Metro Weekly

Paula Poundstone: “Dear President Trump, please act like a sixth-grader, at least.”

As the comic prepares for a two-night stint at The Birchmere, she reflects on the nightmare year 2020.

Paula Poundstone — Photo: Michael Schwartz

Paula Poundstone has a message for Donald Trump, who is stubbornly and dangerously refusing to concede the election to the clear winner, Joe Biden.

“When I was in the sixth grade I ran for Class President,” she says. “Amy Hayes won. I was not asked to give a concession speech. I did go home, and cry, but I didn’t call myself Class President, foment unrest, nor spread lies to undermine the legitimate leadership of my rival Amy Hayes.

“This appropriate, ethical, honest, and mature behavior takes place among student bodies throughout our country every year. Dear President Trump, please act like a sixth-grader, at least.”

Poundstone, who will appear live at The Birchmere this weekend for a two-night set, likens the entirety of 2020 to a certain Steven Spielberg thriller.

“It’s craziness on a stick every day,” she says. “I’m reminded of that Jurassic Park scene where the kids are in a car that goes off the road and lands in a tree. The car stops for a second and they think, ‘Phew, we’re safe.’ And then a branch breaks and the car keeps going down. I feel like every day a new branch breaks on us.”

After Poundstone’s spring and summer dates were canceled, the popular comic went the online route, mainly performing for charities. “I’m used to a ballroom with an audience,” she says. “But everybody was like, ‘Oh, we’re doing it online and it’ll be such fun!’ It’s horrible. It’s just horrible. I can’t even tell you how awful it is.”

A mainstay on the NPR game show Wait! Wait! Don’t Tell Me!, Poundstone has been spending time creating podcasts, including Nobody Listens to Paula Poundstone, the French Trump Weekly Podcast — “I can’t do a Trump impression, so I do him with a bogus French accent” — and a game show called Nobody Asked You.

“In some ways, I’m busier than I’ve ever been,” she says. “It’s just a different kind of busy — it’s not a busy that pays money. A friend of mine who owned a boat once told me that a boat was a hole in the ocean that you pour money into. That’s sort of what a podcast is, too. Except it’s not in the ocean.”

Paula Poundstone appears at The Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave. in Alexandria, Va., on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 13 and 14, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $55. Limited capacity, social distancing rules, masks required when not seated, and temperatures taken at the door. The venue is treated with Biocide 100 Fog, effective against COVID-19. Call 703-549-7500 or visit


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