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The Comedians of Comedy's Patton Oswalt

On paper, comedian Patton Oswalt doesn't seem like much. He' 5'5", has a mellow demeaner and enjoys film noir. The 36-year-old also spends many a day reading comic books, playing Dungeons & Dragons and enjoying single-malt scotch. From that, he sounds about as exciting as a contestant on Beauty & The Geek. Oswalt even describes himself on his 2004 comedy CD, Feelin' Kinda Patton, as "the most suburban boring guy on the planet."

While that description may be partially true, Oswalt is also one of the most exciting and unpredictable comedians today. He mixes nerd rage with a poetic sense for words and fucks with the far left as much as the far right. On his Comedy Central special, No Reason to Complain, he accuses George Bush of trying to incite the apocolypse and explains that he loves eating steak because it makes hacky-sack-playing hippies cry.

Wanting to shift live performances away from the stale comedy-club environment, Oswalt has produced a widely successful tour called The Comedians of Comedy. He and his merry band of pranksters-comedians Brian Posehn (Mr. Show, Just Shoot Me!), Zach Galifianakis (Late World with Zach, Out Cold) and Maria Bamford (Comedy Central Presents, Stuart Little 2)-have been perfecting their routines across the country at music venues, theaters and even a junior high school whose motto ("Are You Strong Enough To Do What You Want To Do?") hung from a banner backstage. The tour was so successful that Comedy Central has even jumped onboard and filmed a road documentary that they're currently running as a six-part series.

In this political/social climate, why is comedy more important now than ever before?
Patton: Because without it, blood demons will come and take our children.

You're a self-described comic-book nerd. Any idea where our mascot, Sylvester E. Smythe, came from?
Smythe is the result of a drunken tryst between Diana Dors and Charles Starkweather.

On Amazon.com' "Listomania!," "The Definitive Patton Oswalt List" was written by the person who also wrote "The Definitive Korean Film Guide," "The Definitive Steven Seagal Guide" and "The Definitive Grindcore Guide." Does that frighten you? Or does it somehow make sense?
Seeing as my parents are Koreans who worked for Steven Seagal in the capacity of house servants who would, daily, grind his fresh Polish sausage breakfast, it makes perfect sense.

Did driving through all those small middle-American towns on the Comedian of Comedy tour remind you of the small northern Virginia town where you grew up?
Yes. They also made me retreat back into the same "safe room" I invented in my head when I was growing up there.

Did you conceptualize the COC tour to bring a different kind of comedy to new audiences, or because you wanted to fight against being "the most suburban boring guy on the planet?"
I did it for the children. But only the Asian ones.

By traveling with them so much, what are some new things you learned about Zach, Brian and Maria?
They are the worst cuddle-party threesome on the planet.

Now that the show is on Comedy Central, are you worried that COC will get so popular that the drunks and ignorant people you were trying to avoid at the mainstream comedy clubs will start showing up at performances?
The show will become successful enough so that we can all hire doubles to do the roadwork. Or, better yet, create robots that we can control from home; robots with death lasers.

Your fans might not realize how close they were to never having known you. You broke off a wedding engagement early in your career to move from Virginia to San Francisco in order to pursue comedy. Can you take us through a day in the life of the Patton Oswalt who didn't break off his first engagement and stayed in Virginia?
A typical day would start with my widow and a few friends visiting my grave on the 10th anniversary of me blowing my brains out in front of startled customers at the Blockbuster video store I managed.


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