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Patton Oswalt: No Reason to Complain (2004)

Stand-up special from Patton Oswalt.

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Stand-up special from Patton Oswalt.

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2004 (USA)  »

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No reason to complain... Patton's brilliant!!
8 January 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

It's a shame that sub-standard comedians like Dane Cook have achieved mainstream success because they make 14-year-old girls' hearts go aflutter, but genuinely brilliant comics such as Patton Oswalt go unnoticed. Oswalt, the pudgy, baby-faced comic whose resume includes "King of Queens" and "Reno 911", is one of the most unique comics of our time. He eschews stale conventional humor (relationships, pop culture) and offers a fresh, if sometimes warped, perspective on the ridiculous state of the world. His topics range from the dumbing down of America, the homo-eroticism of '80s hair band videos, and midgets. Forget the "next level" of humor… Oswalt fearlessly takes a joke to numerous planes just when you think that it can't go any further. One example, which is also my favorite bit, Oswalt discusses how the steakhouse Black Angus practically tortures its patrons with its endless array of "angry food": (Imitating a Black Angus waiter): "At Black Angus, we'll start you off with five deep-fried gulf shrimp served on a disk of salted butter, served with 15 our of Potato-Bacon Bombs, and a big bowl of pork cracklin's, with our cheese and butter dippin' sauce!" (As himself): "Uh, we're gonna split that."

"Oh, you'll each get your own!!!" Sound appalling? Just wait… it only gets funnier (and more horrifying) from there.

A self-proclaimed "man without a country" (he dislikes both hippies and Republicans), Oswalt theorizes that Bush will bring about the "Biblical apocalypse" and that dying in the apocalypse will get you a special spot in Heaven ("you should have been there! There were volcanoes that spewed menstrual blood… and there were sentient razors that cut your face, Bush was President, and mediocrity held sway!").

Yet Oswalt isn't as nihilistic and angry as George Carlin, Chris Rock, or Lewis Black. Instead of waxing poetic on how much the world sucks, he shows us how absurd modern life is… not to mention hilarious. He's also a refreshing antidote to the increasingly safe and white bread humor of comedians like Bill Engvall or Jeff Foxworthy. More in the vein of offbeat yet upbeat comedians like Louis C.K. or Jim Gaffigan, Oswalt is a gifted comic who might one day get the recognition he deserves. In fact, that day is closer than we think, since he stars in the 2007 Pixar animated film, "Ratatouille".


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