Still, the Ratatouille star plumbed laughs from cemetery jokes in a special that found absurdity and solace in tragedy’s wake. “It took some time, but I had to find a way to get onstage and tell jokes again,” says Oswalt, who brings his stand-up tour to the State Theatre July 13.
It’s a needle Oswalt threads while simultaneously starring in four TV shows and adapting his late wife’s bestselling true crime tome I’ll Be Gone In The Dark into an HBO documentary series. We talked to the prolific performer about politics in comedy, his wife’s work and more.
Q. In the age of Trump, political correctness now exists alongside political division. Does this influence your material?
A. The whole point of stand-up is the audience not knowing what you’re going to say. I don’t like adjusting whatever I’m saying to a particular era. My approach hasn’t changed. I’m not worried about offending anyone. I’m not going to cater to people who tell me not to be a snowflake but then get mad when someone makes fun of their president.
Q. Is having an abundance of political material available good or bad for comedy?
A. I think it’s bad for comedy. There’s no abstract thought any more. Trump supporters were miserable before he was elected and they are even more miserable now.
Q. You’ve found great success with your Netflix comedy specials Talking for Clapping and Annihilation. Is Netflix now comedy’s biggest stage?
A. It feels like it is. They’re doing a lot of specials and the people they’ve selected are amazing. I’m very flattered to be in that company.
Q. You helped to finish your late wife’s bestselling book on the Golden State Killer case. How did you feel when the serial killer was apprehended last year?
A. I had read the early chapters of the book as Michelle was writing it so I knew what an extraordinary writer she was. The level of writing was so good that all we had to do was structure it, arrange the material that was already there. When it became a success, it was very gratifying but also bittersweet. After he was caught, it was the same — exhilaration but ultimately bittersweet.
theater & dance
8:00 AM EST
July 9, 2019