Few comedians working today have the ability to move as seamlessly from one medium to another as our friend Patton Oswalt. The man is a near unstoppable force when it comes to exercising his talents whether it be on stage, in film, or simply composing brilliant 140 character gems.
Tomorrow is his birthday, and in tribute of all the joy he’s given us here at UPROXX, I’ve gone back and compiled some of the standout moments throughout his career. It wasn’t an easy task and obviously, I couldn’t fit everything the guy has done into this list (that’s what IMDB is for), but in no particular order, here are 22 moments of Patton worth celebrating.
1. His in-flight Twitter war with comedian Marc Maron
If you’ve listened to more than five minutes of Marc Maron’s WTF podcast, then you’re familiar with Marc’s anger/self-loathing/jealousy issues. It’s his essence. Patton and Marc have known each other since the early 90s and Patton was one of WTF’s earliest guests. When the two comics found themselves on the same flight back in 2012, they put the plane’s in-flight wifi to good use and gave the internet a Twitter war 2,500 feet off the ground. It may have been the first transcontinental Twitter roast and we have Patton to thank for it.
2. The time he rescued Ben Affleck from angry Batman nerds
Circa 2006, it was cool to make fun of Ben Affleck, then he started doing movies like The Town and Argo and all was right again in Boston. None of that mattered though to Batman fans when Warner Brothers announced that Affleck would be the newest actor to pretend to be a billionaire running around in a bat costume. After a couple of #wickedpissah jokes, Oswalt came to Affleck’s defense, pointing out that ALL actors do bad movies, but 95% of them don’t rebound to come back stronger than ever. Oswalt made a strong defense for WB’s casting of Affleck on his Facebook page and managed to throw in a good pitch for himself as the joker as well.
Of course, the interwebs prefer to remember him as…
3. Portraying the Penguin in Pete Holme’s Batman sketch
One of the funniest Batman parodies ever, the sketch is worth watching if just to hear Batman explain what he calls his “morning boner.”
4. 5 seconds of Patton with 5-Second Films
Patton’s been a friend of the 5-Second Films crew for awhile now and given us some of the series’ best shorts. If you’re going to spend five seconds on YouTube, do your eyes a favor and spend it watching a creative new take on the classic shot to the nuts gag.
6. Patton writes a closed letter on the state of stand-up comedy
Patton offered his fans and fans of comedy in general, a poignant look on what was happening in comedy at the moment, and his personal experience concerning the trend of stealing material, heckling, and rape jokes. It’s a triple punch from somebody who’s seen nearly every angle of the comedy industry over the course of nearly three decades. If there’s anybody out there with an opinion worth listening to concerning Twitter plagiarism and the whole Daniel Tosh rape joke fiasco from a couple years back, it’s Patton. Set aside a few minutes and read the entire letter here.
7. From Ben & Jerry’s to Ozzy Osbourne, his concert posters are a pop culture feast for the eyes
Rather than rely on just a standard 8×10 headshot for comedy shows, Patton’s concert posters are pop culture works of art on par with anything from Pearl Jam. They also happen to be for sale and would naturally elevate any living space.
8. Discusses killing Superman with Jerry Seinfeld in Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee
Not only do Patton and Jerry get into a discussion about superheros and the correct way to exterminate the Man of Steel, but they attempt to hit 88 mph in a DeLorean. Sadly, neither Michael J. Fox nor Christopher Lloyd make a cameo, but it’s still worth a watch.
9. Just Seinfeld
It was one of Patton’s first acting jobs, and he played a video store clerk who refused to give up a customer’s address when George is trying to track down a copy of Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
10. Takes time out to impersonate Tom Scharpling in garage rock videos
Tom Scharpling could have provided an intro for garage rock band The Ettes’ music video, “Excuse,” himself, but what fun would that be? Instead, he had Patton step in to cover his excuse on how the VFX budget was wasted on “good time vices.”
11. The man knows how to do Halloween
Yes, it’s a fantastic Dr. Octopus costume and probably makes anything you’ll ever attempt to make look like a garbage bag of disappointment, but not all the credit goes to Patton. Patton pulled off the costume with the help of Mythbuster’s Adam Savage. Nevertheless, the photo still makes me wish Patton was my dad.
