6 Questions for Paula Poundstone

. March 13, 2019.

Talking about weed, sluts, and robots with the legendary comic

Legendary comic and author, Paula Poundstone will soon make a stop in Toledo. Known for her witty and intellectually observational humor, Poundstone has made a name for herself with her unique brand of stand up comedy since the 80s, earning herself the American Comedy Award for “Best Female Stand-Up Comic” in 1989. Currently, Poundstone is a frequent panelist on NPR’s weekly news show, Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me, hosts her own podcast, and recently released her second book, The Totally Unscientific Study of The Search for Human Happiness.

Before Poundstone comes to The Stranahan Theater on Saturday, March 15, we caught up with the award-winning comic to ask her about snooping in homes and why laughing is so damn fun.

You’ve been active in comedy for four decades. What are the best and worst cities you’ve performed in?
Cities surprise you. Places where I wouldn’t think I’d have a great time end up being great. I learned that lesson so long ago that I’m generally not too weary of things. I would say that is is not so much the city that matters, but where you are in the city and which neardowells have gathered that night. I prefer working in theaters instead of clubs. People ask me all the time, “Do you have anyone open for you?” I say, “Nope.” I have this really great crowd that comes out to see me and I’m not giving up any minutes with them. Why would I? It’s a horrible idea. It’s just me and the audience. I don’t need anyone warming them up. I’ll warm them up! We get pretty warm.

Do you ever make people laugh so hard that you’re jealous of them?
No, but that’s a great concept. I’ve been doing this for a while, it’ll be 40 years in a couple of months, and it’s still such a joy to make people laugh. I get a contact high. I consider myself a proud member of the endorphin production industry. I know there’s science behind it now, it’s some great healer or whatever, but I’ve loved the sound of laughter long before I understood the relationship between the brain and the body. But, it just feels good.

Are chronic weed smokers drug addicts in denial, or regular members of society?
Drug addicts in denial, no questions, but that might make them regular members of society. We have the vote here in California to legalize pot. I had always thought it was a no brainer and I was very much in favor of legalization. But I don’t know. I started to watch it takes its toll on people. I still voted to legalize it because I don’t want to see people in jail for it. We’ve already proven it doesn’t solve the problem. But I do think it gets away with a reputation that it doesn’t deserve. I don’t think that it is harmless. Plus these cigarette companies are excited. There will always be evil companies with a new product. I’m lucky I make money making people laugh.

Is it, honestly, okay to be a slut?
Well, it’s ok with me. I can picture some situations where it could do damage. But it’s ok with me. I don’t have sex at all, so in the balance of the world, somebody needs to be making up for me. Just go ahead. With new technology, you can sign up for an app where you register with the government as a slut. Tinder isn’t a dating app, it’s a fucking machine. People just have sex. It’s gross. Maybe it’s making up for me. Ultimately, it’s ok with me for people to be sluts, and, if they’re on Tinder, they are.

Do you look through drawers and cabinets when you’re alone in someone else’s home?
Well, I’m never alone in someone else’s home, but if I went to the bathroom or something… no. But, having said that, I’m sure I’ve missed out on a lot of great stuff. But, one time I was living in someone else’s apartment while they were gone, and I did open their night table drawer. There was a gun in there! I’ve never known if it was a real gun or not. It didn’t look real, but why would someone have a fake gun in there? They were kind of silly people, so maybe they did. I could never ask. It was probably a setup.

Do you think robots are going to take over? And, if so, are you excited about it?
I do not think they are going to takeover because I don’t think they’re going to make those kinds of developments in the ten short years we have before we have to completely focus on the effects of climate change. I maybe have higher hopes for our species than is really indicated by any of the evidence. I’m a person who lives with some amount of hope. I think that we will discover the need for one another before we ruin our lives by creating robots that can take over.

See Paula Poundstone at the Stranahan Theater.
$40-$50 | 8pm | Friday, March 15
4645 Heatherdowns Blvd.
1-866-381-7469 | Etix.com