Patton Oswalt: “Silver Screen Fiend” | Talks at Google

Patton Oswalt: “Silver Screen Fiend” | Talks at Google

[APPLAUSE] PATTON OSWALT: Hey. How you doing, man? MALE SPEAKER: So, one of things
that comes up on YouTube when I search you is the Star Wars
Filibuster on “Parks and Rec.” PATTON OSWALT: Oh, yeah, yeah. Thank you, yes. MALE SPEAKER: And
you have a story. It went on for eight
minutes, I believe. And everybody had
left the room by then. PATTON OSWALT: Yeah. Well, I mean it was, the
whole thing was improvised. They had said, all you got
to do is talk for 30 seconds, then Amy and Jon Glaser
are going to cut you off and the scene will continue. And then, I guess as a prank,
they said, let’s not yell cut and see how long he goes. And I, you know, I’m
such a fan of that show. I’m such a “Parks and
Rec” fan that I just kept, out of terror,
I didn’t know what, I didn’t want
to stop talking. And so I just unloaded every
bit of comic book and movie ephemera that was in my head at
that second for eight minutes. And then as an improv, it
was Amy and John started it. They just got up and left. And then to the credit
of the day players, they all also got the idea
of like, oh, screw this. And everyone walked out. It was pretty amazing. It was, I mean, the whole thing. I was, I learned some
dark things about myself. You know, there’s the– [LAUGHTER] PATTON OSWALT: There’s
a fight or flight response when you’re nervous. And there’s also apparently
the trivia dump response. And that’s, if a
bear ever rushes me, I’m going to, you know,
reel off the second unit credits for Blade Runner
I guess before I’m killed. [LAUGHTER] MALE SPEAKER: So you
had a movie addiction. And Star Wars played
a part in ending it? Is that right? PATTON OSWALT: Well,
I mean it helped. There were a lot a little
kicks along the way. You know, I had gotten to
this point where I was just seeing three or four
movies a day basically. And it was affecting
everything, social life. And so, and it started
in December of ’95. Summer of ’99 I went and
saw the “Phantom Menace” and as awful as
that film was, what was even more awful for me was
the weeks and months afterwards I spent sitting
in cafes and bars and just hanging
with my friends, just arguing and yammering
about this movie. And it was this kind of
awakening of oh, you know, he’s made some good movies. He made a really god awful one. And the god awful one
I’m spending the time that I could be
spending, why don’t you write a better one instead of
you know, just argue about it the whole time? MALE SPEAKER: What was
the addiction like? I mean, did you– I
went through the movies actually, in the back
here, and I’ve checked off which ones we’ve shown
here on Thursday nights. PATTON OSWALT: Uh huh. MALE SPEAKER: And I didn’t
realize how many pages there were. But I came up to 66. PATTON OSWALT: Wow. MALE SPEAKER: There must
be about 3,000 in here. PATTON OS WALT: Yeah. The addiction was, it got– when
I really, really bottomed out was when I was blowing off
social events, parties. Or for showing up late, almost
not making shows in time so that I could go see
a movie somewhere else. And it was more–
and near the end I don’t think I was
enjoying the movies. I was acquiring the
experience of having said that I’d seen them. But if I was to be
honest, if I then sat down to talk to anyone
about them at length, I actually didn’t
know any details and hadn’t gotten any
actual personal impressions that would change
me as a person. I was just this, I was
a less-funny version of what I did in “Parks
and Rec” basically. I was just unloading
information about these movies. MALE SPEAKER: You had
a relationship end over your addiction to movies? PATTON OSWALT: It
didn’t end specifically, there were a lot of
things that ended it. But there was, yeah. Being at all-night
horror marathon one night and at around 2:00 AM the
girl I was dating said, hey, I’m going to leave. It’s 2:00AM. And the movie “Daughter of
Horror,” had just ended. And “I Married a Monster from
Outer Space” was starting. And I was, such was my
