In Poundstone, however, social services officials had someone who appeared to be an ideal candidate -- not only dedicated but someone with the financial means to provide a better life for her kids. There was a sense, as video of Poundstone leaving jail led all of the local newscasts, that a kind of ritual was taking place, one as peculiar to our time as feeding Christians to the lions was in ancient Rome. Comics are bred to be quick on their feet, but few have confronted the audience Poundstone did when she emerged from a Santa Monica jailhouse to the dawn of her new-found fame. Childlike on the one hand, politically enlightened on the other. But Poundstone's lack of sexual context has dogged her career. At Santa Monica's McKinley Elementary, a public school with a large concentration of low-income kids where two of her children are enrolled, Poundstone is not considered a drop-'em-off-and-speed-away mom.
Wearing signature tie-and-vest ensembles, she projected an asexuality that became something of a running joke among her friends and in her act.
For all of its shortcomings, "The Paula Poundstone Show," her Saturday night ABC comedy-variety series that was canceled after two episodes, revealed an interesting point of view. One friend, declining to be named or to elaborate, says: She wasn't brash, but she wasn't fragile, either. Mostly, she was deeply in control as she told you about every uncontrollable thought. Childlike on the one hand, politically enlightened on the other. But Poundstone's lack of sexual context has dogged her career.
Poundstone herself arrived in a lime-green suit, with makeup, and walked into the warm embrace of emotional backup. Eleven kids have lived at one time or another in Poundstone's house, including the three adopted children, according to sources close to Poundstone. Childlike on the one hand, politically enlightened on the other. Her support group, in the main, is not composed of comedians. But Poundstone's lack of sexual context has dogged her career. Until June 27, when she was arrested by Santa Monica police and charged with lewd acts with a girl under 14 and child endangerment, Paula Poundstone lived two lives, mutually exclusive and in evident harmony. A year before her variety show, Poundstone provided coverage of the political conventions for "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno," and now she had a roomier showcase for her political comedy.