Just so we have at least one post on here today that isn’t Oscars-related hit-whoring, here’s a 10-minute documentary about Patton Oswalt, To Be Loved & Understood, from director Julien Nitzberg. Nitzberg previously directed The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia, which is also pretty great, and available right now on Netflix Instant. Being that Patton Oswalt is my favorite comedian and has been for almost a decade, the whole tone of “I like Patton because I’m a nerd and his comedy is so nerdy!” of the fan interviews in the first half of the film annoys the ever-loving shit out of me. Patton’s nerdiness is part of him, but that’s not what makes him great. What makes him great is that Patton Oswalt will take a premise that a lot of comedians would get to – like being annoyed with his hippie friends telling him to have a natural childbirth, for example – and he’ll write a good, solid bit out of it, that only really good comics could and any would be proud to have written. But the beauty of Patton is that he’ll take that bit to another level, this layer that almost no other comedian gets to, a level of absurd wordplay and the fantastic that makes his jokes just a little more than a perfectly-wrapped bit package. Whereas most of the childbirth bit is just a better version of bits you’d hear other comedians doing, the line “last night I saw a jack rabbit with a woman’s face!” is that extra level of fantasy and wordplay that you only get with Patton.
See, you stupid nerds? Liking Patton Oswalt is for liberal arts majors! (*wedgies nerd*)(*wedgies self*)
I guess what I’m saying is that in 10 minutes, this little doc does a fantastic job getting at the way we all claim ownership and are fiercely protective of our own superficial little reasons for loving a comedian that we project onto him just because he happens to be good at explaining who he is in a relatable way. And that’s probably applicable to phenomenon of fandom in general. Great work. There should be more short documentaries in the world.