addiction that if I didn’t see every second of the
movie, it didn’t count. So she had to walk out to
her car by herself at 2:00 AM because I didn’t walk– yeah. That was my like,
leaving my baby in the car to go
score heroin moment. Like, that was the equivalent of
a movie fiend version of that. MALE SPEAKER: So you still
want to be a director? PATTON OSWALT: Yeah. I mean, eventually. It’ll start off, I think,
over the next few years making some short films. And then eventually, yes. I just don’t know how
it’s going to happen. It’s something
that I want to do. MALE SPEAKER: And
who would be in it? PATTON OSWALT: I can’t
even, I have no idea. I can’t say. Who knows who will be around
whenever I get around to it? I have no idea who
I’ll have access to, who will want to do it. I have, I don’t know. MALE SPEAKER: The story I
really liked in the book was about “The Day
the Clown Cried,” that movie that never
got made, I guess. PATTON OSWALT: Well, no. It got made. “The Day the Clown
Cried” is a– Jerry Lewis made a movie in the late ’60s. It started off, it
was a screenplay called “The Day
The Clown Cried.” It was apparently based on
fact, or rumor, or something. These two writers
wrote it and it’s about a clown who gets
put into Auschwitz and the Nazis are
having trouble getting the kids to go into
the gas oven so they get the clown to entertain the
kids on the way to the ovens and he eventually
ends up walking into the ovens with the kids. So this is a straight
dramatic script. It was making the
rounds in Hollywood. And who picks it up? Jerry Lewis. Jerry Lewis decides
to make this movie. First does a rewrite of the
script to add some comedy. Gotta add a little comedy. It’s cold in Auschwitz so his
socks stand up by himself. And it’s, again,
this was when he is in the depths of
his percocet addiction, so the movie gets shot. There’s all these rumors. Either he didn’t have the
rights to go and do it himself or the studio saw it
and was horrified. But it never got released. I got my hands on the
screenplay and started doing the readings of it
in LA, kind of invite only. And then word got to the wrong
people that we were doing it and chaos ensued. MALE SPEAKER: So
there was going to be a reading at the
Santa Monica Civic? PATTON OSWALT: Santa
Monica Powerhouse Theater. MALE SPEAKER: And it got
shut down at the last minute? PATTON OSWALT: I got served
with a cease and desist order. Again, it’s a very, I go into
very ugly detail about it as to what happened. But you know, there was a
lot of last-minute improving and skirting around
what had happened. You’ll see when, it’s
in the– otherwise, I could recount
the whole chapter, but I figured I would
leave a little teaser. MALE SPEAKER: We want
to sell the books, yeah. PATTON OSWALT: Yeah, yeah. Exactly. Yeah, so. MALE SPEAKER: You’re still doing
stand up quite often right? PATTON OSWALT: Mhm. I still do a lot of shows. I’m working on a new
special for the summer. I’ll probably shoot
it in the summer. I mean, stand up is
never going to go. That was always
an abiding thing. It’s kind of what
brought me to the dance and so I’m just sort of,
I’ll never give that part up. I’ll always do stand up. MALE SPEAKER: Why do you
think so many comedians are such good actors? PATTON OSWALT: I
mean, I would say that the ratio of good actors
to comedians is about the same as the ratio of– you know
who I think actually makes better actors than comedians? If you’re going to talk in terms
of the ratio of the people that try it out that are good at
it, are country-music singers. People like Dwight
Yokum, and Willie Nelson, and Dolly Parton. For some reason, they
make great actors. I mean, some comedians are,
I think a lot of comedians are good actors because we have
to inhabit different personas when we’re trying to
either tell a story or get a point across on stage. So it becomes–
although, sometimes that can be to a disadvantage because
if you find a comedic voice and it’s the one that
works for you the most, you’ll cleave to that even if
the role doesn’t call for it. MALE SPEAKER: I
