Patton Oswalt makes us laugh on stage, in film and on television for years now. As the hapless Spence starring in the CBS hit television sitcom King of Queens, or in movies like Magnolia,Starsky & Hutch and Failure to Launch, he creates uniquely memorable characters.
As King of Queens airs the last season, it’s a bittersweet farewell to one of the more beloved shows on the air. Patton says goodbye to Spence Olchin, and looks to the future, most notably in the starring role of Remy in the Disney & Pixar summer movie Ratoutille. He offers thoughts on comedy in general, comments on the Joe Rogan/Carlos Mencia feud and on being a French food loving rat for the best animators in the business.
What was the turning point, when you knew you could make it as a comic/actor?
There was never a specific moment. Just lots of little opportunities along the way.
You’re one of my favorite comics, but who makes you laugh?
All my friends.
Did you hear about the Joe Rogan & Carlos Mencia Feud? Any Thoughts?
I did. I really admired Joe’s courage and anger, but I still wasn’t completely convinced of Carlos’ thievery. I actually felt sorry for Carlos when his defense for thievery was, “Well, my bits are very generic.” What a depressing thing for a comedian to have to assert about his work.
But then I saw the Bill Cosby comparison, and, sadly, all doubt was removed.
Do comics steal material from each other more than we think?
No. It’s rare but, in the cases of Denis Leary, Dane Cook and Carlos Mencia, it’s particularly stinging when they achieve such success on the pilfered works of others.
It’s also very depressing for a comedian, since we’re a tight-knit community. I’ve met Denis, Dane and Carlos on numerous occasions, and they seem like pleasant, decent people. So I’m always the last one to want to admit that they’ve stolen material. But, like with the Cosby thing, and then the Dane/Louis CK comparisons, and the almost word-for-word Denis Leary/Bill Hicks stuff, it becomes a sad reality you have to accept.
Did you ever think Spence would get that popular or last that long in the show?
No, and no.
As you look back on the sitcom years: Best King of Queens Moment? Worst?
I don’t have a best and worst. It was all really fun.
Would you like your own sitcom? A “Spence” Spin-Off maybe?
Well, I pitched Spence and Spence-ability to Les Moonves, and he just stared at me.
Your animation vocal work is impressive. Any favorites? If they gave you one, what kind of a animated series would you want?
Man, I don’t know. I have so much fun just going in and winging a new script. Ratatouille, of course, was pretty amazing. I wish Amazing Screw-On Head had gotten picked up.
What was it like playingRemy in Ratatouille? Does one research rat-etiquette?
No research. I put myself in (director) Brad Bird’s hands and everything fell into place.
With this Disney/Pixar film, you share company with the likes ofEllen DeGeneres, Tom Hanks and Albert Brooks – how does that feel?
According to your IMDB profile, your favorite film is Buono, Il brutto, Il cattivo? Why can’t you call it The Good, The Bad & The Ugly like everyone else?
I’ve never added to my imdb profile. Some pretentious film geek must’ve done that. It isn’t even my favorite movie – that honor would go to Kenny Roger’s Six Pack.
You rocked William Shatner’s Roast. I wrote episodes of Star Trek: Next Generation & Deep Space Nine, yet my favorite is Kirk’s crew. Are you excited about the new movie coming from JJ Abrams?
Yeah. I heard a rumor that Ryan Gosling wants to play the young Kirk. How awesome would that be? J.J. Abrams can pretty much do no wrong, as far as I’m concerned.
Touching briefly on married life. How’s it going?Any“Lucy & Ricky” or “Doug & Carrie” moments?
It’s smooth sailing.
Any upcoming projects or anything else you’re psyched about you’d like to share?
SubPop is releasing my new CD, Werewolves and Lollipops, on July 10th. That’s pretty exciting. There’s jokes on it and everything.