Published: Wednesday, February 07, 2018 @ 12:00 PM
By: Don Thrasher - Contributing Writer
— 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.”