Patton Oswalt’s new special “Tragedy Plus Comedy Equals Time” is getting the now commonplace combo CD/DVD treatment by Comedy Central.  Always an exceptional value.

When are we going to stop referring to Oswalt as an “alternative” comic?  An alternative to what?  The label is supposed to denote that Oswalt is not a “typical” comic.  But, again, typical compared to what?  Comics have many different styles and voices.  Only one thing matters, and that’s if the comic is funny.  Oswalt has spent the last 20 or so years showing time and time again that he is an absolute master of his craft.

Oswalt’s comedy has become a bit more relatable with less “ranting” than earlier albums.  That makes perfect sense, considering that with age and maturity his priorities have changed.  This new album focuses heavily on that very fact.  Patton Oswalt talks about how, in his earlier days, he could have spent tons of time talking about how he “hates” certain music.  Now, there is just music he listens to, and music he doesn’t.  He now has bits about being a father and a husband, and how his depression has started taking different forms as a result of his new lifestyle.  He talks about how, in the past, he would have angrily argued that certain bands are “sellouts” because they are just chasing money and women, while now realizing that horrible, atrocious things are done in the name of chasing money and women, and perhaps pursuing music for that goal is not so bad.

Oswalt from 15 years ago probably would have mocked present-day Oswalt for his marriage and parenthood material, but the beauty of Oswalt is that even when dealing with incredibly stale topics, he always find a fresh approach and manages to breathe new life into them.

The longest, and one of the best, bits on this album, is a story about when Oswalt found himself at the crossroads between integrity and money.  He details a very long story about getting offered an obscene amount of money to perform at a casino.  He was given a suite at the casino bigger than his entire house, and was told he only had to perform for 30 minutes despite the enormous paycheck.  The audience was comprised of nothing but drunks and, due to Oswalt’s celebrity status, they started cheering when Oswalt took the stage and began yelling out everything they had ever seen Oswalt in.  King of Queens!  Ratatouille!  And, Oswalt basically just stood there and let them have their drunken fun, never delivering a single joke.  At the end, the woman in charge of the casino said the show was great, and offered to have Patton Oswalt come back every weekend if he wanted.  At that point, Oswalt realized he could make tons of money with very little effort, or could chose integrity and continue working out brilliant material.

Fortunately for us, he chose integrity.  And, fortunately for you, you can now go buy this Comedy Central Records album.

Tragedy Plus Comedy Equals Time
Patton Oswalt
Comedy CD and DVD set
Comedy Central Records 2014

Our Comedy Central page.


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