Paula Poundstone is an American comedian.
When she was young Poundstone was placed in foster
care; an experience which later led her to act as a
foster mother to several children.
Poundstone dropped out of high school to pursue a
show business career. She worked as a stand-up comedian
in Boston for a few years and then relocated to California.
In 1984, Poundstone was cast in the movie Hyperspace
but she did not follow through on a potential acting
career. Instead she became better known as a comedian
and began appearing on several talk shows. In 1989,
she won the American Comedy Award for Best Female Stand-Up
In 1990, Poundstone wrote and starred in an HBO special
Cats, Cops and Stuff and subsequently won a Cable Ace
Award for the show. She worked as a political correspondent
for the Tonight Show during the 1992 Presidential campaign
and did the same for The Rosie O'Donnell Show in 1996.
In 1993, Poundstone won a second Cable Ace Award, began
writing a regular column "Hey, Paula!" for
Mother Jones magazine (which lasted five years), and
had a variety show The Paula Poundstone Show on ABC
(which lasted only two episodes). She was a regular
panelist for the game shows Hollywood Squares and To
Tell the Truth.
Poundstone became a foster mother in 1993. In 1997,
she adopted two children, Toshia and Allison, and later
a third, Thomas.
On June 6, 2000, Poundstone drove her children to
an ice cream parlor. She later admitted she had been
drinking at the time. Her behavior at the store was
reported to the police. Poundstone admitted herself
into the Promises rehabilitation center on June 13.
On June 27, she was arrested for one count of child
endangerment (for driving her children while intoxicated)
and three counts of committing a lewd act on a child
under the age of 14. Poundstone pleaded no contest
to the endangerment charge on September 12. The lewd
acts charges were all dropped before her hearing and
Poundstone has stated she was innocent of these charges.
A judge issued an order prohibiting everyone involved
in the incident from discussing any details of it.
One tabloid newspaper has reported the charges derived
from one of Poundstone's foster children making a false
accusation against her after an argument. As a result
of the case, Poundstone was placed on five years probation,
was required to spend 180 days in rehabilitation, and
was barred from acting as a foster mother. Poundstone
was allowed supervised visits to her own children after
December 5, 2001 and they were returned to her custody
in late 2002.
Poundstone's career was slowed by the incident but
she still continues to perform her stand-up act.
There have been numerous speculations about Poundstone's
sexual orientation. She has a large gay and lesbian
fanbase and many fans assume she is a lesbian.