Listen to Austin 360 Radio

Comedian Paula Poundstone shares thoughts on Robin Williams

Staff Writer
Austin 360

By Dale Roe

Editor’s note: This article was originally published August 18, 2014

It is impossible to interview comedian Paula Poundstone so soon after the death of Robin Williams without offering her my condolences on the loss of her friend.

“Thank you very much,” Poundstone replies. “My daughter said that she was looking on social networking last night and that Billy Crystal had tweeted ‘No words.’ And I guess I would have to second that. I’m stunned. I feel like the world is upside down; it just doesn’t make any sense. But there you go, y’know?”

Williams saw Poundstone (who is performing here at the One World Theatre on Friday) present her act in San Francisco in the early ‘80s and gave her a national television spot on a ninth-season episode of “Saturday Night Live” he hosted.

“He was nothing but kind and generous to me and the truth is nobody of my — we always called it a ‘graduating class’ in terms of comics — I don’t think any of us would be working if not for Robin, because he made the form exciting again,” she says.

“There was no such thing as a comedy club before the ‘80s,” Poundstone explains. “There were clubs that somebody might do comedy in, but there was not a comedy club that really opened the doors to lots and lots of people to jump in and think silly stuff and say it. And, boy, it’s so much fun to do.

“And to get to make a living at it as well is just — it’s a lucky break and a privilege and I don’t believe in an afterlife, so it’s not like I can shout at the sky and tell (Williams) anything, but he really did make so many opportunities for so many people.”

Poundstone performs two shows at Austin’s One World Theatre on Fri., Aug. 22. Look for a complete interview with Poundstone in Friday’s Austin360 and online at Austin360.com.