There is always the implication in Patton Oswalt's standup comedy that the pathos and stupidity he lampoons is part of something social and American—a surrender to the automatic pilot of despair. He's among our funniest indirect political comedians as a result, never quite ready to excuse himself from his long list of targets—he's done too much whoring for that. A former writer for MADtv, he had a recurring role on TV's The King of Queens, and was the voice of Rémy, the animated rat chef in Ratatouille. But fans love him for his Comedians of Comedy tour, mini-series, and documentaries, where he was the glue for disparate alternative comic sensibilities (Zach Galifianakis, Brian Posehn, Maria Bamford, and others). His 2007 comedy album on Sub Pop, Werewolves and Lollipops, gave us a now classic bit about KFC Famous Bowls—"a failure pile in a sadness bowl." He has a new album on WEA/Reprise, My Weakness Is Strong, and a starring dramatic role in Big Fan, the new film directed by Robert D. Siegel, who also wrote The Wrestler. Will success spoil Oswalt's self-deprecating edge?
Sat., Sept. 12, 8 p.m., 2009