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Published: Wednesday, February 07, 2018 @ 12:00 PM
— As the mother of children ages 19, 23 and 27, Paula Poundstone knows how difficult it can be for young adults to find their place in the world. The stand-up comic, performing at the Victoria Theatre in Dayton on Saturday, Feb. 10, admits she was lucky to discover her calling at the beginning of the stand-up comedy boom of the early 1980s.
“My kids are all trying to figure out their lives,” Poundstone said. “Everybody talks about how awful the teenage years are for the kids, but the young-adult years are horrendous. It was the same in my own life. When I was a kid I wanted to be Carol Burnett, Lily Tomlin and Gilda Radner but I didn’t know how to go about doing that. I didn’t always entertain the possibility I’d be a comic.
“I didn’t know how,” she continued. “Do you just start talking on a bus? I was lucky because I happened to be living in Boston and busing tables in ’78 or ’79. At the time somebody started producing stand-up comedy shows, so I had a path. Even though I was a screw up that did stuff wrong and I was miserable lots of times, I still had this North Star. I knew stand-up comedy was the goal so when in doubt, I deferred to that.”
Poundstone has a curious mind and is always on a quest to learn more. She’s a regular panelist on the NPR’s popular news-based quiz show, “Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me!” In May 2017, her book, “The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Kindness,” was published. Earlier this year, she hosted the short-lived NPR podcast “Live from the Poundstone Institute.”
“I like an information-based show, both as an audience member and as a performer, so I really enjoyed the podcast,” she said. “Sadly, we only did 10 episodes before the institute’s endowment ran out. My partner on that show was Adam Felber, who I met on ‘Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me.’ Adam was head of research and he’s become a great friend of our family.
While the program was cancelled, the experience gave Poundstone the itch to try another podcast. She and Felber are currently developing the new podcast, “Nobody Listens to Paula Poundstone.”
“It’s a comedy advice show and Adam is my cohort again,” she said. “We had so much fun doing ‘The Institute’ we decided to do this ourselves without the power of NPR behind us. We’re hoping it will be available to listeners in a month or two.”
WANT TO GO?
Who: Paula Poundstone
Where: Victoria Theatre, 138 N. Main St., Dayton
When: 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 10
Artist info: www.paulapoundstone.com
Published: Monday, September 18, 2017 @ 10:43 AM
— Comedian and ventriloquist Jeff Dunham is bringing his cast of characters on the road for his 60-city Passively Aggressive tour, which includes a Jan. 14, 2018 stop at Wright State University’s Nutter Center.
Tickets for the show will go on sale at 10 a.m. Monday, Sept. 25 at the Nutter Center box office and www.ticketmaster.com.
Dunham just released his latest stand-up special, “Jeff Dunham: Relative Disaster,” on Netflix this
Dunham holds the Guinness World Record for “Most Tickets Sold for a Stand-up Comedy
Dunham will be recognized on Sept. 21 when he receives a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Published: Wednesday, August 19, 2015 @ 12:00 AM
Updated: Wednesday, August 19, 2015 @ 12:00 AM
HOW TO GO
What: Cincy Brew Ha-Ha
When: Aug. 20-22 — 5 p.m.-midnight, Thursday-Friday; 4 p.m.-midnight, Saturday.
Where: Sawyer Point, 705 E. Pete Rose Way, Cincinnati
Cost: $5 (beer wristband), $1 per beer ticket
More Info: (513) 352-6180 or www.cincybrewhaha.com
“Somebody is getting a call now.”
Preceded by an expletive, this is Adam Ferrara’s reaction to the apparent news that the Cincy Brew Ha-Ha Festival, which Ferrara is co-headlining Aug. 20 to 22 at Cincinnati’s Sawyer Point, is outdoors.
“Comedy looks better with a roof and walls,” Ferrara went on to muse wryly.
In all fairness to Ferrara, he’s not the first comic to balk at doing the Brew Ha-Ha, our own annual comedy and craft beer festival. An open-air environment where voices are easily drowned out, where people are easily distracted and drift in and out isn’t generally considered conducive to a good stand-up comedy experience. But it hasn’t stopped the Cincy Brew Ha-Ha from being the biggest event of its kind in America. Ferrara is the Thursday night, Aug. 20, headliner, with actor/comics David Koechner and Brandon T. Jackson headlining Friday, Aug. 21 and Saturday, Aug. 22, respectively.
Ferrara is an Italian-American from Long Island, New York, where he said he initially used humor as a defense mechanism on the school bus. As a young adult, he had a resourceful method for breaking into the business.
“I had a car, and most city comics didn’t drive,” he said. “I would drive the headliner to the gig and be the opening act.”
Aside from his current stint on “Nurse Jacky,” where he plays a NYPD detective, Ferrara’s most visible acting roles were with Denis Leary on his critically acclaimed but short-lived early-aughts cop show, “The Job,” and later on the FX hit, “Rescue Me.” In both shows, Leary played a severely dysfunctional public servant. In “Rescue Me,” Ferrara played Chief “Needles” Nelsen, a wannabe hard-case who tries but doesn’t quite succeed at keeping order in the firehouse.
“I admired (Nelsen’s) humanness,” Ferrara said. “He was thrust into a leadership role before he was ready. He knew he was either going to define the moment or let it define him. He didn’t give up. That show was a great opportunity for an actor because you had to do everything: drama, comedy, slapstick. We did a Webisode where this character named Lou comes in with a sandwich. He gets up and leaves, and we all have to come in and take a bite out of the sandwich. Nobody said a word. It was all timing.”
On his Comedy Central special, “Funny As Hell” (also released on DVD), Ferrara frequently mined his family and ethnic heritage for jokes. Relationships are also a frequent topic, particularly the culture clashes that occurred when he dated a Jewish woman.
“Truth is funny, and falsity isn’t,” he said. “That’s the nice thing about an audience. It’s a great source of feedback. It’s like a giant lie detector.”
These days, he talks a great deal about his Woody Allen-esque experience of being a New Yorker living in the L.A. area.
“I live in Santa Monica, and I don’t fit in,” he said. “I’m a car guy, and I have this dual-exhaust, fire-breathing, 18-foot, 5-inch monster. I have three garages and it fits in none of them. Everyone else is driving Priuses. They tell me my car is bad on gas. I tell them, ‘no, it’s horrendous on gas.’ And by the way, if you’re on a skateboard and you’re over 20 years old, I’m aiming for you.”
As a known amateur car buff, Ferrara also landed a co-hosting job on the American version of “Top Gear.” As a fan of the original UK version, Ferrara was excited but apprehensive.
“When I was told about the American version, I was like ‘don’t screw it up,’ ” he said. “Then they told me they wanted me on it, and I was like, ‘I don’t want to screw it up.’ The producers were the same so I was comforted that it was basically just the mother ship expanding. The first day of shooting, I was told to go not to an office or dressing room, but to a parking lot. It was like a ransom drop.”
Needless to say, Ferrara’s repertoire as an entertainer is very diverse, though he says doesn’t favor one type of performance over any other.