Paula Poundstone owes me a new pair of boxers.
I peed myself laughing at her Saturday night show. The comedian — best known for her regular appearances on NPR’s “Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me!” — rocked a sellout crowd at the Westport Country Playhouse.
It was a benefit for Homes With Hope. Between ticket sales and a live auction, the event raised huge bucks — 12% of their annual budget — to help fight homelessness. As a brief video by 4th Row Films pointed out, it’s a problem even in this prosperous town.
Poundstone knew her audience. She picked a few random people. There was, incredibly, former Homes With Hope director Pete Powell (he’s an Episcopal priest — as an atheist, she had great fun with that), as well as a CPA, and a guy in budgeting for a film company (with, to Paula’s great delight, several assistants).
The theme throughout the night was Westport’s affluence. She joked about the difference between the pledges made at the Playhouse (2 people offered $20,000 each) and her kids’ PTA event (“we start at $1, and go down from there”).
She asked what the main industry in Westport is. “Money,” someone said. All night long, Poundstone returned to the idea of folks in the audience taking care of each other’s money.
It was all in good fun. This was a well-heeled crowd, but they were raising funds for their much-less-fortunate fellow citizens, who live here too.
Let no good deed go unpunished.
As a public figure, Poundstone updates her Facebook page often. Just before the show began, she posted: “I’m in Westport, Connecticut. I’m trying to reach out to the disenfranchised members of the 1%.”
Her fans responded. “You just keep taking care of the comical needs of those poor uptight old white folks Paula,” one wrote. “We appreciate it.”
“Good luck,” another said. “I hear that crowd is too lazy to work for a living.”
A woman in Westport on business huffed, “wouldn’t you know, the 1% grabbed all the tickets for themselves! Typically entitled, these folks are, I swear.”
“Talk to ’em straight, Paula,” a fan commented. “They need to hear from you what’s really going down outside their protected bubble.”
Over 700 people “liked” the post. Presumably, they liked her dig at the “1%.”
That’s fine. We loved Paula Poundstone. She loved Westport — and gave a great hour-long performance. And everyone loved raising oodles of money for Homes With Hope.
But she still owes me a new pair of boxers.