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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    “Poundstone talks parenting, politics”

    The Wildcat caught up with writer and comedian Paula Poundstone via telephone to discuss the latest of the upcoming election and the trials of being a mother of three. Poundstone recently published a book, “”There’s Nothing in This Book That I Meant to Say,”” and will perform tonight at Centennial Hall.

    What made you want to write a book?

    I’ve always enjoyed writing, and I’ve written articles and essays and likes for years for various publications. The publication company actually approached me, so I didn’t have to write a proposal, thank goodness.

    What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment thus far?

    In terms of my career, the only thing I could think of that I always wanted and then finally got to do was be on Sesame Street.

    With Big Bird?

    Yes, I was on with the Snuffleupaguses.

    No Oscar the Grouch?

    No but Savion Glover was, he was so shy and quite, and I had seen him on the show before but I had never seen him dance. He was sort of sitting there quietly there, but there was really no fuss and feathers about him being there. He went on to be this great and famous tap dancer.

    Who have been your past role models to inspire you?

    I think the first stand-up I ever heard was Bill Cosby. My parents had all his albums, and I loved him. Still do. I wasn’t that familiar with the art of stand-up comedy when I was kid, because it was really a late-night medium back then. I was more familiar with comic performers, you know Dick Van Dyke, or I loved Mary Tyler Moore and Lily Tomlin.

    Do you have a ritual or a favorite song you listen to in order to pump you up before a show?

    I do have a ritual but it’s so mundane that I don’t think I even saw it as a ritual. In the hotel room I try to fill up on news of the day before I go on, I like to talk about what’s happening and what’s current. I always slap on bright red lipstick just before I go onstage. I haven’t been in fashion in I don’t know how many years and that doesn’t put me off at all.

    Do you have any great challenges of parenting?

    Multitude-ness of great challenges. I have actually done nothing for myself the entire summer, because the kids are off from school, with the exception of working. My desk is now six inches high of papers. Honestly, I haven’t even really gone to the bathroom by myself so I’m figuring between my desk and my bowels I’m not going to be clear until easily mid-October.

    How old are your kids now?

    Well now they’re 17, 14 and 10. But that doesn’t stop them from anytime I pick up the phone or anytime they hear the bathroom door shut suddenly they realize they had a need that couldn’t possibly wait five minutes, and I imagine that goes well into their 50s.

    Is your oldest going to graduate this year from high school?

    No, my oldest frankly may never graduate. You know they have the exit examine from high school? … Well the exit examine for her is like a little bit like, did you read Harry Potter and see the second movie? … OK, when Harry and Ron are trying to get though the barrier in the train station to get to platform nine and three-quarters and they have to push the cartridge wall and it just won’t let them go through. That’s kind of going to be like Toshia and graduation.

    Switching gears, have you been pretty pro-active with this upcoming election?

    I don’t know that I would call myself pro-active; I’ve certainly been interested. I had a party just a couple nights ago to play ping-pong, and at one point I realized as I looked around the table that every friend there was actually qualified to be the vice president republican nominee.

    So how do you feel about our possible future vice president Sarah Palin?

    I think it’s the silliest thing I ever heard of. I think that the good news is that it really does give that message that you can do anything you want to our children.

    Who do you feel our best candidate is?

    I am, like many, excited about Barack Obama. You know it may be that the last eight years may be too damaging for anything to bring us out the hole quickly. But the possibility that we might restore some morality to our leadership is very exciting. Did you watch the Olympics? … It was something about it that was just a metaphor for everything. The fact that our president was there, slapping volley ball players on the butt, and there’s Putin walking by him. The idea that the president was there to support the young American athletes, and I’m thinking to myself, ‘get your ass over to Iraq,’ you want to support American heroes – this would not be the place. This is American entertainment. As terrific as Michael Phelps is and unbelievable, he doesn’t need the president to give him a pat. But you know, some poor dad that’s stuck in Iraq for his 3rd, 4th, 5th tour of duty, he could use a butt slap.””

    So are you getting a lot of great material from this year’s election?

    Well yes, and for that I’m grateful. I’d be perfectly happy to see things go well, and then I can make stuff up if I needed to. The other night I went on stage, on Friday night, when they announced the vice presidential nominee. All I said, other than thank you for coming, was that ‘ya know, it’s been hard for me to think about my work today because all I could think about was the vice presidential nominee,’ and the room just went up.

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