The laughter was uncontrollable during comedian Paula Poundstone’s performance in a Comedy Night to benefit the Santa Monica Unified School District’s McKinley Elementary School at the Shutters Beach Hotel.
Poundstone has been performing comedy for 30 years. Her comedic talent started very young and was noticed by her Kindergarten teacher Mrs. Bump who wrote to her parents, “I have enjoyed many of Paula’s humorous comments about our activities.” Poundstone told the Mirror that letter was framed and hangs on the wall in her home.
In 1979 Poundstone began performing at open mic nights throughout the United States. This, she explained, was really during the “renaissance of stand-up comedy.” She has received numerous awards since her career started flourishing, including two Cable ACE awards for performances on HBO and an Emmy Award for her field pieces on PBS’s “Life & Times.”
Poundstone is also an author. Her first book, There’s Nothing In This Book That I Meant To Say was published in November 2006. She is also the author, along with her high school math teacher, Faye Ruopp, of three math textbooks for children. When the Mirror asked her why she wrote about math, she said it was purely about “helping my own children with math.”
Poundstone is the mother of three children; her youngest is a fifth grader at McKinley and her other two children attend Santa Monica High School. She has been a McKinley parent for 14 years and has been doing benefit performances for the school for nine years. She did the first benefit “originally because they asked her” but now its “one of her favorite nights to perform because she loves being with the community.” She views it as a “night off for everybody including me.”
When asked by the Mirror about the cancellation of the Carlos Mencia performance earlier this year by the School District Poundstone responded, “I’m not into censorship. This thing that we’re going to edit and tell people the appropriate words to say doesn’t make sense to me.”
The Co-President of the McKinley PTA, Dianne Glinos, told the Mirror that this year, the Comedy Night raised over $7,000 which will go to support Music and Arts programs at the school. $5,000 will go to the school’s Kindergarten through 2nd Grade music program and the rest will go towards the fee for an artist from PS Arts that works with all of the McKinley students.
This year’s Comedy Night included a new component, a Live Auction, which raised $1,500. Glinos noted that the Live Auction helped the benefit raise the same amount of money as it did last year.
Comedian Bobby Collins was also part of the Comedy Night. He is a former School District parent.