Paula Poundstone Q&A: in her car writing


When you’re as busy as comedian Paula Poundstone, it’s important to carve out creative time whenever you can.

Between being a mom to her 15-year-old son and two adult daughters, her duties as regular panelist on National Public Radio’s trivia show “Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me” and frequent comedy performances, she finds herself working on other projects in unusual situations.

Paula Poundstone, performing at Victoria Theatre in Dayton on Friday, recently took a break from writing the follow-up to her 2006 book, “There’s Nothing in This Book That I Meant to Say,” for a brief Q&A.

Q: What’s happening today? Anything fun going on?

A: “Oh, my gosh, I wish I could say there was. I’m in the parking lot of my son’s school. I sit in the car and write. It works pretty good because I don’t have all the damn animals around me and I can focus.”

Q: How far along are you in the new book?

A: “I’m maybe halfway through. It’s an arduous and painfully slow process. My first book took me nine years and I thought I’d set the bar so low I couldn’t possibly do worse but I may just surprise myself.”

Q: If it’s so arduous, what compelled you to write a second book?

A: “I’m not sure quite honestly. I was just thinking that only moments ago, but it’s fun once you get rolling. The problem for me is it’s not what I do for a living, so I don’t have any sort of sequestered time for writing. It often does come fairly low on the totem pole in terms of priority, and that’s frustrating.”

Q: What keeps you appearing on ‘Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me!’ after all these years?

A: “It has been a wonderful experience. I feel like a batter in a batting cage. They sort of lob us topics and we’re encouraged to say whatever we want and that is generally the reverse of the situation I’m usually in on something like radio or television. They normally want to tell you what to do so this is really glorious.”

Q: We’ve talked about everything but comedy? How is stand-up treating you these days?

A: “I’m the luckiest stand-up comic in the entire world, maybe the luckiest performer in the world. I consider myself a proud member of the endorphin-production industry. I get to go tell jokes to people who have come out to laugh for the night. I just love it.”



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