Paula Poundstone is coming to town this Friday night, but she has no idea why.
"I'm really excited about it, but I'm not really sure what I'm doing," she says without the slightest hint of sarcasm. The iconic humorist will be the featured guest (alongside Robyn Hitchcock) for the Minnesota Public Radio's first Wits event of 2013.
"They told me there will be sketches, which I love, but I don't really know what else to expect. I asked if I needed to prepare anything and they told me no, which is perfect for me. It's going to be a lot of fun."
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Since first bursting onto the scene back in the '80s, Poundstone has managed to cement herself as one of the most timeless comics to ever put on a necktie. With a reputation for being an improv master, Wits is the perfect venue for the cat-loving comic who admits she does her best work without any advanced prep.
"When I first did Garrison Keillor's show -- I don't think Garrison even knows this -- I had never heard it before," she says, laughing. "Same with the first time I did Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me! I hadn't heard that one either. In fact, one time I was on Jeopardy!, and the producers got pissed off because I had never watched the show. Like it was some sort of iconic American experience or something. But we got to do a practice game before the actual show, so I figured it out. I'm guessing there's no practice show this time."
In addition to swinging by for a night of music and improv, Poundstone's been busy with a full standup schedule as well as a new comedy CD, I Heart Jokes: Paula Tells'em in Boston, which is being released on April Fools' Day.
"I'm old fashioned," she says of her new CD. "When I get a new CD, I like having the cover art and everything right in my hands. I personally still own videocassettes and records, because I like having the picture on the box. I think my throngs of fans are like me, because I tweeted out that I was releasing a new CD and people tweeted back some really nice things."
While the jokes and technology have evolved over time, Poundstone has managed to maintain her fan base by following one simple rule: Don't count the people who don't like you.
"I'm not a household name by any means, but I'm still pleasantly surprised that people like coming to see me," she says. "I learned a long time ago to dance with the one you're with. If you don't like me, that's fine. But I'm also not going to count those people. I'm just happy that people like what I do."
IF YOU GO:
Featuring Paula Poundstone and music guest Robyn Hitchcock
8 p.m. Friday, March 15
Tickets are SOLD OUT. However, fans can listen via the live audio stream at www.witsradio.org.