STAND-UP TUESDAYS: Patton Oswalt

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Stand-Up Tuesdays is a weekly comedy spotlight written by the wonderfully talented Angie Frissore. Covering both known and unknown comics, Stand-up Tuesdays is your new source for all things funny.

This week, Angie puts a spotlight on Patton Oswalt and his latest release, Finest Hour. If you or your comedy troupe would like to be featured on Stand-Up Tuesdays, please email utgjames@gmail.com.

Could there be a more fitting title for a stand-up comedy CD than Finest Hour when it comes to Patton Oswalt’s newest special? Hardly.  The CD was released today in conjunction with Oswalt’s Showtime special (which premiered on Monday, September 5) of the same name, which will also air on Comedy Central next year.

I’m usually leery of stand-up performed by ‘comedic actors’, as I generally find them to be hit-or-miss situations – even if said comedic actor is a stand-up comic at heart. For a lot of comedians who find success in Hollywood, stand-up performances start to evolve into a story-telling, name-dropping extravaganza. I’m not talking about general story telling – what I am referring to is story-telling just for the sake of showing off, such as Eddie Griffin telling tales of hanging out with Richard Pryor.

Patton Oswalt has made a name for himself both as a stand-up comedian as well as an actor – a delicate mix to which Oswalt’s ‘average guy’ persona lends itself beautifully, and Finest Hour (which is, notably, over an hour long) offers audiences a touch of Oswalt at is comedic best.

Immediately dispelling any sort of Hollywood ego, Oswalt begins his set by immediately launching into a bit about wearing sweatpants in public – which he not only does, often, but does so only with color-matched t-shirt – and telling describing his best tactic in dealing with a parking ticket (which is to plead and beg with the meter maid).

In fact, the only minor reference he makes at all to his success isn’t even about his success – merely a transition that sets up a small bit about how typecast the role of the gay best friend is in any romantic comedy.

Finest Hour hits the mark as an awesomely hilarious comedy CD in that you don’t need to specifically be an Oswalt fan to enjoy it.  Take it from someone who often dives into comedy with sometimes-immense prejudice – there’s simply nothing off-putting or not funny on the whole album.

Quite possibly the cherry on top of the Patton Oswalt comedy gold sundae, Patton references yet another sweatpant story in which he’s stuck behind a morbidly obese man at a grocery store deli counter.

“So I’m staggering up to the counter, with my list, and I vaguely see that the next guy in line is this morbidly obese guy,” Oswalt starts.  “He’s blocking the whole counter, and what I can’t see is that there’s only one 1-lb thing of pre-cut ham in the ham bin. I can’t see that. All I hear as I approach him is him saying, ‘I want all the ham.’”

Naturally, hilarity ensues as Oswalt describes running away and laughing his ass off over the situation – but what makes the bit hilarious is Oswalt’s delivery: his over-the-top, sloppy, gravy-stained sweatshirt fat guy voice insisting on all of the ham. I’ll never be able to look at ham again without immediately re-enacting the scene (albeit, poorly).

Instead of adding a bit of ego to the CD, Oswalt’s acting experience only strengthens the listening experience as he expertly dives into different voices and gives various impressions of himself sort of singing in the car.  If you’re not able to view the special itself, don’t worry – Oswalt ensures that listeners are easily able to picture what’s going on.

Filmed in Seattle, Finest Hour is TWENTY THREE tracks of absolute entertainment that fans have come to expect from Patton Oswalt, and includes a very special treat in which he drudges up a certain past fast-food bit.   If you’re a fan of comedy in any facet, you’ll want to pick it up today.

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