DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!
Apr 25 2014

Funny Girl

by Hope L

Comedy Portrait Session With Paula Poundstone At The Ice House Comedy ClubI really enjoy some stand-up comedians, and I’ve actually read a few books by female comedians (or comediennes) that make me chuckle.

But recently, I read one that made me crack up out loud.  A lot.

There’s Nothing in This Book That I Meant to Say by Paula Poundstone, whom I still hear from time to time on “Wait-Wait, Don’t Tell Me,” a PBS radio game show, was a hilarious read  for me.  I may read it again soon just to cheer myself up.

Ms. Poundstone, who will perform her stand-up comedy routine here at the Variety Playhouse in July, is a talented comedian–but I think she is an even better writer.

She manages to weave biographical sketches from people throughout history into her own unique memoir.  As the writer of the foreword to this book puts it:

“Her flawless comedic musings on life, her own chief among them–which is good, it being an autobiography and all–spring from stories she tells about her heroes:  Joan of Arc,  Abraham Lincoln, and Helen Keller, to name a few. ”  (Written by her friend, Mary Tyler Moore, who seems to know comedy.)

Poundstone has so many funny statements in this book it’s difficult for me to choose favorites, but here are a couple:

“Abraham Lincoln loved books.  He once walked twenty miles to borrow a book, and was known to work hard from sunrise to sunset and then read by flickering frontier light until midnight.  Lincoln was self-taught.  I didn’t graduate from my high school.  You could say that I’m self-taught; Lincoln just had a better teacher.”

“While seeking my first job, I filled out twenty-one minimum-wage job applications.  One of the last questions was always what my hobbies were.  Why would they care?  ‘Thank you for your application.  We’re looking for someone to mop the floors and clean and stock the bathrooms.  I see you’re available anytime we need you and you’re willing to work for minimum wage with no benefits.  That’s great, but I see that in your spare time you enjoy working with beads, so we’re going to have to pass on you.’  Do they think someone’s going to divulge something that makes them somehow unacceptable?  Hobbies, uhm … counterfeiting, glue sniffing, graffiti, and I love to disorient the elderly.”

Thanks, Paula.  I needed a good laugh. :)

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