Patton Oswalt paints society’s downfall with ‘Tragedy Plus Comedy Equals Time’

Photo/Comedy Central
Photo/Comedy Central

[dropcap]P[/dropcap]atton Oswalt is a gentleman with a collection of contrasting reputations. To 2000’s sitcom fans, he’s Spencer from the beloved ‘King of Queen’, and to kids who know their Disney films he’s Remy in ‘Ratatouille’, but stand up comedy faithful recognize the man as a voice of self deprecating humor and dystopic world views.

It’s the latter of these three that he brings to his newest special ‘Tragedy Plus Comedy Equals Time’.

The latest production in Oswalt’s career as a stand up comedian was filmed in San Diego, CA last year, and touches on subject matter including America’s future, parenthood, depression, selling out, and buying a hooker.

As he’s been known to do throughout his years on stage, Oswalt delivers the worst of the world to his audience in a way that makes it all seem ok, and even more so, humorous. And, despite all the woe inspiring realizations, fans will recognize this as far more upbeat, jovial performance from one of the titans of dark comedy.

One of the oddly subtle themes of Oswalt’s set seems to be problem realization, followed by acceptance. The comedian tells a tale of his daughter living a happy childhood and the satisfaction it has brought him, then quickly thrusts this into the context of a ‘Lord of the Flies’ hellscape that exists where other children maim each other with wooden spears.

Realizing that his child will be under prepared for the impending doom of society, Oswalt does what he is seemingly forced to do; accept reality and enjoy the moment of being a good father.

This behavior also manifests itself in the face of a newly found creativity wielded by his mental depression (be prepared for Lean Cuisine + Toto = Suicide) and the discovery that selling out might just make Nickelback heroes. It’s a jolting swerve that will make you crack a smile and belt out laughing in the face of things you vehemently hate.

Perhaps the most memorable joke of the evening comes from a recent story of Patton being booked for the most lucrative gig of his career.

But of course this leads to him being exuberantly shouted at for half an hour by obscenely drunk casino patrons. Because really, what better way is there to make thousands of dollars? Oddly enough, the entirety of this joke is no more funny or outrageous than it is triumphant and apathetic.

Where once there was an edgy, bitter young man who wished to decry the faults of the world, now there is the Patton Oswalt of the present, who has decided to give up and enjoy what he’s become.

‘Tragedy Plus Comedy Equals Time’ airs tonight at 10pm EST on Comedy Central.