Patton Oswalt grows up on “Tragedy Plus Comedy Equals Time”
It’s been creeping up for years, but Patton Oswalt has finally become a Dad Comedian. He’s touched on the topic of fatherhood in his previous two albums and on “Comedy Plus Tragedy Equals Time” he’s made the transition fully.
This is not a bad thing. Louis CK and Jim Gaffigan — two of the most prolific, well-known stand-ups working today — are both dads. But they seemed to come to us that way, whereas Oswalt went from Angry Nerd to Nerdy Dad.
He’s still as witty, pop culture-based and (when needed, often to big laughs) biting as he’s been since at least 2007, the year of his classic “Werewolves and Lollipops.”
But it’s obvious that, at age 45, Oswalt’s perspective has changed, and with it, his act.
Taking down American’s favorite punchline, Florida, Oswalt boils the joke down to more that just the hacky “hehe it’s America’s penis!”
"The only reason to go to Florida is to identify your daughter’s dead body." But then he goes right into how his young daughter will never stand a chance in an imagined future wasteland where those who grew up in Florida will be ready for.
What are the skills Oswalt has taught his daughter to prepare her? “Scooter-riding and ‘Blade Runner’ trivia,” he says.
Another instance of Oswalt’s transformation from Angry Young Man to Dad is on “Sellout,” a longer bit about how he has now reached the level where he can perform at casinos for large sums of money and do nothing but stand there.
"When I was 25 all I did was scream ‘sellout!’" he reflects. "I didn’t understand what selling out meant." But he quickly learns.
For this particular show, Oswalt makes enough money to “pay for a year of my daughter’s college” only to have his roles on “King of Queens” and “Ratatouille” screamed at him.
"For a half an hour I did not tell one joke. I had my career screamed at me, I agreed with it, then I said goodnight, got a standing ovation, I walked off stage and I said to myself, ‘I just paid for on year of my daughter’s college, I did not tell a single joke and I’ve never made an audience happier."
When an offer to do that every weekend presents itself, Oswalt tells the “Tragedy” audience that every time they see new material from him they should know he could be doing that instead.
As comedy fans, we’re lucky he isn’t choosing to sell-out.