Paula Poundstone

Ignore her past; this comedian has earned her way back onstage

Paula Poundstonecould be called the comeback kid, though it’s a nickname we’re not sure the comedian would appreciate. After a fairly successful career in standup, Poundstone’s reputation as a comic was overshadowed by her career as a criminal. Not that she went out and robbed banks or anything. In 2001, she was arrested on felony warrants for three counts of committing a lewd act on a child under the age of 14 and endangering four other children by driving while intoxicated. (Although very few details were revealed, it was known that Poundstone’s adopted children were involved in the incident.) No one thought there was anything funny about that. Poundstone eventually pled no contest to lesser charges, served a few years on probation and attended an alcohol rehab program.

She dropped out of sight for a while, happily letting other celeb scandals take the spotlight, then spent the next few years easing back into show business, returning to voicing cartoon characters and appearing on game shows. Her appearances on the NPR show Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me!went so well, she’s now a popular regular on the show. (One indication that her rehabilitation seems to be complete: This year Poundstone was asked to be the judge of a scholarship program for teenaged artists and writers, the very age group she had once been accused of abusing.)

Today’s show won’t be set in the Wait, Wait format, but it won’t be regular standup either. Poundstone’s signature style involves her, a stool and a microphone. That’s it. Few of her bits are rehearsed; instead she draws much of her humor from her interaction with members in the audience. 8 p.m. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas. For information, call 713-220-5700 or visit www.paulainhouston.com. $25 to $45.
Sat., Aug. 21, 8 p.m., 2010

 
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