Paula Poundstone is funny all the time. She just can’t help it. The acclaimed stand-up comedian, author, actor and commentator is known for her sharp-witted improvisation and audience interaction and was the first woman to perform stand-up at the White House correspondents dinner.
The Comedy Hall of Fame member recently joined Whoopi Goldberg, Joan Rivers and other prominent women in comedy for the Showtime documentary Why We Laugh Too. You can hear her cracking jokes about each week’s news on the NPR quiz show Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me — or you can catch her live Thursday night at the Bailey Concert Hall at Broward College in Davie.
How would you describe your style?
I don’t have a term, really, to describe my style. I’m just me. I talk about raising a house full of animals and kids, or I talk about trying to keep up with world events enough to cast a halfway decent vote. My act is largely autobiographical, I suppose, things that I encounter and things that I do. And my favorite part of the night is talking to the audience. I do the time-honored “Where are you from and what do you do for a living?” . . . . I use that from which to set my sails. So I never know exactly what I’m gonna do.
About how much of your show is improvised?
About a third of any given show is stuff that I’ve never said before.
Speaking of keeping up with world events, might you have a little fun at Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s expense?
Oh yeah, boy! I just read somebody’s Tweet the other day: Best reality show going. But in an odd way, I feel sorry for the silly little man. Safe to say, he’s gonna look back at these days and wish he’d handled it differently. One of the first people on it, of course, was Dr. Drew, who I just feel is a contemptible worm. You know, when something like this happens, because Dr. Drew can profit from it, he’s the happiest guy in the world. Then he can come in and sort of feign concern for the sufferer, as if he knows anything about it. ... I remember when poor, silly, stupid Britney Spears was having all her trouble, that guy was going all over the place talking about Britney’s addiction problems. And I’m like, “OK, there’s one of two things wrong with that: Either he sees her professionally, in which case he’s just breached a huge ethics problem, or B) he doesn’t know her at all. In which case, how dare he talk about her.”
So I have great sympathy for Britney Spears, who, by the way — there’s a Merchant Marines ship that in order to keep the Somali pirates off them plays Britney Spears music really, really loud. And it seems to be successful. That is just not a good review of your work.
Well, at this point in her career, she might agree to do that.
Hey — she ain’t hurtin’. She just signed a multi-kajillion-dollar deal for a show in Vegas. ... I told this to my 15-year-old son, and I said, “You know, a thousand years ago, they offered me one of those,” and he said “And you didn’t take it!?” Well, no, I didn’t. Honey, I don’t wanna live in Las Vegas. It’s one thing to visit there, it’s another to have to get out of the car to get your groceries when it’s 120.
8 p.m. Thursday, Bailey Concert Hall at Broward College, 3501 SW Davie Rd., Davie; 954-201-6884; $10-$35.