re-watched a couple of the movies that you
had major roles in, “Young Adult” and “Big Fan,”
which was, I told you at lunch, I was not able to persuade
my fellow cinema club members to put that on here. That was a good move,
fellow cinema cult members because that movie’s
a downer and it’ll be very hard to kind
of leap back into work after watching that one. So, watch it. It’s good, but a bummer. MALE SPEAKER: And
you seem to play, I guess, speaking of
being in the wheelhouse or something, a lot
times, your characters are these single guys who are
fairly young and obsessive about action figures
or Star Wars. PATTON OSWALT: Somehow
I’m able to pull that off. [LAUGHTER] PATTON OSWALT: It’s a
leap I make every time but it’s a leap of faith. I don’t know. You know, it’s like, buddy, put
down the put down the weights and stop the taekwondo
lessons and let’s try to play one of these
chubby, pasty geeks for once. It’s tough. “Young Adult.” I gained 40 pounds
for that movie 20 years before
Diablo Cody wrote it. That is how committed
I was to that script. MALE SPEAKER: And
actually, I wanted to quote something
that’s Charlize Theron said about
you in the movie. She’s watching you and says,
“look at his face, so doughy. He looks like a murderer.” PATTON OSWALT: Yeah. No, that was a pretty– and
the way they shot me too. If you notice, I have
this kind of under lit, I do look like a
murderer in that shot. I think that’s how she described
me when we were casting it too. MALE SPEAKER: That somebody
looks like a murder? PATTON OSWALT: Yeah, that
dude’s a murderer, right? MALE SPEAKER: I could see
you in a taekwondo movie. PATTON OSWALT: You could see
me in a taekwondo movie or you can’t? MALE SPEAKER: I’d go. PATTON OSWALT: You would? MALE SPEAKER: Oh yeah. PATTON OSWALT: Yeah, for to
the horror value of it, yeah. My god. “Pasty Fury.” “Beyond the Pale.” Sorry, go ahead. MALE SPEAKER: His
mind is spinning here and now he’s thinking
who would direct it. PATTON OSWALT: That
would be the tag line. Like, your taekwondo
skills pale in comparison. [LAUGHTER] PATTON OSWALT: “Pasty Fury.” MALE SPEAKER: I also like the
story about you in Amsterdam. And you– PATTON OSWALT: Yeah. Which one? There was a bunch of
stories about Amsterdam. MALE SPEAKER: The
Snickers bar with– PATTON OSWALT: Oh, Jesus. Yeah. Well, I went to Amsterdam
in ’99 and there’s a coffee shop called
Lucky Mothers. I don’t know if it’s
still there but it was one of the
last coffee shops. They were doing this weird thing
where you could still get pot but they were kind of getting
rid of the getting it food. You couldn’t get
it in food as much. But this one place still put
it into food so they would go, we’ll make tea, or
we’ll roll you a joint, or we’ll put it
in a Snickers bar. And I said, oh yeah,
put it in– that’s cool. And so what they, I
guess they just assumed, he knows what he’s doing. They put three joints worth
of weed in a Snickers bar. And then I ate it in
the space of an hour. Like, just walk around,
Snickers bar, done. PATTON OSWALT: And then I
had to do a show that night and I was perfectly coherent,
could order my thoughts, could speak. I could speak so that
you could understand me but I could not open my eyes. [LAUGHTER] PATTON OSWALT: I
could speak fine and I even said on
stage, I’m sorry. I cannot open my eyes right now. They won’t open. And I am fine, everything’s OK. And I’m going to do my bits but
my eyes are going to be closed. And the crowd reacted
like, oh, he probably ate a whole– he’s
an American and he ate the whole– they’d
clearly seen that before. They’re like, oh yeah. These guys. That was also the day that they
were going to interview me. I was there with
Louis C.K. And they were going to interview
us for a local TV station about the show
we were going to do. And so they’re getting
us ready and they said, so are you ready to go
on Dutch television? And that, to me, I just loved. Because it sounds like
’50s beatnik drug slang. You know, like, hey, I
know we’re drinking beer but do you want to go
on Dutch television? Like, yeah, I want to
