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Snippet of the Comedy Album Book Club Volume 7: Patton Oswalt Interview

From Audio: Comedy Album Book Club: Vol 7 - Supplemental - Our interview with Patton Oswalt

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Duration: 13:46
Patton took time out of his busy schedule to sit down with Jason and discuss Werewolves & Lollipops, comedy and helping bring Michelle McNamara's project I'll Be Gone In The Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer to the public.
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Patton took time out of his busy schedule to sit down with Jason and discuss Werewolves & Lollipops, comedy and helping bring Michelle McNamara's project I'll Be Gone In The Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer to the public.
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Hey, is this Mr Patton Oswald? Hi, guys. How you doing? My name's Jason Deadline E. I don't know if you know anything about this podcast we dio ITT's called Comedy Album Book Club, and we've been doing it for about seven months. And what we do is we all get together in a comedy club and listen to an album somebody picked. And then a bunch of comedians talk about it on a panel for the podcast. And we did Bob Newhart and we did nickels in May. And then my buddy and McIntyre said, Well, how about werewolves and lollipops? Eso We listened to it and we liked it. Yeah, so we talked about it a bunch. And, uh, you know, I asked him why he didn't pick you your first album and he said, Well, first of all, because it's over two hours long, But then, you know, there was feeling kind of patent, And but he said this was your first great album. Yeah, I wonder what you thought about that. Like, do you? I don't know if you listen to your old albums ever, and, um, I mean, I was kind of like when I record an album. It's kind of done like I move on and kind of picked up here. I I rarely go back and listen to it again. It's just sort of a snapshot in time. I'm always trying to work on new stuff. I guess so, Yeah, that's kind of I don't really go back and analyze it. And we listened to it. Do people bring stuff up to you and like that you don't remember? Or that you go, Oh, man, Yeah, that was forever ago or center. The world will bring up a bit and I don't know all those little ins and outs of it like maybe I should, which, you know, I always feel kind of bad about, But it's just cause I'm always have new, uh, new stuff in mind. It's a weird thing, right? Like when you meet people who have your own work memorized better than you do. I imagine that is always very, uh, very, very flattering when they do that, Yeah, but it's not very flattering. Is it hard to talk about, though, like they know it so well. And maybe you don't anymore. Like you said, you feel like you're letting them down. But you can't be expected toe. Well, it's not that it's hard to talk about it, just like it affected them. It's like it's like when ah Band puts out an album you don't get to control, how a song or, uh Or if you're a comedian, how a bit lands on someone. So you know you have your own thing. And if they have their own interpretation of their own way of getting into it, then who might go? Well, actually, no, I'm in it this way. So right. What about what about comedy Albums of your Like I know you're You're a big movie guy and you seem to be a guy who likes to complete things like check off the list of cult movies and stuff like that. Like, Is there anything with comedy albums like that for you? Or Were there Was there a list you wanted to listen to? Or that you did listen to? I was never a completed when it came to comedy album, and I just wanted Thio, you know, kind of enjoy stuff. I never had a list of album. There was always more movies with me. Um, So there was that. What's a What's a comedy album you can think of? Like like if you were, uh, if you were to do the podcast and want to talk about a comedy album, Is there one that sticks out for you? There's a Richard Pryor album called Are You Serious? And It's a really fascinating because he's sort of making the transition from, uh, that when he was trying to be kind of a a more straight laced comedian to the Richard Pryor that we kind of, um, no in love. See the you know, you're watching this guy becoming who he is, and it's amazing to kind of go, Uh oh, wow. So, you know, he wasn't just sprung from the forehead of Zeus. He had to form himself to, and, you know, you see a genius like that doing the work, it makes you go, you know? Well, I'm going to try to put in the work. Maybe I could reach those levels. Probably not, but, you know, he's human. Yeah, right. Yeah. It's need to see that moment in time where something was actually incubating right before they were the polished product. Yeah. Yeah. Do you feel like there was a point in that for you that we could listen to? Is there a place that you would say? Here's where I kind of figured it out. I don't know again. That's up to the listeners. It's not really up to me. You know, it's up Thio because it depends on who they what they liked me for or what don't what they don't