Paula Poundstone Returns to East Greenwich

by | Aug 31, 2023

Comedian takes the Odeum stage in September 

It all started in New England. 

No, Paula Poundstone wasn’t born in Massachusetts, but that’s where she moved right after her birth and where her kindergarten teacher wrote, “I’ve enjoyed many of Paula’s humorous comments about our activities,” on her report card. A report card that Poundstone frequently reread as a child, excited at her ability to “delight” an adult, she said.

Since then, Poundstone has been doing comedy in one form or another for over 44 years.

She started doing stand-up catching open-mics nights at clubs in Boston in 1979 before finding a home in the San Francisco comedy scene. Since then, she’s written two books, had a special on HBO, is a regular panelist on NPR’s comedy show Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me! and is host of the weekly podcast Nobody Listen to Paula Poundstone.

Despite having worked in comedy for so long, with Poundstone audiences are sure to hear fresh material because while she has some planned jokes, she describes her routine as “conversational,” given her inability to keep long structured jokes or anecdotes in her head. She equated her mind to the arcade game where people stand in a glass-encased box trying to grab paper money being blown through the air.

Poundstone said her sense of humor on stage comes from the energy in the room, some preplanned material, and what interesting or funny things happened to her on the way to the theater.

Like, for instance, the time she couldn’t find the theater where she was meant to be performing one night. It wasn’t her fault, she thought, having never been there before, only to arrive and notice not one, not two, but three signed headshots of herself hanging on various walls.

In a recent interview, she mentioned taking the stage in Boston for the first time after the pandemic shut theaters and clubs down. It “blew my hair back,” she said, but she couched her experience by explaining that people seem only to be learning now how to laugh and enjoy being in a public setting again.

“That communal experience of taking something in really humanizes us,” Poundstone said of the theater, one of her favorite places to perform. “I don’t think anybody ever really paid that much attention to this fact before.”

Well, with 22 shows listed on her website between now and the end of the year, Poundstone will get her chance to assist in that communal experience.

“I’m not sure what happens next,” she said. “For now, it’s great.”

Poundstone will be performing on Friday, Sept. 22, at 8 p.m. at the Greenwich Odeum. Click HERE for tickets.

Photo credit: Michael Schwartz

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