Patton Oswalt ('No Reason To Complain')
'The Return of Grumpus!'
Patton Oswalt is best known as Spence on the CBS hit television series, “The King of Queens,” now in its 8th season. He is also a stand-up comedian who has been headlining comedy clubs all over the country since 1996.
Now America will get a glimpse of the unusual and often hilarious lives of a comedian on the road when Comedy Central releases 'Patton Oswalt - No Reason to Complain: Uncensored' on DVD this April 4th.
Patton can also be seen out and about live on the upcoming “Comedians of Comedy” tour, which also features Brian Posehn, Maria Bamford and Zach Galifianakis.
Patton has also become a regular panelist on “Late Night w/ Conan O’Brien,” as a guest co-host on “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” and “The Howard Stern Show.” His comedy CD, 'Feelin’ Kinda Patton,' received rave reviews upon its release in the summer of 2004. Recorded live, the album offers the wickedly insightful reflections that earned him a place as one of Variety’s “10 Comedians to Watch” and Entertainment Weekly’s “It” comedian for 2002.
Prior to his new television series, Patton had three successful stand-up specials, one for HBO and two for Comedy Central… a half-hour special for their “Comedy Central Presents” series and most recently a one-hour special. In 2000, he opened for Aimee Mann and Michael Penn on their Acoustic Vaudeville Tour in the U.S as well as London and Dublin. He headlined the Kilkenny Comedy Festival in the summer of 2005, following it up with a sold-out, two-week run at the Soho Theatre in London.
On the big screen, Patton has had featured roles in “Starsky and Hutch,” “Blade III” and “Zoolander.”
Chatting recently with Patton, and noting that he once described himself as a ‘Man without a Country,' I wondered if he still actually felt that way today? "Yeah, I really am. I'm really confused right now and it's got even worse. As at this point I honestly don't see how any sane person could argue in favor of George Bush! But, it so frustrates me that the other side that should be taking power is doing nothing. They're playing it so safe and they're totally ignoring the anger and confusion in the rest of the country. So, it's so surreal for me to watch the whole thing. I feel like I'm in one of those weird, benign nightmares where everything's moving kinda slow. Where there's no direct threat but there's something ominous on the horizon that you can't put your finger on."
So what can we do to change that? "Well, I don't know what's gonna happen, but now it's at the point where everything that I said about him leading up to this war, well, it turned out I was right. And I'm never right about most of that stuff, but I'm actually right for once. It's almost like I'm a dog that has always chased cars and now I've caught one I don't know what to do with it. So, yeah, what happens now that I was totally right?!"
"But, I do wanna say to those people that do support him, I wanna be gentle and say 'Look, hey, you got fooled too! We all got fooled. It's OK, no harm no foul.' But, they're still like 'No, no. He's great'."
You also have a vehement passion against Hippies too! Why?! "Yeah, 'cause there was so much wasted energy and passion that could have been focused into really bringing someone down. Bringing a very dangerous world leader down, but I think it was more about 'Hey, we're gonna put on our beads and dance around again like I was when I was 20.' It was more nostalgia then it was trying to move forward and fix things."
Your bit on the new DVD that includes 'Dr. Pepper' was hilarious, but did he really exist?! "Yeah, but I've been doing that bit for years, since I saw that guy in 1999. I was in Toronto hosting an Open Mic and he was one of the performers. I used to have videotape of it, but I loaned it to a friend and never got it back. It was amazing and the audience loooooved it."
Based on another of your quips on this DVD, if you could have your own face changed whose would it be molded into and what is the first thing you’d do with your new face? "I would make it look like Lincoln on the $5 bill and I would use it to bribe poor people!"
As a stand-up comedian who has been headlining comedy clubs for the past 10 years, is there one gig occasion that stands out that was just horrific in everything that it tried to be one night? "That's a weird question to answer, 'cause when things have gone really, really wrong on stage I tend to get really excited! So, it's a strange thing, 'cause like I got booed off of stage in Pittsburgh a couple of years ago and I really kinda dug it! That was really pretty cool and very exciting for me! But, the only time when I feel like 'Oh God, please get me outta here' is when I'm on stage and I'm doing my stuff and they're just kinda laughing in a whatever kind of way. Like nothing's really happening."
Having done stand-up for a while before, was getting the writing job for MADtv the real commercial starting point for you? "I've been doing stand-up since 1988 so when MADtv came about it was such a great thing for me to be able to learn how to structure things and write in a disciplined style. And it also gave me extra money so that I could do more touring."
Would you call stand-up your job? "Yeah, I think that it really is my job. Well, more like this hobby that pays really, really well and lets me do whatever I want."
Perhaps being best known as Spence on 'The King of Queens,' does this fact haunt you after all this time? "Being on the show certainly helped my profile, but I'm very glad that I took the responsibility upon myself to release CDs and DVDs and do tours so that people wouldn't be coming out saying 'Oh look, this is the guy from the TV show'. They would know that this was a different thing."
Please tell us just one behind-the-scenes secret about the show which will then enable us all to watch it through different eyes! "Ummm, there's a lot of like weird in-jokes hidden in every episode. Look for the word 'Yuspa.' She was one of our early writers and then producers so we always use that word in nearly every other episode."
When the show comes to and end, and let’s say some TV writers create a ‘Joeyesque’ spin-off series for you, what would its name become and where would it be set?! "I would like to call it 'Spence & Spenceability' and I'm flung back in time to a Victorian novel."
What’s been your personal fav moment in 'The King of Queens' 8th season thus far? "From this season there's a really cool B-story that I am in coming up on April 10th. I don't want to spoil it but I thought it was very well written and really fun. So, look for that!"
So, away from comedy, what do you like to do? What are your passions? "I travel a lot, I read a lot, I'm a huge movie buff who's always watching films, ... and I have a dog that I mess around with all the time. His name is Grumpus, he's 9 months old, and he's a French Bulldog."
OK, and I know this is getting a little personal, but why is he called 'Grumpus'?! "Er, that's what my wife calls me 'cause I'm so grumpy in the morning."
Finally, do you have a famous quote that you live by? "Yes, and I'm gonna quote Frank Zappa here, as he said 'In the future we're all gonna die from nostalgia.' Which I always, always remember."
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
If you would like to win an AUTOGRAPHED copy of Patton's brand new DVD, just answer this easy question: 'Feelin’ Kinda Patton' was the first full-length recording from Patton Oswalt ... but where and in what club was it recorded?
Send me your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win one of these great new and AUTOGRAPHED DVDs! Just send us an e:mail here before May 15th with your answer and the subject title 'PATTON OSWALT SIGNED DVDs' to: email@example.com
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