Review: Poundstone splits Shryock’s sides

By Gus Bode

She may be an award-winning comedian, but Paula Poundstone wasn’t joking when she told the audience of her Friday night show at the Shryock Auditorium, ‘I’ll tell you everything.’

‘An Evening with Paula Poundstone,’ the first of Southern Lights Entertainment’s second year of shows, should probably have been re-named ‘A Tour Inside the Mind of Paula Poundstone’–the obsessive compulsive, carefree stand-up veteran provided a medley of unedited thought-spilling, parched-dry wit and relentless audience engagement.

Though she failed to explain her ridiculous attire–the blue suit/red tie and suspenders combination, along with her bright red lipstick and frizzled hair made her look like a disheveled Harley Quinn from Batman–the 49-year-old mother of three’s conversational approach showed the Shryock why she was named one of Comedy Central’s Best 100 Comedians of All Time.


Even though much of Poundstone’s act came stumbling haphazardly out of her mind–and it took her about ten minutes to get rolling–the two-time CableACE award-winner couldn’t miss with the Shryock audience most of the night. Her anecdote transitions were so fluid, it was as if she was speaking across the table to someone at lunch earlier that day–going from politics to her 13 cats to parenting, giving no sense of script.

Poundstone reinforced her impromptu-esque style with vigorous questioning of front-row audience members, toying with their answers and molding them into running gags for the rest of her performance–something most comedians generally don’t do.

Just when I thought she was finished with the salamander-studying doctor she picked on early in her act, Poundstone somehow worked it into a punch line for her next talking point about yoga mats.

And just when I thought she had left the general contractor in the middle section alone, she said her daughter lied too much and would make a great contractor.’

Poundstone’s unscripted nature and her genuine interest in her audience made showcased not just a knack for joke-telling, but an appealing personality as well.