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Life & Arts

Wait Wait: Paula Poundstone Ponders People, Politics... And Chairs?

Paula Poundstone will be performing at One World Theatre this Saturday, August 22. She'll be back in Texas in January for a show at Houston's Wortham Theatre Center.

From Texas Standard:

Comedian Paula Poundstone’s star began to rise in the 1980s – when she first started to appear on HBO standup specials. Since then, she’s gained a reputation for her quick, frank-speaking style and her preference for menswear. She’s probably best known by NPR listeners for her regular appearances on “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me.”

On prepping for shows:

“People think sometimes that I’ve like studied newspapers about the area before I’ve gotten there but, in truth, that would require far too much work for me. I discover a lot about the area just from the people that I talk to during the show. It’s a little bit like Willy Wonka’s chocolate river churning its chocolate — my show has a lot to do with who comes to see it. That’s why no two shows are the same. The other night I got a woman in Hyannis, Massachusetts. I asked her what she did for a living and she told me she taught a hospice boot camp. And, man, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. I had the best time. Every audience member thought the same thing that I did for just a second — which was what it sounded like, that she was making people at death’s door get up and work out — but really, of course, what it was was a training for people who are working with people with end of life issues.”

On why she takes pictures of chairs:

“You know, I started taking pictures of the chair in the dressing room years ago. And the point in the beginning was — I often get emails and calls from people who have like a charity or something and they want me to give away free tickets to the show — which I don’t have an issue with at all — but they always want, ‘oh, like a backstage pass.’ And I say to them, ‘you don’t want a backstage pass.’ It would be one thing if I were a rock 'n’ roll band I suppose — maybe it would be exciting. But, really, it’s just me and backstage is not really glamorous in the way people think it is. So originally I took a picture of the chair just demonstrating the lack of glamour in the dressing room area. And then, I don’t know, I took a few more. And now, if I don’t take a picture of the chair and post it, people write, ‘What’s the matter? Why didn’t you put the chair?’ So, I just do.”

On laughing about presidential politics:

“At this point I feel like, like in the old days when you’d go see a movie and there was a cartoon first — I feel like we’re just watching the cartoon right now. But it is fun to watch. And I watched the Republican debates like everybody else… Jeb Bush said a great thing. He said that in Florida, they call him ‘Jeb’ because he’s earned it. I have no idea what he meant by that. I assumed that Jeb was his name. I don’t know, maybe in Florida, they have a different rule where you have to earn each letter of your name and for a while he was just ‘J’ and then he was ‘Je.’ I don’t know.”

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