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An Evening of Laughter with Paula Poundstone


Posted 09/15/2010
Posted by David Isgur

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Get ready for an evening filled with laughs because acclaimed comedian Paula Poundstone will be coming back to Hartford to perform in the MUSIC for a CHANGE benefit concert series on Saturday, Oct. 2, at 9 p.m. in Lincoln Theater, located at the University of Hartford, 200 Bloomfield Ave., West Hartford. Tickets are $25.

Appearing on stage with a stool, a microphone and a can of Diet Pepsi, Poundstone is famous for her razor-sharp wit and spontaneity. The Boston Globe said, "Poundstone improvises with a crowd like a jazz musician...swinging in unexpected directions without a plan, without a net." The paper also noted that, "You know Poundstone's a great comic the way you know any fine performer when you see one-there's a disarming ease in her craft, an immediate sense that she's so quick on her feet you need never worry about the possibility of something going wrong."

Her off-kilter sensibility and impeccable timing made her a perfect fit for NPR's "oddly informative," weekly news quiz program, "Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me," which she joined as a regular panelist seven years ago.  Hosted by Peter Segal, the show is broadcast in 50 states and gives Poundstone a chance to match wits with some of today's leading pundits - not to mention interact with some of the people at the forefront of our nation's eyes, such as Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer and former White House Press Secretary the late Tony Snow.

Poundstone, who grew up in Sudbury, Mass., became part of the Boston comedy scene in 1979, and then moved to San Francisco where she continued to flourish. By 1990 she'd relocated to Los Angeles and had starred in several comedy specials for HBO, as well as appeared on "Saturday Night Live" when friend and mentor Robin Williams hosted the show. Poundstone's first one-hour HBO special, "Cats, Cops, and Stuff," led to her becoming the first woman to ever receive the Cable ACE for best standup comedy special. She also starred in a self-titled talk show series for HBO (for which she won her second Cable ACE Award for Best Program Interviewer, beating out other, more recognized names in that field.)

By the mid-1990s, Poundstone had shifted her performances from comedy clubs to performing arts centers and theatres where her interactions with the crowd became the stuff of legend. In 1996, Paula taped her second hour special for HBO, "Paula Poundstone Goes to Harvard," - the first time that university has ever allowed it's name to be used in the title of a television show. Poundstone's first book, There's Nothing In This Book That I Meant To Say. (Harmony Books, a division of Random House, Hardcover pub: November 2006, with foreword by Mary Tyler Moore), is part memoir, part monologue, This unique laugh-out-loud book features biographies of legendary historical figures including Abraham Lincoln, Joan of Arc and Sitting Bull, among others, from which Poundstone can't help digressing to tell her own..

In 2007 BRAVO premiered Poundstone's latest standup comedy special: "Paula Poundstone: Look What the Cat Dragged In" In 2009 Poundstone released her first comedy CD: I HEART JOKES: Paula Tells Them In Maine, 60 minutes of the smartest comedy recorded live at the sensational Stone Mountain Arts Center - because as she says, "It's very hard to do it any other way."

The University of Hartford launched the MUSIC for a CHANGE series in the spring of 2000, with the goal of using music as means of helping the Hartford community. To date, more than $150,000 has been raised for a number of Greater Hartford nonprofit organizations.

For tickets to the concert, call the University box office at 860.768.4228 or 1.800.274.8587, or purchase them online at www.musicforachange.com. For more information about the MUSIC for a CHANGE concert series, go to www.hartford.edu/mfac.