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Paula Poundstone

Stand-Up Comedian, Television Personality and Panelist on NPR's "Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me"

Stand-Up Comedian, Television Personality and Panelist on NPR's "Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me"

Travels From Travels From:
Santa Monica, CA, USA
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Paula Poundstone Biography

Appearing on stage with a stool, a microphone, and a can of Diet Pepsi, Paula Poundstone is famous for her razor-sharp wit and spontaneity. The Boston Globe said, “Poundstone improvises with a crowd like a Jazz musician…swinging in unexpected directions without a plan, without a net.” Paula is so quick and unassuming that audience members at her live shows often leave complaining that their cheeks hurt from laughter and debating whether the random people she talked to were "plants."

Paula grew up in Sudbury, Massachusetts and by the time she was 19 was traveling on a Greyhound bus across the country -- stopping in at open mic nights at comedy clubs as she went. She credits her kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Bump, with being the first one to spot her comedic talents. Bump wrote in a letter to Paula’s parents: “I have enjoyed many of Paula’s humorous comments about our activities.”

In 1979 Paula began nurturing her standup comedy talent as part of the Boston comedy scene, and then moved to San Francisco where she continued to flourish. By 1990 she’d relocated to Los Angeles and had starred in several comedy specials for HBO, as well as appeared on "Saturday Night Live" when friend and mentor Robin Williams hosted the show.

Paula’s first one-hour HBO special, “Cats, Cops, and Stuff.” made her the first woman to ever receive the Cable ACE for best standup comedy special. She also starred in a self-titled talk show series for HBO (for which she won her second Cable ACE Award for Best Program Interviewer, beating out other, more recognized names in that field.)

In 1992, Poundstone forsook what she considered the ‘staid’ 5-minute standup set on late night talk-shows for something she thought would be more real with the audience and filed memorable field commentary of the Presidential Election for the "Tonight Show with Jay Leno." This led to her own show on ABC, aptly named, “The Paula Poundstone Show,” and behind-the-scenes coverage of that year’s EMMY Awards for which she was critically acclaimed. During this time, she also became the first woman to perform at the White House Correspondents dinner.

By the mid-90’s, Poundstone had shifted her performances from comedy clubs to performing arts centers and theatres where her interactions with the crowd became the stuff of legend. In 1996, Paula taped her second hour special for HBO, “Paula Poundstone Goes to Harvard,” -- the first time that elite university has ever allowed it’s name to be used in the title of a television show.

Paula’s off-kilter sensibility and impeccable timing made her a perfect fit for NPR’s “oddly informative” weekly news quiz program, “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me,” which she joined as a regular panelist.

It took Paula eight years to write her first book, "There’s Nothing In This Book That I Meant To Say." Part memoir, part monologue, Paula’s unique laugh-out-loud book features biographies of legendary historical figures including Abraham Lincoln, Joan of Arc and Sitting Bull, among others, from which she can’t help digressing to tell her own.

In 2007 BRAVO premiered Paula’s standup comedy special: “Paula Poundstone: Look What the Cat Dragged In.” Other credits include: Frequent appearances on Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion;” Voice of Judge Stone on ABC’s Saturday Morning “Science Court” aka “Squigglevision,” and “Paula,” the mom in Cartoon Network’s “Home Movies." Paula has made numerous appearances on “Late Night with David Letterman,” "Sesame Street," “To Tell The Truth” and “Comic Relief.”

Paula won an EMMY Award for her field pieces on PBS’s “Life & Times,” and is also the author, along with her high school math teacher, Faye Ruopp, of three math text books for children. For five years, she wrote a back-page column in Mother Jones.

In 2009 Paula released her first comedy CD, "I HEART JOKES: Paula Tells Them In Maine."

Paula continues as the National Spokesperson for (ALTAFF), The Association of Library Trustees Advocates Friends & Foundations, a national network of enthusiastic library supporters who believe in the importance of libraries as the social and intellectual centers of communities and campuses. Paula is supporting libraries on a local level by partnering with promoters and the local Friends organization in cities where she performs.

