Paula Poundstone | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Paula Poundstone

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A stand-up since 1979, blazer-and-tie-wearing liberal Paula Poundstone stepped into the national spotlight in 1992, during the presidential campaign, as a political correspondent for The Tonight Show. Since then she's had similar gigs and been a panelist on multiple game shows--currently she's a regular on NPR's Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me! Her combustible material can be satirical ("There was something I started to say ... I have terrible short-term memory loss, which I like to think of as presidential eligibility"). But her imaginative sets still revolve around the personal, banal, and morbid. "I'm kinda suicidal. I tried carbon monoxide once. It wasn't really working because my building has a big underground parking garage." She's perhaps most charming in her quick-witted spontaneity and down-to-earth crowd work, which she likens to "panning for gold." Pointing to an audience member dressed "fancy," Poundstone asked, "Did you have any idea where you were going when you came out tonight?" a Sat 2/17, 8 PM, Centre East, North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie, 847-673-6300, $32-$40.

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