The world, says Paula Poundstone, is just waking up from a giant party. There are pizza crusts and broken bottles all around. We had a good time last night, but this morning we all have to pitch in and clean up — however we can.
That’s an analogy, of course. But she continues it by offering her own method: comedy.
Poundstone is a comedian with impeccable credentials: regular panelist on NPR’s sassy news quiz show, “Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me“; 1st woman to perform at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner; star of her own show on HBO and ABC.
She brings her act to Westport on Friday, Sept. 10 (9 p.m., Levitt Pavilion). It’s Homes with Hope‘s 3rd annual benefit.
So what’s it like to be spectacularly funny at an event to ease homelessness?
“People come to be entertained,” she says. “The fact that it’s for a good cause is icing on the cake. If people didn’t want to see me or another comedian, they’d just send in a check.”
Her act combines stand-up with audience interaction. “Don’t call it improv,” she warns. “That’s too high-falutin’. Say that it’s ‘unplanned.’ A lot of stuff unfolds from talking with the crowd.”
Poundstone lives in California, but she grew up in Massachusetts and looks forward to returning to New England. She doesn’t know much about Westport, though she knows it’s near Stew Leonard’s. “He’s got that petting zoo and milk thing, right?” she asks.
The first person tor recognize her comedic talents was her kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Bump. “What a great name,” she marvels. “If Charles Dickens knew anything about kindergarten, he’d have named a teacher Mrs. Bump.”
Told that a Mr. Bump — Fred — was a long-time science teacher in Westport, she wonders if he is part of “the famous Bump teaching dynasty.”
Comedy Central named Poundstone one of the 100 greatest stand-up comedians of all time. She’s honored, but pays homage to stars who paved the way for her. “In my home, we very much value the Three Stooges, Abbott and Costello, and Bob and Ray,” she says.
They’re all good — but none has Paula Poundstone’s 21st-century sensibility. On Sept. 10, Westporters will enjoy her razor-sharp wit first hand.
And help a great cause, while laughing very, very hard.
(Tickets are $45 and $100. Pre-show festivities — including cocktails, catering an an auction — are open to all sponsors and $100 ticket holders, beginning at 7 p.m. For tickets and more information, click here or call 203-226-3426.