Five thoughts: Patton Oswalt at the Joint (December 2)

Patton Oswalt, performing December 2 at the Joint.
Photo: Brenton Ho
Jason Harris

1. The early portion of the politically conscious comedian’s set was mostly dedicated to the president. The 48-year-old Oswalt took the stance that while most think it’s easy to write Trump jokes, it’s actually quite difficult. He said, “You can’t do Trump jokes on a weekend because he’s just going to something crazier on Monday.” Oswalt first compared this burden to going to a Chinese restaurant and receiving 23 egg rolls. (“I only want one!”) He then went further, explaining that it's like a crazy guy defecating on the street and yelling about Hitler—and then, when the comedian writes the greatest joke about that situation, the crazy guy turns his feces into a “sh*t sombrero,” rendering the joke irrelevant.

2. On going from Obama to Trump and what it means for future elections, Oswalt summed it up this way: “We had eight years of a cool black guy. And then the choices were this very qualified woman and a racist scrotum dipped in Cheeto dust. And the country was like, ‘Let’s see what the scrotum has to say.’ It was too much of a jump to go from black guy to woman. Trump is our racist palate-cleanser … We will get a woman president, but keep in mind when her term is over, the choices will very probably be a very qualified gay guy and then a KKK dude with the ass cut out of his pants. And the country will go, ‘Let’s see what the KKK guy knows. The ass cut-out thing is kind of cool.’”

3. Oswalt, who has a new Netflix special titled Annihilation out, went into the crowd three times to talk to different audience members. While each instance produced funny results, it wasn’t the organic kind of crowd work that fits seamlessly into a set. In fact, two of the three times it slowed down the momentum of the show.

4. Some might have expected Oswalt to dig deep into his personal life due to the sudden passing of his first wife last year and his recent remarriage, but he kept things mostly light. He was able to mine plenty of laughs out of thinking he could fit into John Varvatos pants. “John Varvatos makes amazing clothes if you are a heroin addict who eats one rice cake a year.” It’s good to see a jovial Oswalt doing what he loves: telling jokes with a smile on his face.

5. Kudos to opener Brad Wenzel. The even-keel comic is like a more approachable Steven Wright, with jokes like, “A lot of people think the middle finger is the most offensive hand gesture—and those people have never given someone’s baby a thumbs down.”

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