Big Fan

Patton Oswalt straddles the mainstream and alt-comedy worlds, which has proven to be an uneasy negotiation. Look no further than his 2008 pissing match with David Cross over whether Cross’s role in the Alvin and the Chipmunks movie undermined his credibility. That’s a pretty ballsy argument for a former cast member of the execrable sitcom The King of Queens to make, but Oswalt came off better in the ensuing cross-blog shit-storm, handling himself with more humility and self-deprecating humor than his fellow alt-comedy titan. Oswalt is able to reconcile these kind of tensions -- such as releasing an album on Sub Pop while lending his voice to Pixar’s Ratatouille -- because his outlook is influenced by any number of comedy traditions. Oswalt’s riffs on marriage, pop culture, politics, music, atheism and KFC Famous Bowls are essentially stylized, hyper-literate takes on traditional observational comedy. As a result, Oswalt wins over both snarky alt-comedy smart-asses and mainstream fans who come to hear the buddy from The King of Queens gripe about marriage. Though Oswalt has had numerous successes both in film and sitcoms, his most recent standup albums, 2009’s My Weakness is Strong and 2007’s Werewolves and Lollipops, have been quiet successes, which have propelled him to a point where he has become nearly as well-known for his sharp standup as for his punch-the-clock side gigs.
Aug. 26-29, 8 p.m.; Aug. 27-28, 10:15 p.m., 2010

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