Award-winning stand-up comedian Pam Stone co-starred in the television series Coach. She’s a Landrum, SC-based book author who’s hosted a syndicated radio show and written a syndicated column. But all the national-medal-winning equestrienne really set out to do was ride horses.
You horse around on stage and off, don’t you?
I never got into stand-up to be a comedian … just to pay for my horses. I was a horse-crazy kid. That’s all I’ve ever wanted to do. My sister and I spent every waking hour riding trails in the Georgia woods. We’d steal those orange barrels you see and drag them into the woods to make jumps. We were terrible. Then they starting developing to build the Atlanta Country Club. We saw those stakes with the colored flags and threw them all in the river. That really slowed
How’d comedy become a profession?
I was a waitress at this Atlanta club the Punch Line. I was leaning on the wall holding my tray watching Jay Leno and thinking, “This doesn’t look that hard.” Friends said I should graduate from college first to have something to fall back on. But I didn’t want anything to fall back on if I could do stand-up for 45 minutes and make enough money to have a horse.
That was in the ‘80s?
Yeah. Comedy was hot and there were very few female headliners, maybe one out of a thousand. When I started I spent three weeks straight touring with Leno, who had already been on Letterman 25 times. I opened for him. They sent him plane tickets, but I had to drive. So he cashed in his tickets, pocketed the money, and rode in my car.
He loves cars, so he probably helped drive.
No, he didn’t drive at all. But he was incredibly generous. I learned more about stand-up in three weeks from him than I would have learned in three years on my own. And when he took over The Tonight Show he put me on in the third week.
Aren’t your upcoming shows benefits?
It’s an annual thing we do every November and donate 25 percent to Mobile Meals. I drive a Mobile Meals route in Spartanburg County, and it means a lot to me.
Do people you take meals to recognize you as a celebrity?
One or two. But usually I just cleaned a horse stall. I just hope the stench of manure isn’t too bad.
Speaking of stench, you were featured in The New Yorker
magazine in March.
This Pulitzer Prize writer called and I was so excited. Then I found out it was about [my experience with] stink-bug infestations. [Stone was the subject of “When Twenty-Six Thousand Stinkbugs Invade Your Home,” by Kathryn Schultz.]
As a kid I submitted a poem to The New Yorker that they rejected.
Me, too! When I was 11 I wrote a horse story and sent it to Doubleday with a cover letter that said, “Feel free to pay me at your earliest convenience.” But my childhood dream was to be in The New Yorker.
Your childhood dreams of horses and The New Yorker
And I’m bewildered with gratitude.
Artisan Entertainment presents comedians Pam Stone, Bob Nelson, and Mike Elis in a two-night engagement: Saturday, Nov. 17 at 7:30pm at the Tryon Fine Arts Center (34 Melrose Ave., 828-859-8322, $28.50); and Sunday, Nov. 18 at 7:30pm at Artisan at Flat Rock (5 Highland Road, East Flat Rock, $25/members, $30/nonmembers). For more information, see flatrockartisan.com.