Sunday, April 8, 2012

Get Up, Stand Up

Stand up comedy is a different animal. Comedy is not like a play or a musical where it will be essentially the same at each performance. And unlike a concert wherein you are familiar with the songs, with a comedian you never know what you will get at any given performance. Of course, you can know the types of routines they typically perform - they don't call it a routine for nothing - but because the audience is different every night, even a rehearsed comedian changes each night.

When Paula Poundstone performed at Hoyt Sherman Place on Friday night, she displayed how an adept comedian reacts to the audience and tailors the act to the type of humor the audience reacts to the most.

Poundstone incorporated stories about her children, pets, and habits with the dry wit that has characterized her comedy. Poundstone may not be an edgy comedian, she does not tell politically incorrect anecdotes, rather she is hilarious when expounding on regular activities. This quality makes it easier for the audience to relate to her.

The part of the act that was the most fun was when she latched onto several audience members and poked fun at their careers. In most cases, the people were game, and even when they seemed a little timid Poundstone was able to pull it out of them to the enjoyment of the rest of the audience. Then towards the end of the show, when she herself admitted she was in a strange mood, she laid down on the stage, propped her feet up on the stool and used her feet to act out the situations she had pulled out of those audience members. I am sure that sounds bizarre, but you had to be there.

Some of her prepared bits went on a couple minutes too long; the CNN and the cat stories could have been cut down, but that was a minor detail in an otherwise hilarious evening.

Poundstone was very gracious with her fans as well, staying after to sign merchandise, take pictures and listen to stories. She should consider herself welcome in Des Moines anytime.

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