Paula Poundstone

On this day in 1959, Paula Poundstone was born in Huntsville, Ala. She dropped out of high school at 17 and began her career as a stand-up comedian when she was 19, when she began traveling the country and performing in comedy clubs. Poundstone entered the public eye after she began appearing on shows such as “The Tonight Show,” “Late Night with David Letterman” and “Saturday Night Live.” She was awarded the 1989 American Comedy Award for Best Female Standup and became the first woman to be awarded the Cable ACE Award for best stand-up comedy special for her first HBO performance, “Cats, Cops, and Stuff” (1990). She gained a second Cable ACE Award for her talk show, “The Paula Poundstone Show” (1993). Poundstone wrote a monthly column for Mother Jones (1993–1998), published the book There’s Nothing In This Book That I Meant To Say (2006), and has been a panelist for quiz program “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me” on NPR. Poundstone has three children: Toshia, Allison and Thomas E.

“There is no God. At least, I'm practically certain there isn't. I don't believe there's a heaven or a hell either,” Poundstone, a self-described atheist, wrote in an article for the May/June 1994 issue of Mother Jones.

“I’m an atheist. The good news about atheists is that we have no mandate to convert anyone. So you’ll never find me on your doorstep on a Saturday morning with a big smile, saying, ‘Just stopped by to tell you there is no word. I brought along this little blank book I was hoping you could take a look at.’ ”

—Paula Poundstone, There's Nothing in This Book That I Meant to Say, 2006.

Compiled by Sabrina Gaylor

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