March 14, 2013

Paula Poundstone to appear at Waterville Opera House

Kennebec Journal Staff

Q: It's a beautiful venue, great acoustics -- I think you'll enjoy yourself there.

Poundstone: Oh, great! I get to work in a lot of refurbished, art deco-y ... I work in a lot of really great theaters -- the size of the venue I usually work in is not enormous, I don't do the 3,000 seaters.

Q: You've played at Stone Mountain Arts Center in Brownfield.

Poundstone: That's a great place, isn't it? There is no detail that has not been attended to -- I brought my son with me the last time I worked there, in part, so he could experience it.

Q: I understand you have another CD coming out soon?

Poundstone: I do, I do ... and actually Pat O'Donnell, sound man at SMAC -- the recording guy at Stone Mountain -- did this one, too. It's called "I Heart Jokes: Paula Tells Them in Boston" and it was recorded in a little club in Boston; and it's coming out on April Fool's Day.

Q: You're still going strong with "Wait Wait ..."?

Poundstone: I am, in fact we're going to be doing a "cine-cast" -- one of those things where it's shown in a movie theater ... it'll be interesting, people can watch the taping of the show on a movie screen which is longer than the radio show because it's edited. It's obviously not as theatrical a show as "A Prairie Home Companion" but I think it's fun to see a radio show being made.

Q: Well, it's one of my favorite radio programs Saturday morning on MPBN, that's for sure!

Poundstone: Oh, that's nice to hear. It's very fun to do, we have a good time ... my kids are never going to know what work is because my job is so fun.

Q: How do you prepare for it? Do you buy some newspapers and study up that way?

Poundstone: In terms of "Wait Wait..."? Yeah, I buy a bunch of newspapers during the week and usually stockpile them -- sometimes I'm able to get to them earlier but generally speaking on my airplane trip to Chicago or wherever I cram.

Q: When you come into Waterville, will you pickup a Morning Sentinel to prepare?

Poundstone: No, no ... probably not. I certainly never study up on the area. You know what I do? My favorite part of the night is when I do the time-honored "talk to the audience" ... in this way a surprising amount of information about the area is actually revealed. I get these little kind of biographies and I use that to set my sails, basically, you know? And it seems to work pretty good -- my show's not scripted, I certainly have material but I decide what to say, where to go just kind of on my mood and what appears to be the mood of the crowd and what people say to me.

Q: That's kind of like walking on a tightrope without a net.

Poundstone: Yeah, but the truth is it could go the other way, as well, which is you could have a whole scripted set that for some reason wasn't going over particularly well that night. And if you don't have anywhere to turn, well you're kind of screwed. So I'd rather try a tightrope without a net than being shot out of a cannon uncertain as to where I'm going to land. I actually would like to be shot out of a cannon ... I don't know how they do it but I'm assuming that they don't get injured -- or not terribly, anyway!

Q: Back to that CD ... that was unscripted with you just feeding off the crowd?

Poundstone: Yeah, that's exactly how to describe my regular act.

Q: Is there anything you'd like to pass on to the folks reading this article?

Poundstone: Just that I always like to let people know that they can follow me on Twitter and Facebook and find me at

Lucky Clark has spent over four decades writing about music and the people who make it. He can be reached at

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