like me for. And then, um so you know that that's they decide what that moment is or isn't. I don't get to decide that or decide that for myself. And even if I did, I certainly wouldn't say it out loud. Sure, yeah, OK, do you Do you feel like there's a very reason Different reasons why people like you? I know it's weird to talk about why people like you and stuff, but I mean, there's very reasons why people like anything, but, you know, that's not my That's not my area of that's That's not my department. Thio. Try to figure that out. That's for other people, not me. I'm trying to just do new work all the time. Is that Is that a difficult thing? I mean, there was 11 quote from your book that really start stood out to me. And it was any true creative endeavor demands constant evolution, growth, experimentation and challenge. And I thought that was that was a great quote. Pretty profound. Uh, you know, from, ah, comedians perspective, I think. But then I started thinking, You know, ah, lot of comedians do have toe drop everything they've done. Once an album or special comes out and then start over and keep digging. And does that get harder or to keep coming up with stuff that's important yourself? Just change. It is not that it gets harder. You know your way. You're constantly becoming more and more comfortable being on stage. So I think the harder thing is Thio let go of things that you have become very comfortable with. And they have worked for you because otherwise then that will just become your things so that you'll notice little. You'll start to notice little, um, tricks and quartz and ways of saying things that you'll rely on and you'll go anywhere to go. Okay, now, I can't do that anymore. I gotta think of something else here, right? Yeah. It seems like as your career has gone on, you get more and more personal. I mean, obviously, big things have happened to you along the way, but do you feel like you've become mawr comfortable, you know, sort of bearing your soul to the world is then you were in the beginning, you know? Yeah. I mean, yeah, but I think everybody does. You know, everyone becomes more comfortable as comedians or just people in general with age or with people in general or anyone doing, you know, pursuing any kind of artistic, um, or even a vocational thing. You know, there's a ah, guy who's an architect or a carpenter or a bricklayer, you know, starts out very, very basic. And as they go on, they they, um, doom or and mawr, you know, as they become more comfortable with their tools and with the medium, you know, I think that they try to reach for, um uh, you know, harder and harder things, right? Yeah. You can't just keep doing the same thing over and over. It gets boring. I guess people demand more of you these days. It seems it seems it seems like they audiences more want the more personal stuff now to than it used to be like. Comedians can't rely as much on it. Do you ever notice airplane food like E feels like audiences Air demanding more personal stuff from comedians? Well, but But they also are demanding just newer ways in the old form. So it would if you thought of a brilliant take on airline food or on the take on people doing jokes about airline food that you'd never thought of the that no one had ever thought of before. Then that could also be Justus, you know? I mean, the Book of Mormon was is a brilliant musical, but they didn't do anything with the form of Broadway musicals. If anything, they used very, very familiar form of songs you already know to kind of smuggle in way deeper ideas and stuff. So, you know, Thio, sit there and go Well, this is hacking. This can't be done. Well, maybe there's. Maybe you're the one that will find a new way into it. I want to ask about your heckler on worlds and lollipops like that turned into a pretty good chunk of that track. And I wonder if you. You know, it seemed like a gift in a way, because so much great stuff became came out of your improv about that. But I wonder how you if you remember how you felt when it happened or how you feel when it does happen now, I don't really I don't I don't really think about it or analyze it. I mean, the reason that I'm so good with hecklers on stage because I've failed so many times and hecklers have gotten the better of me. And then the next day I woke up. It was like, Oh, the world didn't them. So I just you know, it's not that I'm so brilliant or so fearless. I've just failed so many times, but now I'm just like, I'll just I don't care. Right? So it doesn't bother you Either way, it's not imagine most comedians prefer it doesn't happen. They've got something rehearsed. But, oh, I totally prefer it doesn't happen. Do not help a show. They stop a show from being show. Yeah, yeah, I think it's unfair that comedians seem to be. I mean, especially women in the last few years seem to be criticized for how they handle a heckler, and people don't seem to understand. Like that's not the show. Like people don't can't just walk in a movie theater and pause the film and start talking, and then you regain momentum like it's a tough, unexpected thing. It's always gonna be a problem that hopefully, hopefully you can cultivate smarter and smarter audiences. But what do you do? You think the onus is also on the comedian to constantly be to be ready for that and toe have sort of armor ready to go? No, it should. The owners, the owners for that should be on the club owners. Yeah, to stop that happening. Yeah. It doesn't tend to happen too much where people get kicked out. It seems like a lot of owners think that's part of the show is Well, yeah, but some people, they're just like, you know, there's still that holdover from the eighties where drunks working. Yeah. Yeah, they're paying the keeping the lights on, right? I guess. Yeah. Do you think most good stand up comedians are also good writers. I mean, listening to your albums when you tell these stories, it seems like they're very purposefully laid out and ordered like you talk about punching up and how you might come on to a movie and they go, well, can we put this scene here or that scene here? I imagine that kind of craft goes into the stand up well, and it makes me think that really good standups must be great writers and be able to understand how stories work. That might seem like an obvious thing, but e I mean that a joke and the story are two very, very different things. I can't really explain it in technical terms, but there's plenty of comedians that they just do the set up the punch line. They strip it down, which is great. That's a great art form, but and you expect it to be writers, which, um demands a little more sustained concentration and attention to more maybe elliptical detail. There's a lot of comedians that when they had a book deal with something, they just transcribe their actor. They're just they're just not into the act of writing. So, you know, I was always into writing before I became a stand up, so I don't think that it's true that all great comedians are also great writers. So do you feel like you came out from sort of the opposite way you're writing really informed the way you did stand up. You're already sort of a ver boast type person. And I wanted to tell a story. Yes. Yeah, I mean, I guess because my my initial interest was in reading and writing. I'm not saying that makes me a better comedian to saying that. I just I just My brain is wired differently, right? Other other comedians you think you have styles in common with, um I mean, just my circle of friends that I came up with Only because we all I know we're having the same experiences and hung out with each other all the time, right? And do you think that came out of sort of, ah, rejection at all of how comedy was being done at the time, or, I mean, it was just it was whatever our generation was dealing with time. Yeah. I mean, you always every every new wave coming up projects the one before it because you're trying to form your own. Um, you're trying to form your own, um, voice. I guess so. you know, there is that generational thing that happens in everything and not just in comedy, but just in in society itself, right? I get the feeling to that. People that you know people who become famous now are people who are known for any kind of art are expected to be, um, accessible to a degree like to be on Twitter or Thio. Talk to fans and toe. You know, it seems like the people were fans of now are people who seem like a regular person for lack of a better term. You know, ego is no longer in fashion. It's not this untouchable thing that we want. It's I think it's that we want someone who seems like us, and we can feel that we can use them as an avatar or something. I mean, everyone is in anything in a book you read in a piece of music, you know, you see a piece of yourself in there because everyone's just, um, looking for I'm not articulating this very well. I mean again, I think it's just a general. I just think it's a generational thing. I listened toe this week to more of your your book again. Your your most recent one, the screen fiend One. And one thing I caught in there was when you're talking about your time at mad TV that you were, you were bitter and envious towards other comedians who were doing well. And, uh, you know, eventually you got to a point where you could sort of champion other people and you could be excited by people doing things. And I wondered how you overcame that. Like, that seems like a big, dark feeling that it seems like just went away. I mean, how did you get to a point where you realize that envy and bitterness weren't doing you any good and and to look at the brighter side? Uh, you know, it comes from mellowing with age. It comes from, you know, getting a little bit of perspective as you get older when you're younger. You you don't really have any experience yet, So you think that your, um you think that, you know life is short? Well, life, this life could be really long and, you know, try to enjoy the experience is more than you know, just, uh um, if you're just you don't get ahead because you claw your way to the top. You get ahead because you work hard at what you're doing. Your knife. Then people want you to succeed, right? Yeah. I guess everybody has to learn that on their own.
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