Hey, Paula

Comedienne Paula Poundstone not only points out the skeletons in her closet, she makes them jump through hoops for the public. While most other celebrities gloss over their run-ins with the law, her official biography gutsily notes up front the sordid events of June 2001.

That's when Poundstone was arrested on a felony child-endangerment charge for driving drunk with her kids in the car. Later, four counts of lewd acts with a child were added to the misdemeanor, and all of a sudden it looked like Poundstone's life -- not to mention her career -- would be another flameout. You could just see her following in the path of such self-destructive comics as Sam Kinison and Bill Hicks.

Fast-forward to 2004. The lewd acts charges were dismissed as false, and Poundstone has gone to alcohol rehab, had her three adopted children returned and gotten back on the road with an act that talks about it all.

"I used to think those posters that said 'If life gives you lemons, make lemonade' were stupid," she has said. "Now I think, where the hell am I going to store all this delicious sweet-and-sour beverage?"

And these days, that's one of the few beverages Poundstone partakes of. She's currently on the road with her "Unauthorized Biography" tour. Armed with only a microphone, a stool and a can of Diet Pepsi, she makes observations, telling anecdotes about her own life and riffing on members of the audience.

Occupations are always a good starting point for Poundstone, and some suspicious audience members swear she uses "plants," given how fast Poundstone can work up routines about her new friends. Her wry observations are always delivered with a trademark even-keeled wonderment, no matter how bizarre the setup. So come out of the woodwork, you Houstonians with freaky jobs! Bartenders, you may want to stay home.

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Bob Ruggiero has been writing about music, books, visual arts and entertainment for the Houston Press since 1997, with an emphasis on classic rock. He used to have an incredible and luxurious mullet in college as well. He is the author of the band biography Slippin’ Out of Darkness: The Story of WAR.
Contact: Bob Ruggiero