I gave Patton Oswalt's book Zombie Spaceship Wasteland 3 out of 5 stars on Goodreads but you should still read it, and I shall tell you why.
I love Patton Oswalt. A lot. Stand-up comics have occupied a disproportionate section of my brain since I was 12 and Comedy Central Presents appeared, and with the advent of Spotify, you can hear all their albums without spending a ton of money (however, if they're doing the brilliant 'give me $5 for my album' thing that Louis C.K. started, DO IT, because most comedians are not J.P. Morgan -- in fact, he probably wasn't funny at all). I saw Patton Oswalt (from here on referred to simply as 'Patton' because 'Oswalt' sounds so cold, and also I want to pretend we're friends) on shows like Reno 911, but I hadn't heard his stand-up until recently and therefore I only realized a year ago that he. is. so smart.
He wavers between this intellectually elite, could-talk-circles-around-his-audience vibe, to ridiculously crass, "here's what you guys want, but I also just talk this way sometimes" levels of humor. When mocking his "Physics for Poets" class in college that he had to take as an English major, he describes it as "where the students would ask questions like 'Is the red planet Mercury like the crimson eye of Cerebus?'"
So the book of this funny, frustrated, brilliant, nerdy man. It's short. It's around 190 pages. On one level, I'm glad his publisher seems to have just let him do whatever he wanted with it. Sometimes comedians need to just experiment and throw all their shit out there, and some of it turns out to be the Next Level of Comedy, but some...does not work. Because the essay-style was so all over the place, it felt kind of wandery and 'Wait...what's happening now'ish.
THAT BEING SAID. I'm still keeping it so I can read it again. His essay about working in a movie theater as a teenager in his small town? Fantastic. His story about working in the worst town in Canada (nay, in perhaps the world)? COMPELLING STUFF. And the awesome thing about comedy is that maybe you'll love all the stuff I was like "Meh, didn't really work for me" about. You know what I find hilarious every time I see it, and which NO ONE ELSE has ever laughed at with me? The moment in Big when Elizabeth Perkins's character is trying to make Tom Hanks hit on her and she finally just says "I'M REALLY VULNERABLE RIGHT NOW." So you never know with comedy.
What I do know is that Patton is smart and thoughtful and a giant nerd. OH, and he has an essay in his book about Dungeons and Dragons that cleared up a lot of questions for me.
|Also how do you not read something|
with this as the author pic?
For those of you with Spotify: Patton Oswalt. My Weakness Is Strong. The track "Rats." Worth it.
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