Paula Poundstone On Why Comedy 'Is Really The Best Thing For You'

Jan 29, 2020

Paula Poundstone has been a regular panelist on the weekly NPR news quiz Wait! Wait!...Don’t Tell Me! for years. But she’s been influential on the American comedy scene since before that. Poundstone is also known for her HBO specials in the 1980s, she was the first woman to host the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, and she has just about endless stand-up credentials.

For Paula Poundstone, recording her "Nobody Listens to Paula Poundstone" podcast is the night she looks forward to all week "because it's a night of healing laughter."
Credit PaulaPoundstone.com

She's also the host of the Nobody Listens to Paula Poundstone podcast, which is a sort of comedy field guide to life. This is Poundstone's second podcast, the first, Live From The Poundstone Institute from NPR, was canceled due to budgeting. But when it comes to making podcasts, she says "it's throwing spaghetti up against a wall."

"Obviously, there are different kinds [of podcasts]. But in terms of comedy podcasts, we just do stuff that we think might be funny and we sort of amuse ourselves," says Poundstone. "And that seems to be working out pretty good ... It's the night that I look forward to all week because it's a night of healing laughter."

Poundstone says she grew up loving the sound of laughter, and wanted to be a part of making people laugh (with her, preferably not at her) ever since.

"It's just so much fun, ya know? It really is the best thing for you," Poundstone says about comedy.

No matter the news cycle or current state of the world, she notes that people connect through a shared emotional response.

"You feel like, 'Oh, I'm part of a whole. This is part of the human condition,' and it's really funny when you laugh about it as a group," says Poundstone.

She continues to tour and do stand-up, which brings her to the Pabst Theater on Saturday. Poundstone joined Lake Effect by phone ahead of her performance: