuffin.”

I walk away extra appreciative of Paula for being a trooper and when I get back to my home office, I get even better news: Ticket sales are doing even better than expected because of the media day.


SAT 7/2, 7:30pm click to purchase tickets

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SAT 7/2, 9:30pm click to purchase tickets

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“Nothing beats her idiosyncratic comedy routine, in which she weaves comedic gold from audience interaction as well as literally lying down on the job and doing some foot-puppet theatre. She’s not on Comedy Central’s list of the top 100 standup comics of all time for nothing.”
-straight.com (Vancouver’s Online Source)

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