Patton Oswalt’s 2012 performance at Tulalip Resort Casino was such a delightfully sauced mess that the story became a 10-minute bit on his most recent standup special, Tragedy Plus Comedy Equals Time. But he isn’t haunted by that crowd of what he calls in the bit “the drunkest human beings [he’s] ever seen.” “Seattle, for me, is a day spa as a comedian,” Oswalt says now.
Oswalt’s return trip features a double dip of comedy and literature. On January 30, he’ll unleash his nerdy blitzkrieg of standup at the Pantages Theatre in Tacoma, and on January 31, he’ll host a discussion of his new book, Silver Screen Fiend, at Town Hall.
Ostensibly a followup to Oswalt’s first memoir, Zombie Spaceship Wasteland, Fiend is part autobiography and part love letter to the classic movies he gorged on while breaking into the LA comedy scene. The plan was to write about the low-budget space operas and black-and-white noirs he geeked out about at the time—until he looked at old calendars and started drawing connections between films he watched and jobs he had. “I realized ‘Oh wait a minute; if I saw that movie two days before doing this thing, then that affected this thing that I did,’ ” he says.
Take, for example, the time he saw Apollo 13 just before filming a bit part in the 1996 comedy Down Periscope. But rather than Tom Hanks, it was Clint Howard who shifted Oswalt’s thinking. “It’s just one line, but he delivers it so perfectly that it changes the tenor of the film,” he says. “And I got it in my head that one line can really make an impact on not only the scene that you’re in, but everything that follows afterward.”