Before becoming a big-time comedian and TV star, Patton Oswalt used to walk the halls of Broad Run High school and call Sterling home. Before returning to the DMV for two shows at the Kennedy Center, we sat down with the comedian to learn about his upcoming tour, NoVA ties, and life in L.A.
What exactly are your Northern Virginia ties?
I was born in Portsmouth and moved to Sterling after a few months, and lived there right up until college.
And you’re an L.A. guy now?
Well, I live in L.A., yes. I’m not sure I’m an “L.A. guy.”
Do you get back to NoVA much?
Oh, yeah. I come back all the time to visit family, but I don’t have any regular hangouts—everything’s changed so much. No regular hangs.
What are some of your recent high points, professionally?
I absolutely loved doing Mapleworth Murders on Quibi with Paula Pell. I got to hang out with my friends, like J.B. Smoove and Jack McBrayer. It was so much fun. Paula is just a legend.
Can we expect a lot of political material on your upcoming comedy tour?
I don’t like to give away the material in advance—I like to surprise people. But I don’t see how you can do comedy in this day and age without being political.
What do you do for fun?
I’m not getting out much, because I think we’re headed for another outbreak. I hate to be the doomsday voice, but that’s just what I’m afraid will happen. But I love it when I can stay at home and not go out. I love not going out. My idea of fun is the opposite of most people’s. It’s really maddening, though, that people are making a political issue out of vaccines.
Like how Ron DeSantis has been fund-raising via merchandise like beer koozies that say “Don’t Fauci my Florida”?
Yes! That’s like if in the ’50s people were like, “Don’t Salk my Scranton.” The anti-vaccine crowd keeps talking about herd immunity, and it’s like, I hate to say it, but some of the herd is going to have to die off and then we’ll have immunity. And all of the Fox News hosts saying dire things about vaccinations—they’re all vaccinated!
So how do you come up with funny stuff? Do you sit down and force yourself to write, or do things just come to you at 3 a.m.?
I’m afraid my method is just to think of a few funny things, then go on stage and try it out with people. I’ve been doing that lately in preparation for going on tour—just trying things out at local comedy clubs.
Who were your biggest comedy influences?
Oh, growing up, it was the usual—George Carlin, Richard Pryor. And then, from the time I started doing comedy in 1988, just my circle of friends who were also doing comedy.
How is married life treating you? (Oswalt, a widower, wed actress Meredith Salenger in 2017.)
If anything, I’m funnier now. Because I married someone who’s really smart and funny.