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OFF ON TANGENTS : The Outlandish but Amusing Paula Poundstone


As one of the most in-demand comics around--the American Comedy Awards dubbed her 1989's female club comedian of the year--Paula Poundstone does her share of traveling. She pulls into Orange County next week for a series of shows at the Improv in Irvine--a gig she'll have to interrupt about halfway through to fly to Cincinnati for a one-night stand.

Poundstone has built a following with her knack for refreshingly direct self-observation that never wanders into self-deprecation, and a distinctive sense of whimsy that often takes her off on outlandish but amusing tangents.

During her first HBO "One Night Stand" special, for instance, her attention repeatedly fell on a vent in the ceiling. Its purpose, she calmly informed the audience, was to drain the water in case the building turned over and flooded. Right. . . .

And in that event, she added later, the audience would have to decide whether to "put their faith in God" and stay put, or follow Shelley Winters and swim through the vent in a desperate stab at escape a la "The Poseidon Adventure."

Poundstone is putting the finishing touches on a new one-hour HBO special, taped June 15 at a San Francisco club called Bimbo's--"which is not a female slur," she quickly assures. "It's a family name. It says Mr. Bimbo right there on the speed dialing."

Who: Paula Poundstone, with Matt Weinhold and Mark Cortez.

When: 8:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday; 8:30 and 10:30 next Friday (July 13); 8 and 10:30 next Saturday; 8:30 next Sunday.

Where: Irvine Improv, 4255 Campus Drive, Irvine.

Whereabouts: In the Irvine Marketplace shopping center, across Campus Drive from UC Irvine.

Wherewithal: $8 Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday; $10 Friday; $12 Saturday.

Where to call: (714) 854-5455.

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