Patton Oswalt

Calling from Los Angeles, Patton Oswalt has pulled his car over to answer a few questions. We applaud a comedian-slash-actor (Big Fan, Ratatouille, etc.) who's both funny and safe. Preparing for tonight's taping of a TV special, he says there's no point in trying to keep up with the latest world events. “I just embrace that everything's gonna be dated one way or the other. This is what's happening in my head and maybe in other people's heads. I don't think of, 'How will people think of [these jokes] in 40 years? Will they be timeless?' I want it to be specific to its time, so it has this kind of documentary value later on.” Certain current topics are a given, like politics and Obama's “cool, glacial, long-term thinking.” Oswalt is both a pop-culture savant and a serious reader, fascinated with the new biography of the president's mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, a 1960 graduate of Mercer Island High School. Never mind Obama growing up in Hawaii and Indonesia, he says, “It's no different than the hardscrabble upbringing that Reagan and Clinton had with fucked-up dads and weird inter-familial bullshit.” Then there's his love for movies, even though he now works inside the sausage-making factory: “I do have this frightened hope every summer movie season. I'm excited to see the Terence Malick film. I'm excited to see Werner Herzog's new movie. I don't want to sound like a goddamn snob... but I don't hold out much hope anymore. Going to see a movie in a theater is a dying art. I want popcorn movies to do well, but I'd like them to do well and also be original. That used to happen all the time. You'd go see Star Wars or Raiders of the Lost Ark and go, 'Holy Jesus—that was so entertaining and also totally original!'” And lastly, says Oswalt, he'll discuss “my dipping my little toe into the pool of fatherhood. The stuff I'm dealing with on stage is my first few months as a dad—how kind of fucked-up and wonderful and disastrous that was.” BRIAN MILLER

Sat., May 14, 7 & 9:30 p.m., 2011

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