December 29, 1959 |
Huntsville, Alabama, U.S.
|Genres||Observational comedy, improvisational comedy|
|Subject(s)||Everyday life, motherhood|
|Notable works and roles||Cats, Cops and Stuff
The Tonight Show
The Rosie O'Donnell Show
Paula Poundstone (born December 29, 1959) is an American stand-up comedian.
Early life 
Poundstone was born in Huntsville, Alabama, and her family moved to Sudbury, Massachusetts about a month after her birth. Poundstone attended Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School, but dropped out to pursue a show business career. Her jobs have included busing tables and working as a bicycle messenger.
Paula Poundstone started doing stand-up comedy at open-mic nights in Boston in 1979.In the early '80s Paula moved to San Francisco where she became legendary for her improvisational sets at The Other Cafe comedy club in the Haight-Ashbury. She characteristically performs dressed in a suit and tie. In 1984, Poundstone was cast in the movie Hyperspace but she did not further pursue an acting career. Instead, she continued as a comedian and began appearing on several talk shows. In 1989, she won the American Comedy Award for "Best Female Stand-Up Comic". In 1990, she wrote and starred in an HBO special called Cats, Cops and Stuff, for which she won a CableACE Award -- making her the first female to win the ACE for best Standup Comedy Special. She worked as a political correspondent for The Tonight Show during the 1992 US Presidential campaign and did field pieces for The Rosie O'Donnell Show in 1996. In 1993, Poundstone won a second CableACE Award, and began writing the column, "Hey, Paula!" for Mother Jones (1993–1998). Paula featured in her own variety show, The Paula Poundstone Show, on ABC (which lasted only two episodes). She also appeared on Hollywood Squares and was a regular panelist for the remake of To Tell the Truth. and NPR's Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!
Poundstone has also worked as a voice actress. She voiced Judge Stone on Science Court (also known as Squigglevision), an edutainment cartoon series done in the Squigglevision style that aired on Saturday mornings on ABC Kids in 1997. Staying with the makers of Science Court, Tom Snyder Productions, she was the voice of the mom, Paula Small, in the cartoon series Home Movies for the show's first five episodes, which aired on UPN. Between the show's 1999 UPN cancellation and 2000 revival on Cartoon Network, Paula chose to leave the show. The show's character, Paula Small, was named and loosely modeled around Poundstone.
Paula is #88 on Comedy Central's 2004 list of the 100 greatest stand-ups of all time, and #7 on Maxim magazine's list of "Worst Comedians of All Time".. In November, 2012 Poundstone was honored, along with Nina Totenberg, NPR correspondent; David Brooks, New York Times columnist; and Bob Mankoff, New Yorker Cartoon Editor, with the 2012 Moment Magazine Creativity Award at their 35th anniversary symposium, followed by a panel on the intersection of humor and politics. In 2010 she was inducted into the Comedy Hall of Fame. Her 2nd HBO standup special, "Paula Poundstone Goes To Harvard", taped on campus at Saunders Hall, was the first time the venerable institution ever allowed its name to be used in conjunction with a television show.
Around the same time as her Bravo special, Poundstone released her first book, There Is Nothing in this Book That I Meant to Say. Described as an autobiography that is "part memoir, part monologue", the book intertwines historical biographies with anecdotes from her own life. In 2007 Paula became the National Spokesperson for United for Libraries, a grass roots division of the American Library Association that work to support their local libraries. 
Poundstone tours the country and is a regular panelist on the Peabody Award winning weekly news quiz show, Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! on National Public Radio. In 2011, she was a panelist on a BBC America year end special of Wait Wait Don't Tell Me! and in April, 2013 she was on the panel when the show did its first Cinecast and was seen in movie theatres nationally. Poundstone has also appeared on A Prairie Home Companion, appearing in Los Angeles shows and at joke shows.
Poundstone released her first comedy CD, I HEART JOKES: Paula Tells Them in Maine, in 2009. Her newest CD, "I HEART JOKES: Paula Tells Them in Boston" was recorded during a performance at the historic Wilbur Theatre in the heart of the city and was released on April Fool’s Day 2013. 
Personal life 
I am not, at this time, a virgin myself, but I don't like sex, so I abstain, which should certainly be at least a cousin to virgin, perhaps deserving something in an honorary title. Should I become a beloved hero in my time, my followers could refer to me as "virginish." ...The idea that I'd get to my bed and there'd be someone in there with whom I was supposed to have an activity is horrifying to me. It's a safe bet that I'm not good at sex, that I do it wrong.
Poundstone frequently refers to cats in her comedy and on her website. She shares her home with 16 cats and supports Alley Cat Allies, a nonprofit advocacy organization dedicated to transforming communities to protect and improve the lives of cats.
In 2001, Poundstone was charged as a result of an incident in which she was driving her children while intoxicated. She pleaded "no contest" to felony child endangerment and a misdemeanor charge of inflicting injury on a child. Poundstone was sentenced to five years' probation and 180 days in an alcohol rehabilitation program. Following completion of the program, she was granted full custody of her adopted children.
- Paula Poundstone - Notable Names Data Base
- "Comedy Central Top 100 Greatest Standups of All Time". listology.com. Retrieved 2009-12-02.
- The Worst Comedians of All Time on Maxim
- "Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!". Retrieved 2009-01-26.
- http://www.paulapoundstone.com. Missing or empty
- Poundstone, Paula (2007). There Is Nothing in this Book That I Meant to Say. Three Rivers Press. ISBN 0-307-38228-1.
- "About", Paula Poundstone official web site. Retrieved 2011-10-03.
- "The Ups and Downs of Paula Poundstone", Talk of the Nation, Neal Conan, November 20, 2006. Retrieved 2011-10-03.
- Genter, Aimee. "Hey, Hey Paula". Just Out. Accessed 12 December 2011.
- Poundstone, Paula (November 27, 2007). There is Nothing In This Book That I Meant To Say. Berlin: Three Rivers Press. p. 288. ISBN 0-307-38228-1.
- PAULA POUNDSTONE JOINS CAMPAIGN TO HELP FERAL CATS – AND THE PEOPLE WHO CARE FOR THEM, Alley Cat Allies Press Release, April 21, 2010
- Paula Poundstone avoids trial (retrieved 6 February 2009)
- CNN.com - Paula Poundstone custody battle on hold - Nov. 2, 2002
- CNN.com - Comedian Poundstone gets custody of children - Dec. 11, 2002
- The Hard Road Back For Paula Poundstone from The New York Times
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Paula Poundstone|
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Paula Poundstone|
- Official website
- Paula Poundstone at the Internet Movie Database
- Works by or about Paula Poundstone in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- Poundstone's first column in Mother Jones
- Los Angeles Times interview by Candace A. Wedlan
- Radio interview with Poundstone on The Sound of Young America:MP3 Link
- Interview with Poundstone on the Feast of Fools (podcast)