Paula Poundstone is not a fan of computers.
She suspects they’re not actually moving the human race forward, and during all the time she spends in airports, she’s collected a list of sad stories about people ignoring each other with their faces buried in their phones.
That said, the 54-year-old comedian does take time every day to type out a few witty tweets, often about the cities where she’s preparing to perform.
From her Tuesday Twitter feed:
“I’m going to Wichita on Sat., which was founded by some bad spellers who had more than 1 ita to choose from.”
Better grab a screen shot of that one.
“I just think the computer thing is going to come back to bite us, and when it does, I’m going to deny any involvement with Twitter,” Poundstone said during a phone interview this week from her home near Santa Monica, Calif.
Computers, teenagers, “Dancing With the Stars” and politics all could be topics Poundstone addresses when she brings her comedy show to Wichita’s Orpheum Theatre on Saturday.
Poundstone, an Emmy-winning standup comic and regular panelist on NPR’s popular quiz show “Wait, Wait...Don’t Tell Me,” has become famous during her 25-year standup career for never delivering the same performance twice.
Though she does tend to focus on topics that are relevant to her life at the time, including the aforementioned topics, she also likes to play off audience members. She always includes a segment in her show where she asks members of the crowd where they’re from, and what they do for a living. Their answers are springboards for Poundstone’s off-the-cuff, observational humor.
“I never really know where I’m going to go after that because I react as opposed to having it all prepared,” she said. “Some of that may be pure laziness.”
There’s almost no doubt that the topic of her three children – especially her youngest, 16-year-old Thomas – will surface during her show.
“My son is 16, and you know, not enough bad things can be said about that,” she said. “You just don’t see it coming. It’s horrible. It seems like he was coming along there for a little while. It was brief, but there was a glimmer of hope. I think they have a period where they return to a 2- or 3-year-old mentality, and I think we might be right smack in the middle of it.”
Poundstone says her son isn’t aware of the extent to which he’s the topic of her comedy, but joking about it is essential for getting through it. After each show, Poundstone said she’s approached by parents who tell her that she was describing their own son or who promise her that it gets better once the teenage years pass.
Throughout her career, Poundstone said, her topics have changed along with her life. When she first started out, she joked about busing tables and surviving public transportation. Now it’s about surviving teenagers and learning how to get out of the house again. Poundstone said now that her kids are old enough to be on their own, she’s going out more in Los Angeles, something she used to do all the time but feels unfamiliar now.
One thing she’s taken up is swing dancing lessons.
“I’m just as bad as one might think,” she said.
One fan was inspired a few years ago to start a Facebook page petitioning ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” to add Poundstone to the cast, she said.
It didn’t happen.
“It didn’t dominate the Internet,” she said. “Right about that time, someone tweeted me to say that the new list of celebrities was out, and Nancy Grace was on it, and I thought, ‘OK. That is such a slap in the face. That’s beyond “We don’t want you, Paula.” ’ Nancy Grace? Are you kidding me? No one even wants to see Nancy Grace, much less see her dance.”