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Patton Oswalt Biography

  • Profession: Actor, Executive Producer
  • Born: Jan 27, 1969
  • Died: Jan 1, 0001

The gifted young comedian Patton Oswalt first carved a name for himself as a bit player in television programs, where he seemingly made the perfect everyman. Even those who fail to recognize the comic's agnomen doubtless encountered him as early as the mid- to late '90s, on such hit programs as [[Feature~V306202~NewsRadio~newsradio[tvseries]]], [[Feature~V174957~Dr. Katz~drkatz[animatedtvseries]]], [[Feature~V263932~Mr. Show~mrshow[tvseries]]], and [[Feature~V276165~Seinfeld~seinfeld[tvseries]]]. (He was particularly memorable in the latter, as the video-store clerk who refuses to proffer a customer's address to a conniving George Costanza.) Oswalt also penned sketches for the long-running series MADtv and frequently lent his voice to Comedy Central's [[Feature~V274113~Crank Yankers~crankyankers[tvseries]]], as one of the program's below-the-belt prank callers.

Beginning in 1996 (and for at least four years thereafter), Oswalt began touring the country with his standup act and hitting comedy clubs; in 1997, he hosted his first standup special on HBO and received a positive response. Unabashedly iconoclastic and atheistic, with many routines devoted to excoriating Christianity and what he perceives as the hypocrisies of middle-American values, Oswalt buries his anti-establishment cynicism beneath a deceptively soft exterior (setting himself apart from, say, the more openly caustic and rave-happy [[Performer~P10949~George Carlin~georgecarlin]]). Whatever the subject at hand, Oswalt displays a quick wit, a fearlessness to speak his mind, and an ability to unveil ironies behind practically everything. Regardless of one's personal convictions, Oswalt is also frequently hilarious, with his well-known impersonations of such personalities as [[Performer~P89202~Robert Evans~robertevans]] and [[Performer~P52916~Nick Nolte~nicknolte]] absolutely unparalleled and definite high points in his routines, as are his riffs on pornography and bizarre sexual proclivities.

In 1998, Oswalt landed his second recurring role on a television series, and his highest billing up through that time: that of Spence Olchin, one of the three buddies of [[Performer~P35101~Kevin James~kevinjames]]' Doug Heffernan, on the sitcom [[Feature~V173484~The King of Queens~thekingofqueens[tvseries]]]; he remained with the series for several seasons. Scattered movie roles followed -- typically bit parts at first, such as that of the scuba diver who experiences a bizarre death in the prologue of [[Performer~P231996~Paul Thomas Anderson~paulthomasanderson]]'s [[Feature~V181277~Magnolia~magnolia]] (1999) and Hedges in [[Feature~V287617~Blade: Trinity~blade:trinity]] (2004).

Around 2004, Oswalt took a temporary siesta from acting, and re-launched himself into the arena of standup comedy. He and several friends ([[Performer~P302563~Brian Posehn~brianposehn]], [[Performer~P283671~Zach Galifianakis~zachgalifianakis]], and [[Performer~P429843~Maria Bamford~mariabamford]]) formed the "Comedians of Comedy" troupe and mounted a coast-to-coast tour; that ensemble headlined an eponymous 2005 concert film. Oswalt issued his first standup album, {^Feelin' Kinda Patton}, in 2004; it drew critical raves and impressive sales. He followed it up with a joint effort alongside [[Performer~P283671~Galifianakis~zachgalifianakis]], the 2005 recording {^Patton vs. Alcohol vs. Zach vs. Patton}, and the 2006 concert film [[Feature~V339145~Patton Oswalt: No Reason to Complain~pattonoswalt:noreasontocomplain]]. A sophomore solo recording, {^Lollipops and Werewolves}, appeared in the summer of 2007.

That same year, Oswalt voiced the character of Remy -- a French rat with a refined culinary instinct who single-handedly overturns Parisian haute cuisine -- in the Pixar animated film [[Feature~V345519~Ratatouille~ratatouille]]. It marked Oswalt's first reception of premier billing in an A-list feature and his debut work for Pixar.

In 2009 he had the lead in the underrated indie drama Big Fan, as a man assaulted by the best player on his favorite football team, appeared in The Informant, and recorded the stand-up special My Weakness Is Strong. In 2011 he had a memorable turn in A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas, released the stand-up concert Finest Hour, and earned the best reviews of his career playing opposite Charlize Theron in Young Adult. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi