Highlights from Patton Oswalt’s Reddit AMA
Patton Oswalt did an AMA question-and-answer session on Reddit yesterday afternoon, and a lot of important comedy stuff came up. From his thoughts on recent stand-up controversies to his favorite Mr. Show sketch, from his favorite young comedians to his plans for a second book, Oswalt touched on a variety of comedy-related topics, and we collected the most interesting answers below so that you don’t have to weed through the Reddit thread for the good stuff. Enjoy!
Any chance for a second book?
I’m finishing up my second book right now. It’s a memoir of my time in L.A. between 1995 through 1999, when The Largo was ascendent, the internet was in its infancy, and I was an OCD film fiend trying to figure out how to segue form doing comedy to directing films. Pipe dream as fever dream.
When you were a kid, did you have many funny friends or were you the “funny guy” in your group?
I had a whole circle of comedy nerd friends. And thankfully — and this is true today — I was nowhere near the funniest guy in my group. Made me try harder. Still does today. All of my friends are funnier than me.
You’re always trying to bring new, aspiring comics to the public’s eye. Who are some of the comics we don’t know and should be YouTubing right now?
Emily Heller, Beth Stelling, Dominic Dierkes, Eliza Skinner, Brooks Wheelan, Whitmer Thomas, Eric Dadourian, Jake Weisman, Dave Ross, Paul Danke, Shelby Fero, Ronald Funches, Hampton Yount, Joseph Ocon, Pedro Salinas, Will Weldon and Chris Thayer
You’ve helped give me a different point of view on depression, and laugh when shit got serious. How’s your headspace these days?
It’s good, but I know the blues are always lurking. It’s my job to stop ’em from darkening into blacks. Yours, too, if you’ve got it. It’s workable, and once you realize it’s a visitor that comes around every now and then, and you can wink at it and welcome it before you send it away for awhile? You’ll be okay.
Is there anything you stopped caring about in the last few years that has surprised you?
I care less and less about music and films that I hate. In that, I don’t listen to them instead of wasting energy telling people that I think they suck. And, along with that, I’ve cared less and less what people think about me. There’s nearly 7 billion people on this planet — not all of them are going to like you. So the fear of not being universally loved has faded the more aware I become of the numbers.
You were the best guest star on Dollhouse. Do you have plans to work with Joss again?
If Downey doesn’t do AVENGERS 2, and Joss can explain a sudden Tony Stark weight gain, I’m in line for the Iron Man part after Jonah Hill, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Will Sasso, Bobby Moynihan, Rick Ross and Paul Giamatti turn it down. Fingers crossed!
Do you get nervous before shows even after all these years of performing?
Yep. Every time. The day I stop being nervous is the day I get boring.
Is there a TV show currently airing that you have not appeared on that you like enough that you would want to be part of?
There are so many amazing shows on TV right now. TV is more exciting that movies right now, in my opinion. Definitely VEEP and GIRLS. Also HANNIBAL. Maybe I could be an annoying haberdasher that Lecter turns into spats.
Whose body is going to give out first: yours or Brian Posehn’s?
Brian’s gave out in 1994. His head is sitting on a coal-powered, Mark VII Mobility Walker. If you press his elbow, his left tit expenses Orange Fanta. Try it the next time you see him.
What book or comic book series do you think everyone should read?
Michael K. Vaughn’s SAGA. I’m genuinely envious of and pissed any anyone who gets to read it for the first time. I’m all caught up and have to wait month to month. I GET TO LIVE OUT MY LIFE LIKE A SCHNOOK.
What’s the one question you never want to be asked again?
“What are your favorite/least favorite bits you do?” “What’s it like being a comedian?” And, the granddaddy of them all, and this is asked by every print interviewer, “What can the audience expect from tomorrow night’s show?”
You’ve hinted at meeting Bill Hicks. I was just wondering if you had any notable encounters with him, and if you ever happened to open for him.
I opened for him a few times. He was polite and pleasant but not overly chummy. The one thing he said, specifically to me, was, “You gotta walk ’em to the edge, Patton.”
Which Mr. Show skit would you say is your favorite?
“The Audition”, hands down.
Who were the most influential comics that impacted your career?
Before I started: Winters, Pryor, Carlin, Martin. After I started: All of my comedian friends.
Any advice for a huge fan of stand-up who doesn’t know where to start writing his own material?
Go onstage. And then do it again. And then do it again. Over and over again. That’s the only way it works.
Do you think the threshold for being offended by stand up comics in America is lowering and will continue to get even more frequent, or will the ability of comics to build their own audience themselves help calm this as time goes on by people being able to avoid those that offend them?
The threshold for being offended hasn’t been lowered. It’s just that more people have access to a public forum where they can express their ire. They were always out there, but now everyone has the microphone and the guillotine. Neither side is necessarily wrong, either. The pendulum is going to have to swoop back and forth for awhile, and whomever’s left hanging on will decide the way forward.
Of all the many comedians you have worked with and been around, which have made you laugh the hardest?
In terms of gut-blasting laughs, Todd Glass
Who are your favourite clean comics?
“Clean” and “dirty” comics are meaningless categories. All that matters is “funny.” Louis CK is just as brilliant as Brian Regan.
Who is the biggest piece of shit currently alive, in your opinion?
Crapling V. Turdsworth, IV
Do you ever get confused as another celebrity?
CCH Pounder. Constantly.