Quick Q&A With Patton Oswalt

Patton Oswalt

Courtesy Butler Arts Center

During the presidency of Donald Trump, your comedy has become far more political. Is it a challenge to compete with the weirdness of what’s actually happening?
As a comedian, you do sometimes feel sort of superfluous. How do you keep up with, let alone top, the stuff this guy’s brain keeps spitting out? There’s no way to do it. It’s absurdity on top of absurdity.

Are any topics off-limits for you?
Nah. You just need to have the right approach for the challenging stuff.

You were grieving the death of your wife, Michelle McNamara, during your last tour. Were audiences aware of what you were going through?
Obviously, if they didn’t already know what had happened, they figured it out pretty quickly. Because I talked about it a lot in the show. It was awkward sometimes, but I had to talk about it, because if I hadn’t mentioned it, that would have become an issue itself. It was a hard line to walk.

What’s your new show about?
It’s just about where I am in life right now. It doesn’t have a specific theme or an overarching point. There has never been a zeitgeist to anything I do.

How much does one show vary from the next?
The material definitely changes from show to show, city to city. It depends on my mood that night—and the crowd’s mood.

I’m guessing that’s a nice freedom to have when a lot of your other work is scripted. What television projects are you working on right now?
I’m doing an animated show for Hulu and Marvel Studios called MODOK (a somewhat obscure comic book villain), and then I’m working on a comedy special. There are a few other things, too, but they’re too embryonic in form to mention. As you can probably tell, I’m all over the place.