12. Patton showcases his body of film work on Conan
He’s come a long way since his Seinfeld appearance in 1994. He’s appeared in critically acclaimed movies with Oscar winner’s like Charlize Theron, and worked in animation with Ratatouille and nearly half the Adult Swim lineup. And yet, he really hasn’t come all that far as demonstrated by the body of acting work he recently showed Conan.
13. That time he refused to sell his tweets and gave us a reason to laugh about Snickers
If there’s ever a college course on Twitter trolling — I’m sure there will at least be a chapter on it in some liberal arts school’s Social Media 101 course — Patton Oswalt should be a guest professor. Social media marketing company, Brander, reaped Patton’s wrath when they contacted him about soliciting his tweets for some of their clients. What followed was not only some of the best trolling social media has ever seen, but a wave of offensive hilarity Brander couldn’t have possibly expected.
14. Patton does Hollywood’s job and comes up with nearly a dozen new movie ideas
While Hollywood is busy rummaging through Spike TV’s Saturday afternoon movie block for ideas on which films to reboot next, Patton Oswalt has already laid out the next generation of classics. #TIFF13 movies you unfortunately will probably never have the privilege of watching.
15. Patton’s Parks and Recreation Star Wars filibusterer
Dammit, I so want to see what a robotic spider Chewbacca would look like! One of 2013’s greatest TV moments came with Patton’s Parks and Rec appearance as a concerned citizen who uses his pitch for the next Star Wars chapter to block a city council vote. The eight minute geek opus fused Star Wars with the Marvel universe and is undoubtedly more entertaining than any storyline we’ll get from the goons at Disney.
16. And its animated accompaniment
Kudos, to Nerdist for giving me a visual of robo-spider Chewy. Take note, Disney.
17. Patton’s two-part Twitter trolling masterpiece
This list probably could have been limited exclusively to Patton’s Twitter contributions based on the sheer number of ways he’s managed to work the medium to his advantage. His two-part tweet prank last year at first glimpse came off as the tweets of a man with a severely depraved view of the world. It wasn’t until connected with the second tweet that the context of the message became clear and his followers acknowledged the cleverness of the stunt.
18. His letter addressing the Boston Marathon bombing
For all the entertainment and humor that Patton brings us, he also knows how to cut to the heart of more serious matters. Such was the case with last year’s Boston Marathon tragedy. I don’t want to focus too much on the grim events, but Patton’s Facebook message went viral and for good reason, too. He knew just how to give hope and shine a light on all the good in this world when we needed a reminder of it the most.
19. His Webby Awards mockumentary videos
The Webby Awards and Funny or Die reached out to Patton two years ago about doing a series of mockumentary videos based around internet “mysteries.” History of the internet’s first “first” is great, but Patton’s portrayal of the elusive internet troll gets my vote.
20. Patton gives The A.V. Club a guided tour of the making of each of his stand-up specials
Between 1997 and now, Patton has had seven stand-up specials. He may not be pushing one out every two years like Louis C.K., but for a guy who’s trying to raise a family and constantly working in film and television, it’s an impressive collection he’s got under his belt. He recently walked The A.V. Club through each special, discussing the development of material to how he decided which venue to film in. The lengthy interview provides a candid look at his development as a comic over the last 17 years.
21. Even if King Of Queens followed a cookie-cutter sitcom format, Patton was a good enough reason to watch
Yes, King Of Queens follows many of the same trappings of countless other sitcoms: goofy regular guy has a hot wife and wacky in-laws; zany hijinks ensue. Patton made 122 appearances on the show over its nine years and credits the constantly high KOQ staff for giving his first professional recurring job in television.
22. KFC Famous Bowls, ’nuff said
Along with KOQ, Patton’s KFC Famous Bowls bit can probably be credited as helping to push him into the mainstream. I first saw him do the joke while hanging out with Conan on Late Night and remember laughing hysterically at the the concept of a KFC “lunch gun.” I’ll remember the bit fondly next time I have a craving for a delicious “failure pile in a sadness bowl.”
And just because, here’s a GIF Constable Bob shooting a machine gun. Happy Birthday, Patton.