Paula began fostering children in the early 1990s, and went on to become a parent to three children of her own, Toshia, 18, Allison, 15, and Thomas E., 12. The family lives in Santa Monica, California.

Paula Poundstone Speaking Topics

  • An Evening with Paula Poundstone

  • There's Nothing in This Book That I Meant to Say

Paula Poundstone Videos

  • Craig Ferguson 2012 30 07 Paula Poundstone 480p - YouTube
  • Paula Poundstone on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson: 11 ...
  • InnerVIEWS with Ernie Manouse Classic: Paula Poundstone ...

Paula Poundstone Books

  • The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness
    The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness

FAQs on booking Paula Poundstone

  • How do I book Paula Poundstone to speak at my event?

    Our experienced booking agents have successfully helped clients around the world secure speakers like Paula Poundstone for speaking engagements, personal appearances, product endorsements, or corporate entertainment since 2002. Click the Check Availability button above and complete the form on this page to check availability for Paula Poundstone, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to discuss your upcoming event. One of our experienced agents will be happy to help you get speaking fee information and check availability for Paula Poundstone or any other speaker of your choice.
  • What are the speaker fees for Paula Poundstone

    Speaking fees for Paula Poundstone, or any other speakers and celebrities, are determined based on a number of factors and may change without notice. The estimated fees to book Paula Poundstone are for live events and for virtual events. For the most current speaking fee to hire Paula Poundstone, click the Check Availability button above and complete the form on this page, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to speak directly with an experienced booking agent.
  • What topics does Paula Poundstone speak about?

    Paula Poundstone is a keynote speaker and industry expert whose speaking topics include Authors, College, Comedians, Entertainment, Virtual Speakers.
  • Where does Paula Poundstone travel from?

    Paula Poundstone generally travels from Santa Monica, CA, USA, but can be booked for private corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances. For more details, please contact an AAE Booking agent.
  • Who is Paula Poundstone’s agent?

    AAE Speakers Bureau has successfully booked keynote speakers like Paula Poundstone for clients worldwide since 2002. As a full-service speaker booking agency, we have access to virtually any speaker or celebrity in the world. Our agents are happy and able to submit an offer to the speaker or celebrity of your choice, letting you benefit from our reputation and long-standing relationships in the industry. Please click the Check Availability button above and complete the form on this page including the details of your event, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536, and one of our agents will assist you to book Paula Poundstone for your next private or corporate function.
  • What is a full-service speaker booking agency?

    AAE Speakers Bureau is a full-service speaker booking agency, meaning we can completely manage the speaker’s or celebrity’s engagement with your organization from the time of booking your speaker through the event’s completion. We provide all of the services you need to host Paula Poundstone or any other speaker of your choice, including offer negotiation, contractual assistance, accounting and billing, and event speaker travel and logistics services. When you book a speaker with us, we manage the process of hosting a speaker for you as an extension of your team. Our goal is to give our clients peace of mind and a best-in-class service experience when booking a speaker with us.
  • Why is AAE Speakers Bureau different from other booking agencies?

    If you’re looking for the best, unbiased speaker recommendations, paired with a top-notch customer service experience, you’re in the right place. At AAE Speakers Bureau, we exclusively represent the interests of our clients - professional organizations, companies, universities, and associations. We intentionally do not represent the speakers we feature or book. That is so we can present our clients with the broadest and best performing set of speaker options in the market today, and we can make these recommendations without any obligation to promote a specific speaker over another. This is why when our agents suggest a speaker for your event, you can be assured that they are of the highest quality with a history of proven success with our other clients.

Paula Poundstone is a keynote speaker and industry expert who speaks on a wide range of topics such as An Evening with Paula Poundstone and There's Nothing in This Book That I Meant to Say. The estimated speaking fee range to book Paula Poundstone for your event is available upon request. Paula Poundstone generally travels from Santa Monica, CA, USA and can be booked for (private) corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances. Similar motivational celebrity speakers are Bill Hader, Laraine Newman, Loretta LaRoche, Amy Poehler and Joy Behar. Contact All American Speakers for ratings, reviews, videos and information on scheduling Paula Poundstone for an upcoming live or virtual event.

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