Patton Oswalt’s rise has been glorious journey. He maintained mild familiarity as a standup comic for years before erupting into Next-Big-Thing-itry. His next step will be a role in the Ben Stiller-directed The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, starring Stiller and Kristen Wiig.
I was first turned onto Oswalt’s standup comedy by my freshman year college roommate who insisted, despite my aversion to the performer based on a two-second Comedy Central clip that I found off-putting, that he was the voice of our generation. I soon realized that my roommate was right. Patton Oswalt was a disturbingly unappreciated comic genius.
Since this time, Oswalt has expanded his notoriety. His standup routine and supporting role on The King of Queens launched him to spots on other series (The United States of Tara, Bored to Death, Community), and the starring role in the animated wonder Ratatouille. But one would have never taken the laugh-a-minute oddball Oswalt to be a dramatic sensation as well. Unless that one was Jason Reitman, who cast him in last year’s Young Adult. Oswalt inspired in Young Adult. The comedic/dramatic team of he and Charlize Theron produced one of the most heartbreaking and profound pieces of film in 2011.
And now, he’s in for another comedic role in Stiller’s Walter Mitty. Oswalt plays a sidekick-type to Ben Stiller’s lead sad sack. Oswalt’s character is an eHarmony agent who works with Walter Mitty to make his dating resume more appealing. Naturally, the role seems to be imbued with a great deal of comic potential, but I do hope we get to see some of the triumphant drama that Oswalt is capable of once again. If not this time, then the next. Oswalt is not going anywhere. We’re all finally ignoring the pesky misconceptions we may have had regarding the comedian and embracing the truly talented warrior that he is.
I can just hear my college roommate saying “I told you so” now. He was still way off on the issue of Pop-Tart toasting, though.