1. Paula Poundstone is an American stand-up comedian, author, actress, interviewer and commentator.
2. Beginning in the late 1980s, she performed a series of one-hour HBO comedy specials.
3. She provided backstage commentary during the 1992 presidential election on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
4. Poundstone was born in Huntsville, Alabama, the daughter of Vera, a housewife, and Jack Poundstone, an engineer. Poundstone attended Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School, but dropped out before obtaining her diploma.
5. Her jobs have included busing tables at an IHOP and working as a bicycle messenger.
6. Poundstone started doing stand-up comedy at open-mic nights in Boston in 1979.
7. In the early 1980s she traveled across the United States by Greyhound bus, stopping in at open-mic nights at comedy clubs en route.
8. She stayed in San Francisco, where she became known for improvisational sets at The Other Cafe comedy club in the Haight-Ashbury.
9. She was seen by Robin Williams, who encouraged her to move to Los Angeles and included a stand-up comedy set for her on an episode of “SNL” he hosted.
10. In 1989, she won the American Comedy Award for “Best Female Stand-Up Comic”.
11. In 1990, she wrote and starred in an HBO special called Cats, Cops and Stuff, for which she won a CableACE Award — making her the first female to win the ACE for best Standup Comedy Special.
12. She went on to another first with her second HBO stand-up special, Paula Poundstone Goes To Harvard, taped on campus in Sanders Theatre.
13. Poundstone also had her own Bravo special in 2006 as part of their three-part Funny Girls series, along with Caroline Rhea and Joan Rivers, titled Paula Poundstone: Look What the Cat Dragged In.
14. In 1993, Poundstone won a second CableACE Award for “Best Program Interviewer” for her HBO series “The Paula Poundstone Show.”
15. She was then featured in her own variety show, The Paula Poundstone Show, on ABC .
16. She also appeared on Hollywood Squares and was a regular panelist for the remake of To Tell the Truth.
17. She voiced Judge Stone on Science Court , an edutainment cartoon series done in the Squigglevision style that aired on Saturday mornings on ABC Kids in 1997.
18. Poundstone tours the country extensively, performing stand-up comedy in theaters and performing arts centers.
19. She is known for never doing the same act twice and spontaneously interacting with the crowd.
20. Writes Nick Zaino III of the Boston Globe, “Her crowd work has always been unusual—her natural disposition, curious and ever-perplexed, allows Poundstone to aggressively question audience members without ever seeming threatening.