go on Dutch– I’m ready. Yeah, I’m cool. MALE SPEAKER: Never turn down
the chance to go on television. PATTON OSWALT: Yeah. Gore Vidal. Sex and televy. Did I just say televy? Oh my god. MALE SPEAKER: So you all can
line up at the microphone if you have questions. I have a number of things that– PATTON OSWALT: Don’t make
it sound like a challenge. Y’all can line up
on the microphone, I don’t know if I’m going
to– You said it almost like you’re then going
to follow with, I don’t know if
I’ll call on you. You can line up. See what happens. I’ll call on him. Oh. Starting it off. MALE SPEAKER: In
the meantime, this is the right crowd for
your “Star Wars” theory about the Machete Order. I know they all
want to hear this. PATTON OSWALT: Oh, I
wish that was my theory. It’s not my theory. I talked about it and
I said when I was on, I was on the “Tonight Show,” and
I said, I did not make this up. Someone else made this up. I’m sure one of you have
heard of the Machete Order. Anyone? Yeah, OK. So some guy– does any
one who invented it? The name? Right. Somebody invented this. It’s so genius. It’s a way to watch the
six “Star Wars” movies so that it becomes
a brilliant saga. And what you do is, Episode
One, “Phantom Menace,” doesn’t exist. It doesn’t exist. There’s not a single piece
of information in that movie that you need to watch
any of the other ones. There’s no– so that
movie doesn’t exist. You start off, you watch
Episode Four, “Star Wars.” Young farm boy
joins the rebellion, defeats this bad
guy, everything. OK, wow. Nice. “Empire Strikes Back.” Farm boy is now learning
to be a Jedi knight, meets the bad guy he defeated. Guy goes, oh,
actually, I’m your dad. What? And then the movie is over. And that’s the cliffhanger. Then you watch Episode Two. Now you see his dad as a
teenager, kind of the same age that Luke was. And we see him going through
the same thing that Luke did except he makes all the
wrong choices and become evil, evil, evil, evil. Then you watch the third
one, “Revenge of the Sith.” He totally goes over evil. Kills kids, attacks his
master, becomes Darth Vader, swears allegiance
to the Emperor. Then you watch
“Return of the Jedi.” The son now redeems this
father who has fallen and now it becomes this awesome
“Godfather II” like saga with actual tension and
character arcs and pay off. And it’s a brilliant
way to watch the series. And if you watch
that way, there’s like three minutes
of Jar Jar Binks. [LAUGHTER] MALE SPEAKER: That’s two
minutes and 59 seconds too many? PATTON OSWALT: Yeah. Yeah. Well, also, I remember
talking to Brad Bird. We always get together
and talk about movies and he said this really
interesting thing about– and this was years
before I’d ever heard of the Machete Order. He said, “Return of the
Jedi” starts off wrong. It starts off with this weird,
kind of a long shot of Vader getting off of a ship
and they don’t give him the entrance he deserves and
you know, all this stuff. What it should have
started off with was, in the previous movie, Luke
get’s this psychic fact, your friends are in trouble. You’ve got to help them. And Yoda goes, don’t go. You can’t do anything. Luke’s like, I’m the hero. That’s what heroes do. You’re wrong. He goes, gets his ass
kicked, gets his friends in worse trouble,
get his hand cut off. Like, he could not screw
up any harder if he tried. And then he goes,
“Return of the Jedi” should have began with
Luke back in the swamp. Because when we next see
Luke, he’s just this bad ass. Just this total bad ass but they
should have started with Lucas in the swamp with Yoda
going, you told me not to go. I went. I completely, I could not
have shit the bed any harder as a Jedi. And then Yoda goes,
now you’re a Jedi because you have you failed so
massively and you didn’t die and now you’re over
the last lesson, which was getting over
fear of failing. So then when Luke goes
to Jabba’s palace, he’s now this Zen-like, I’m
not even afraid of messing up. I’ve gone through all that. it’s like, that’s what makes
a comedian truly great. It’s not until you
