Monday, January 11, 2016

Pattonly Absurd

This weekend, I got to see Patton Oswalt perform stand-up here in Denver at the Paramount Theater. I should say, I finally got to see him, as this performance was originally scheduled four months ago, and delayed on account of a filming schedule. Fortunately, the show was worth the wait.

Oddly, I was entertained by all the things Oswalt's show offered up that I wasn't really expecting. I expected loads of film- and geek-themed humor. I expected a fair amount of political humor. And while he did have a splash of those things, his topics actually ranged far and wide. Aging and parenting were more common themes than movies or politics, but it was all great material.

Particularly impressive was the way he grabbed hold of some spiky subjects. He did a riff on civil rights support and un-PC language that used a lot of taboo words. He did a fairly extended 9/11 joke. And it was all miraculously hilarious.

He took a risk going off-book to "interview" some random people in the front row about their jobs, using that to spring into improvised territory. (And invoking help from the spirit of Lenny Bruce when one of those audience members had given him an especially boring job to work with.)

It really all comes down to delivery, which I now realize is what was really lacking for me when I read his book a while back. Patton Oswalt is a truly funny guy, but stand-up is the forum where he shines. If he's touring near you (and doesn't have to postpone), I'd definitely recommend checking him out.

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