Tracker Pixel for Entry

​Talking to strangers

by Sabrina Hornung | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Humor | April 12th, 2017

“I don’t have a tour, like, on the back of a sweatshirt,” comedian Paula Poundstone says. “I go out every weekend. This weekend I went out Friday, Saturday and Monday. Mostly it’s Friday/Saturday or Thursday through Friday and Saturday and it goes for a lifetime. It’s not just for a month. It’s an ongoing tour.”

The routine may be tedious for some but for Poundstone it’s well worth the hustle and bustle. “It’s healing, both for me and for the audience. I think you know nature gave us this really cool thing of laughter. I don’t know if any other species has it--I think maybe raccoons do, but I am not certain.”

She’s been on the scene since 1979, cutting her comic teeth on the open mic stage in Boston at the age of 19. She accredits her success to being at the right place at the right time and considers the open mic experience as “college for comics.”

“I happened to be living in Boston busing tables for a living--it’s not like I turned my back on a law degree,” she went on to say. “It was really serendipitous in terms of time and place. I’ve certainly had a lifelong drive to do so--I just had no idea where to begin if it hadn’t been for the resurgence of standup.”

As a seasoned pro she might prepare for a show by practicing a little tap dance or by quickly reviewing her notes so she won’t skip a beat in front of an audience eagerly awaiting her appearance. She’ll even apply a little bit of lipstick.

“Oh I always wear bright red--I don’t really see any other lipsticks having a point--like a lighter shade.” She went on to say, “For a while there--there was a trend of an oddly brick shade that did nothing for me. I like BRIGHT red lips. No one can see anything else even in the back of the theatre, they see bright red lips.”

High Plains Reader: When you were in school were you the class clown and what made you want to make people laugh?

Paula Poundstone: I think right out of the gate I enjoyed the sound of laughter--it’s contagious in a good way. I loved being the person to make somebody laugh. The first sentence of the last paragraph of the summary letter written by my kindergarten teacher in May of 1965--which they did in lieu of a report card. It said, “I’ve enjoyed many of Paula’s humorous comments about our activities.” I think I really valued having an adult appreciate something I did.

HPR: What do you think the key to success is as a stand up comedian?

PP: I think you kind of just have to follow your own heart. What I try to do night after night, year after year is be the most myself that I can possibly be onstage. It’s not that I’m not influenced by other people--because I am. Even who I am as a human being let alone who I am on stage. The goal is to get down to the most me I can be. There’s no topic on which I can’t do jokes because it’s all coming from this somewhat unique character that is me.

HPR: So you have a book coming out on May 9. Can you tell us a bit about that?

PP: It took seven years to write. The eighth year was for editing and the cover and all that kind of crap. Part of the reason it took so long was my book is called, “The totally unscientific study and the search for human happiness.” Each chapter is written as an experiment and each experiment was in doing something I, or other people, thought would make me happy. Some of the experiments only took a day or so, but many of them took months. In addition to that fact, I am also not a writer for a living. I don’t have designated writing time in my day--so every week I was straining to get everything done that I needed to get done in my home and for my work with my kids so I could square away a bit of time to write.

HPR: What was the most important thing that you learned while writing your book?

PP: I think that happiness in general requires some effort. Some of it is a straight biochemical thing. You feel better when you exercise and eat right and drink a lot of water. I know these things to be true, but for some odd reason it’s very hard to do these things. I don’t know why…

I think also feeling a connection to people. That connection does not come from electronics. It does not come from social networking--social networking is an advertising platform. It’s really made us more isolated and one thing I’ve become quite conscious of doing is--I talk to strangers. In a way, I talk to strangers for a living, but I talk to individuals if I’m walking down the street, sitting at the airport, at a restaurant--everywhere.

The reason I do it very purposefully is I feel as a society we are slipping into an abyss with all of our silly stupid electronics. I think people feel very lonely and disconnected. It’s a great way to push back against that and I like to spread the word about doing it because I’m telling you it makes a difference in how you feel and how other people feel.

IF YOU GO:

Paula Poundstone

Saturday, April 15, 8pm

The Fargo Theatre, 314 N Broadway, Fargo

RECENTLY IN

Humor

Tracker Pixel for Entry Aaland Law Firm

Recently in:

Open records request info: disregard for state laws, citizens, and propertyMANDAN - Trouble followed TigerSwan everywhere the security company went in the Peace Garden State. Tasked with the mission to protect the Dakota Access…

Culture

​The Dark Net

by Chuck Solly

Did you know that there is a backside to the Internet? I guess we all have backsides, don’t we? The backside of the Internet has many functions, none of which you can access from Google. Dark Net sites are just like normal web…

Thursday July 27, 5pmDowntown CasseltonTake a day trip and cruise down to Casselton. Free car show, 50/50 raffle, cash, prizes, fun galore and just maybe an engine blow up. Hot rods on hot sod? Count us in. Hosted by the Swanks,…

Editorial

Who asked you?

by Sabrina Hornung

Our opinion: You cannot fool all the people all the time, unless they are from North Dakota.This week Gallup poll reported that at 59% North Dakota has the second largest Trump approval rating in the nation, nipping at West…

A reasonable conclusion: “We should have killed our baby.”For some unfathomable reason, some people think they are immortal, that death is not a part of life. Our culture tends to teach us to avoid the topic of death as if it…

The moment of truth has arrived. After seven weeks of sampling and judging some of the finest libations in the area the results for this year’s Cocktail Showdown have arrived. Christopher Larson, Raul Gomez and Sabrina Hornung…

On a sultry Thursday night, I sauntered into Luna. Situated on South University next to Bernie’s Beer and Wine, it isn’t exactly a hole in the wall, but it is certainly off the beaten path, and as described by their motto it is…

Most of us only hear about world records secondhand. Many might think they’re not up to the challenge, others might not see the point of breaking one, and others just read about them in books and think of them as an exotic…

Luc Besson’s “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” -- touted as the costliest independent motion picture ever made -- simultaneously melts eyeballs with its gorgeous visuals and narcotizes brains with its stiff…

Within the borders of North Dakota lie many worlds that are each expressing themselves in traditional art and culture. During his time as the state folklorist, Troyd Geist has been documenting a diverse array of cultural identities…

Summer Arts Intensive performs main stage musicalUnder the summer sun, something’s begun, taking over those summer nights. The 1978 movie and musical hit Grease is taking stage as part of the Summer Arts Intensive in West Fargo.…

Humor

​Talking to strangers

by Sabrina Hornung

“I don’t have a tour, like, on the back of a sweatshirt,” comedian Paula Poundstone says. “I go out every weekend. This weekend I went out Friday, Saturday and Monday. Mostly it’s Friday/Saturday or Thursday through…

Minnesota is certainly well known for being a hotspot for craft brewing. While most of the action has been centered around the Minneapolis metro area, yet another brewer from the Northern part of the state has decided to bring its…

Essential oils. They are all the buzz lately. It seems everyone has heard of them or is purchasing them. Some people know how to use them; others are just interested in the wonder of their complex scents.Essential oils are as…

Live and Learn

​The other shoe

by HPR Contributor

By Elizabeth Nawrotnawrot@mnstate.eduI look up from my hotel lobby breakfast astonished to see a framed print of Wassily Kandinsky's "Mit und Gegen,” a masterpiece of color and composition that just happens to be my favorite…

“…the struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.” – Milan Kundera“It may seem kind of bleak to say that the future of our planet rests in large part on the consciences of Republican…