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Interview:
Paula Poundsone at the Royal Oak, 5 Things To Know
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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You don't have to look hard to find Paula Poundstone.

But you do have to look in a lot of different places.

The 56-year-old entertainer is a stand-up comic, actress, radio personality, author and raconteur, as well as foster parent with three of her own. She was one of Comedy Central's 100 greatest stand-up comedian's one of Maxim magazine's Worst Comedians of All Time, but the latter has not deterred her from a full schedule that ranges from performances to regular appearances on NPR's current events quiz show "Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me."

Her own life and current events certainly give Poundstone plenty to poke fun at, which she'll be doing this week when she stands up at the Royal Oak Music Theatre...

Speaking by phone from her home in Santa Monica, Calif., Poundstone says her stand-up act "is largely autobiographical. I talk about a houseful of kids and animals. I talk to the audience, the time-honored 'Where are you from?' 'What do you do?' kind of thing. That sets my sails. By nature no two shows are the same. I don't know what topics are going to come up. That seems to work out pretty good."

Poundstone says her initial goal was to be a comic actress, but she's come to view stand-up as her favorite creative endeavor. "I love my job," she says. "I love thinking of things I think are funny and saying them. I consider myself a proud member of the endorphin-production industry. I think that the entire world is in a metal health critics, and I really firmly believe that going out and being a part of a group that's come out to laugh for the night is at least a spoke on the wheel of making that better."

That was certainly the case the weekend after this year's presidential election, when Poundstone found herself with a weekend stand in Alexandria, Va., just outside of Washington, D.C. "Y'know, I'm still in shock. I haven't entirely figured out how to fold this new reality up so it can fit inside my head," she explains. "I certainly don't avoid it, but I'm not entirely sure how to present it. (In Alexandria) I really had no idea what to say, but I went on stage and I figured whatever it was, that was the place to say it. It was a perfect location, and the majority of people who come to see me are certainly Democrats -- that's just my sense. And we laughed and laughed and laughed and just were able to be amused with being in the same shocked headspace."

While she doesn't hide her political preferences, Poundstone does do her best to be inclusive with her audiences. "I always preface what I say with, 'If I sound biased it's because it's my turn with the microphone. If we don't agree on this topic I can guarantee you somewhere throughout the evening it'll come around, so just bear with me,'" Poundstone says. "The truth of it is we all have farm more in common than we have differences. Sometimes that's enough fro the people who happen to not have my same political views. Other times here and there people have been (angry) at me. But generally I always say, 'I'm not a political analyst. I'm not a historian. I'm open to the possibility I'm wrong. I'm not an expert -- but here are my little jokes.'"

Poundstone will be publishing her second book, "The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness," next year, following 2006's "There Is Nothing in This Book That I Meant to Say." "My book is timely," she says. "Each chapter is written as a science experiment in things I or other people thought would make me happy. I tell stories about my regular life, about raising a house full of kids and animals and doing my goofy, silly job. It took me seven years for a variety of reasons -- not the least of which is I'm just plain slow -- but it's No. 1 job is to be funny, and I think I pulled that off."

Paula Poundstone

Saturday, Dec. 17. Doors open at 8 p.m.

Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. Fourth St.

Tickets are $32 in advance, $40 day of show, $60 VIP.

Call 248-399-2980 or visit royaloakmusictheatre.com.


Web Site: www.royaloakmusictheatre.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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