The chubby, self-effacing funnyman with a supporting role on “The King of Queens” has upped his hipster cred a tick or two by putting out a stellar comedy album on the Sub Pop label. Piggy-backing on the release of Ratatouille, a family-friendly Pixar animated flick starring Oswalt as the voice of a rat that wants to be a Parisian chef, along with a tasty slew of work on everything from “Sponge Bob Square Pants” to an uncredited writing gig on the Borat movie, our boy from the planned community of Sterling, Virginia now appeals to everyone from elderly alcoholic shut-ins to cereal-swilling ankle-biters with limited language skills. Hell, it takes a brilliantly offensive comedic mind to get booed off a stage in San Francisco for making fun of hippies, only to have the same thing happen in Pittsburgh for chiding president Bush.
Who else but Patton Oswalt could open his set with a lengthy joke about Kentucky Fried Chicken, describing their infamous fare as a “failure pile in a sadness bowl?” Alright, maybe Jim Gaffigan could, but the point is that he didn’t…or won’t. Let Gaffigan have his Hot Pockets, Oswalt has his KFC. With chunks like “Physics for Poets,” “Wackity Schmackity Doo!” and an extended diatribe on Cirque de Soleil, the Vegas production that he describes as “catnip for old people,” as well as an indulgent geeky bit on how if he had a time machine he would go back in history and kill George Lucas with a shovel to prevent him from making the three horrible prequels to the Star Wars movies, Oswalt triumphs.
Werewolves and Lollipops puts on full display his unmannerly contradictions, revealing an admittedly sloppy but absurdly appealing stand-up style that prompted one audience member to openly piss on nearby attendees rather than miss a minute of his gig to go use the bathroom, all of which is documented live on the DVD. Explaining in the introduction (while standing before a bust of Abraham Lincoln) that he wasn’t sure if he should edit the urine footage out, he decided to leave it in. Why? Because it got a big laugh.
(Sub Pop Records, PO Box 20367, Seattle, WA, 98121)