Paula Poundstone is still trying to process the presidential election, which was conducted, according to filmmaker/humorist Michael Moore, in a post-fact world.
“It really is difficult to digest,” Poundstone says while calling from her Los Angeles home. “But it reminds me of when I ran for class president in sixth grade. Me and some other kids promised everyone that if we were elected, we would have a soda machine in school. A teacher took us aside and told us that we couldn’t say that because it wasn’t true. Well, that certainly didn’t prepare me for adult politics.”
Poundstone, who will perform Thursday at Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, is taken aback that Hillary Clinton had more than a million more votes than Donald Trump, but is not the president-elect.
“That’s just one of the many things about this election that’s hard to comprehend,” Poundstone says. “I’m still reeling from this election like a lot of people are. If anyone ever thought their vote didn’t count, look at this year’s election. It was a battle for president no one ever witnessed. It’s been a very unusual year.”
Poundstone, who grew up in the suburbs of Boston, is adept at talking about the unusual, whether it’s politics, pop culture or her personal life.
“It’s just what I do,” Poundstone says. “It’s been so long since I started, I don’t even remember what I did before stand-up.”
The cerebral humorist has been a comic since 1979, when she started doing open mics in Boston. “I traveled across the country and I ended up in San Francisco,” Poundstone says. “It all started to come together there. I met Robin Williams and he was just incredible. He was so generous and so encouraging. I found myself during the ’80s.”
In 1989, Poundstone won the American Comedy Award for Best Female Stand-Up Comic. The following year she won the CableACE Award for Best Stand-Up Comedy Special.
“All of that is nice but the greatest thing is that I’ve been a working stand-up for all of these years,” Poundstone says. “I have the greatest job in the world. I get to go on stage and talk about myself and how I feel about things and get paid for it. I still realize that it’s pretty amazing.”
Poundstone loves living in the moment during shows by mixing it up with audience members. “It’s great to have solid, prepared material but magic can happen when you ask someone, ‘what do you do for a living?’ It makes every show different. People love it because it happens in front of them. I love it because I’m amused by it most of the time. I like to mix it up. I love talking with the audience, telling my stories and just having fun..”
These days Poundstone plays about 100 dates a year and is a frequent panelist on the NPR quiz show “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me.”
“That’s not bad,” Poundstone says. “I can’t be out all of the time. I have a lot of responsibility, like a lot of adults have. I have children and cats to take care of. My children need me so I can keep them off of those devices. Screens are not good for children. Reading from an actual book is good for kids – and going to a stand-up show is good for adults.”
Who: Paula Poundstone
When: 8 p.m. Thursday
Where: Meymandi Concert Hall, 2 E. South St., Raleigh
Info: 919-996-8700 or dukeenergycenterraleigh.com