Recognized as one of Comedy Central’s 100 greatest stand-ups of all time, Paula Poundstone will be performing her comedy show at Sag Harbor’s Bay Street Theater on Thursday, September 22. Dan’s Papers got the scoop on this very funny star, from what lead her to comedy, to her 14 cats and why she loved being part of the animated Disney•Pixar film Inside Out.
What led you to pursue comedy?
I would say it was the summary letter at the bottom of my kindergarten report card. My teacher wrote that she “enjoyed many of Paula’s humorous comments about our activities.” I look at that, and it means a lot to me. I think it was a turnkey moment. I still look at it today.
You’ve written a follow-up to There Is Nothing in this Book that I Meant to Say that’s coming out next year. Do you have a title?
It’s called The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness. It’s pretty autobiographical. Every chapter is an experiment in different things. It’s a really funny book about growing up alongside your kids. I’m looking forward to it coming out. The experience of writing has also been a study in self-doubt, because with comedy I have a sense of whether or not it’s an effective thing to say, but with writing you don’t have that. It’s like walking on ice that you’re not sure is solid. I find that I also need to be in the right mood to write, and a lot of things have to be present to put me in the right place to write. With comedy, all the elements are put out there for me.
What was it like being the voice of Forgetter Paula in Disney Pixar’s Inside Out?
So much fun! Just to be part of an animated picture. It’s the gold standard for what I do. It’s so brilliant, bright and funny. I also feel that we’re all suffering from a mental health crisis in the world today, and so I feel that a film that talks about the concept of emotional balance is really great.
Do you really have 14 cats?
I do, and I always get a judgmental response when people find out. When I’m asked how I got 14 cats, I say that I had 16 and two died. It’s a tremendous amount of work. I wouldn’t recommend it, but I can’t resist those kittens. I have calluses on my hands from lifting litter boxes.
What are you most looking forward to about performing at Bay Street?
I like the pictures in the lobby, and I like the Roddy McDowell themed dressing room. It’s very lovely, and there are all these pictures of Roddy McDowell up. You just don’t find that anywhere else. I’m also looking forward to the good Long Island food.
How many dates do you do a year, and how do you cope with all the road time?
Around 90. Fortunately I love the audience—if it was nothing but performing, it would be the best job in the world.
Paula Poundstone will be at the Bay Street Theater, 1 Bay Street in Sag Harbor onThursday, September 22 at 8 p.m. For more information visit baystreet.org or call 631-725-9500.