On Saturday night, we went to see one of our favorite stand-up comedians... Paula Poundstone.
We had seen her several years ago and while we're not huge comedy club go-ers we still remember it fondly as vowed to see her again the next time she came to town.
But, as you may know, Paula had a run-in with the law... a 2001 drunk driving charge that took a few nastier twists (detailed, where else, but in her Wikipedia entry) which threatened to be a career-ender... but ended up being a pretty sizable speed bump, since I am really not sure if she has done a Phoenix gig since her "real person"/no special treatment 180-day stint in rehab.
Likewise, it was nice to see her pack in a near sell-out crowd at one of the jewels of Phoenix, the Orpheum Theater (more on that later). Couldn't quite get a good pulse on the crowd... definitely seemed to skewed older than us (Poundstone is 47 years old), a notable but not large gay presence (never been any personal disclosures from Poundstone, who comically self-describes herself as asexual), and no surprise... politically left-leaning.
Paula is comic genius. While her act had some of her old favorites (i.e. heard it before on comedy specials), what I am most impressed with is the "on the fly" part of her show. She she always asks a handful of audience members "What do you do for a living?" ... but I am always surprised how quickly and how much humor she is spontaneously able to squeeze out. Also, she apparently does her research coming into town... spending a good deal of time talking about life in Phoenix. It's safe to say, it's never the same act twice!
There was one part of the show that had me nearly at tears (ok, at tears). The style of stand-up that Paula does is my favorite... just very observational and not an excessive amount of "bad language." So when she let the occasional f-bomb fly it made it even more funny. She starts this stint on those pharmaceutical / "ask your doctor about" TV commercials that often feature a long list of possible side-effects -- usually read quickly and with mumble... and she let's out this one-liner...
"What the f&ck could you have that is so bad that you are willing to risk anal leakage!?!"
And while it was clear that no one, including Paula, thought that particular condition was funny... but the mere mention of that particular phrase just sent the crowd into further convulsions. All in all, and as expected, a great night of comedy and I certainly would highly recommend getting a ticket to see Paula should she make a stop in your town.
As promised, a
quick word on the Orpheum Theater. We have only been there a handful of times, but I always look forward to going to it... truly one of the gems in Phoenix. Completed in 1929, and outside anything Native American, that's pretty much as historical as it gets in Phoenix. (Again thanks to Wikipedia) Costing what had to be a whopping $750k at the time, it underwent a 12-year, $14 million restoration and re-opened in 1997. While certainly not having all the conveniences (i.e. sizable bathrooms) of newly-built theaters... it more than makes up for it in character and charm... you find yourself meandering around and trying to soak all the amazing architectural details -- they don't build them like this anymore! Oh heck, it's easier to just show you...
It's probably a good thing they turn down the house lights when the show starts... pretty amazing!