Paula At The Capital

Ken AshfordTheatreLeave a Comment

PoundstoneBeen kinda busy, and not focussing on the news.  In fact, you know you’re not paying attention when you get your political news from Paula Poundstone.

Saturday night, I caught Ms. Poundstone’s show in Greensboro, and she was every bit as good as I expected.  I’d seen her before; I almost hate to admit this, but it was in 1984, when she had a small Boston following.  She played a renovated church in Harvard.  Back then, she was more of a stand-up comedian in the purest sense, with a regular set of material.

She still had prepared material Saturday night, mostly about what is going on in her life.  Back in 1984, it was about her cats.  Now, it’s about her kids.

But Paula fans know that her big thing now — as opposed to 24 years ago — is when she simply riffs with the audience, and talks off the top of her head.  She can be — and was — topical, talking for example about the recent primary results that day in South Carolina and Nevada.  She talked about the weather, doing an extended riff on her introduction, in which the "emcee" thanked the audience for coming out in such horrible weather.  ("Yeah, you really had to hunker down", Paula later quipped.  "What did you get — an inch?  If you tried to do snow angels, you’d get an abrasion!").

She did her trademark teasing of audience members and their vocations — the woman who designs sweaters, the woman who sells doors and windows and whose boss is a Blackberry, the woman who teaches aquatic aerobics, etc.  She commented on CTG’s season ("They did Wizard of Oz in November?  Aren’t most people doing Christmas plays?") and did a lot of political humor.

Having read* her book over Christmas break, it was great to see her.  She’s one of my favorite comediennes/social commentators.  She didn’t talk about her legal/alcohol problems (so much a part of her book), but touched upon her financial difficulties.  She performed for a solid 2.5 hours.  It flew by.

If you ever get a chance to see her, she’s still at the top of her game.  A great evening.  And if she’s not coming to your area, there’s always "Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me".

* Okay, I read about half of it, and listened to the rest on tape.