FOH First Listen: Patton Oswalt – “Tragedy + Comedy = Time”‏

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by Ryan Meehan

On Sunday night April 6th, Comedy Central will air the new one-hour stand-up special from Patton Oswalt.  The program is called “”Tragedy + Comedy = Time”, and it’s full of the Oswalt that we’ve come to know and love.  It’s produced by Bobcat Goldthwait, who has over two decades of experience in the ever changing field of stand-up comedy.  The disc comes with a DVD to accompany the release, and is a perfect addition for anybody who thinks that they might be feelin’ kinda Patton.

It’s been a blast to watch Oswalt’s career over time, and I can distinctly remember just a few albums ago when he had this great bit about how his wife was going to trick him into having a kid by leaving a trail of comic books into her vagina.  These days his daughter is approaching kindergarten age, and he tells some great stories about raising her on this disc.  But his daughter isn’t the only source of entertainment – there are plenty of other real life highlights that make for great tales:  An up close and personal encounter with a prostitute turned awry, an awkward situation in his neighborhood Starbucks that nobody would wish on their worst enemy, and a tale of the easiest money he ever made at a casino in Washington state.  It might be cliché to say that a comic is a great storyteller, but if you haven’t been a fan of Oswalt through the years then you might not realize just how true that statement is.  And if that’s the case you probably haven’t been to Uncle Touchy’s Naked Puzzle Basement either, so maybe it’s time to finally get with the program.

Patton is a great comic, and while most people probably recognize him from either his role as Spence on The King of Queens or the voice of Remy in Ratatouille, like most great minds in the entertainment industry he will always be a stand-up comedian first.  I’m watching him right now on Hardwick’s @midnight and the guy is just money all of the time.  I can’t tell you how many articles and interviews I’ve read with guys like Robin Williams where they ask America’s top comedians who they think is the best working, and Patton Oswalt’s name frequently comes up first from the mouths of the best in the industry.  He can still split rooms in half with a single sentence (“The only reason to visit Florida is to identify your daughter’s dead body…”) and his timing is so perfect by this point it seems like he’s almost just experimenting with precision.

I don’t want to say that Oswalt has “grown up”, because he definitely has a certain playfulness about him that creates such a high level of likability.  But he has matured to the point where he can share anecdotes regarding how angry he used to be when he was younger:  There’s a great bit about rationalizing the idea of “selling out”, which is a reflective segment where he discussed how he’d like to have a word with a 25 year old version of himself to cut Nickelback some slack.  Don’t get me wrong, Patton hasn’t “sold out” at all (even though he may disagree as he explains that it is a very black and white affair that can only go one way or the other) but his material creates a demographic all its own:  Something that’s hilarious as fuck to anybody from the age of 18 until several years after they die.

 

There is a really cool thing that Comedy Central is doing with this album…For each purchase of the actual disc, it comes with a free digital download of the album for you to give to a friend.  So basically, you get the DVD, CD, and the gift of being able to turn a friend on to an awesome comedy album for the price of just one release.  It’s a hell of a deal in a world where purchasing entertainment is constantly changing, and more importantly – it’s something that will put a huge smile on your face.  And isn’t that really the point of all this?

In a perfect world where stand-up comics are valued as the risk-taking masters of all comedic art forms, Patton would be one of the biggest stars on the planet.  This record is proof of that, and to see for yourself you should check out the special Sunday night at 10/9 Central.  You’ll be glad you did, and in a difficult world it might make your Monday seem a lot less bleak.

Once again thanks for visiting First Order Historians and enjoying more of the internet’s finest in user generated content.

Meehan

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