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Lifestyle

April 17, 2014

Wait, wait ... it's Paula

Comedian Poundstone will be back on North Shore Saturday

Paula Poundstone often makes fun of her own awkward appearance, which she emphasizes by wearing men’s ties and wide-lapel suits.

“Is it me, or do I have the worst posture in the history of the world?” she asks in one routine. “I hope to eventually go all the way over and become an ‘O.’”

But these days people may know Poundstone, 54, as much for the sound of her voice as her appearance.

That’s because the comedian has served as a panelist on public broadcasting’s radio quiz show “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” once a month for the last 13 years.

“Sometimes, it seems like I’m on more than that, because I’m on the clip shows,” Poundstone said, referring to compilations of excerpts from previous shows.

Local audiences can both see and hear Poundstone, one of the best-known comedians of her generation, Saturday at North Shore Music Theatre.

Not only has she performed on the North Shore before, she lived here for a while after leaving Lincoln-Sudbury High School.

“I left school at 17,” she said. “I didn’t drop out so much as peter out. It wasn’t dramatic. I stopped attending school because I was depressed.”

She was sent to the Institute for Family and Life Learning in Danvers, which she described as a “residential program for teenagers nobody knew what to do with.”

“It was really more of a holding bin, where education was an afterthought,” she said. “It was one of those old-concept houses where we had to stand up and recite something about actualization.”

Many of the other teens at the facility listened to punk rock or heavy metal and had black light posters on their walls, favoring “the very dark side of entertainment,” Poundstone said.

But she was drawn to comedy from the start and decorated her room with the record sleeve from a Bill Cosby album and magazine pictures of Lily Tomlin, Gilda Radner and Carol Burnett.

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