completely screw up that you’re a comedian. I’ve always said that. Until you eat it so hard and
then wake up the next day and go, oh, the
world didn’t end. It didn’t matter. And then you’re free to
do whatever you want. So. MALE SPEAKER: When did
you become a comedian? PATTON OSWALT: Two weeks ago. Two weeks ago. Oh no, I became a
comedian, oh god. OK. I’ll tell the story
then we’ll open up. Because this story is
so depressing and then we’re going to need– yeah, you. You’re pulling us out
of it so get ready. MALE SPEAKER: I already
said I’d call on him. PATTON OSWALT: Yeah. Good. Well, yeah, but now
I want a challenge. Let’s throw a gauntlet
down in front of him. MALE SPEAKER: All
right, all right. PATTON OSWALT: I was in Roanoke. Virginia in 1990, emceeing a
club, the Roanoke Comedy Club. What a creative name
for a comedy club in Roanoke, Virginia. And the day of, I get the
worst stomach flu of my life. Like, I’m just, like, both ends. Just, you know, like
a lawn sprinkler. And so I did this
thing where I took– there’s a thing called Stage
Health, where no matter how sick you are, and your body
goes, you got to do 10 minutes? I’ll give you 10 minutes
of being healthy. Got to do an hour? I can give you an hour. And then you’re sick again. It’s this weird thing. And any performer will tell
you, this is a real thing. So that day I took all this
DayQuil and Pepto Bismol and Dristan. And I timed it just right
so that just as the show is beginning, there’s my
10-minute window of health. I can make it. I can make it. And they go, ladies and
gentleman, Patton Oswalt. I walk out on stage. And as I’m walking up, a guy
in the front row went, faggot. Like that. And he didn’t yell
it like, angry. He said it almost the way like
a guy giving a tour at a museum would say it. Here’s a Klee and
that’s a faggot. And that’s a, you know. And the crowd just,
they all exploded. Yeah. And then I went, ladies and
gentleman, your first comedian. I just said the guy’s
name and immediately left. So it was just complete defeat. And all I can think
of now is that like, and again, I woke
up the next day. I was still sick but I
was still a comedian. It was like, oh, it’ll
never get as bad as that. It’ll never get as bad as that. So that was my– although
now, I’m haunted by the idea that there must have
been someone in that room that that was their
first-ever comedy show. And they got a really horrible
idea of what stand up comedy is. Where they’re like, it’s funny. I mean, the two
comedians that go up. But do you know what they do at
the beginning of these shows? They find some kid
that’s like, dying in a hospital or something. And they have him
walk out and a guy calls him a faggot and
everyone goes crazy. And it just seems really ugly. Then the rest the show’s great. But that first, they’ve got
to change that first thing they do. It’s not nice. MALE SPEAKER: They’ve probably
changed it since then. PATTON OSWALT: Yeah, exactly. So. MALE SPEAKER: All right. The gauntlet has
been thrown down. You’re up. AUDIENCE: Thanks for
being here, Patton. It’s great to hear
your anecdotes. PATTON OSWALT: Thank you. AUDIENCE: You mentioned
Louis C.K. And I actually saw a video of
Louis C.K, I think it was at a memorial for
George Carlin a few years ago talking about how he sort
of totally overhauled the way that he does his
comedy, throwing out his jokes every single year so that he
comes up with fresh material and really sets the
bar high to achieve new goals as a comedian. And you know, we do that
here at Google every year. We’re setting very
aggressive goals and stuff. How do you– PATTON OSWALT: I can’t invest. I’m sorry. I don’t have any money. [LAUGHTER] PATTON OSWALT: Is this a pitch? AUDIENCE: No, what
I’m asking is, how do you set those
bars for yourself? You know, you’re
obviously wanting be a director and a writer. Do you have a personal process
that you put it in place for yourself? And then I also have a question. There was an episode of “King
of Queens” where you sat, or you stood, in the living
room for like 10 minutes without moving. I’d love to hear
how that was done and how you felt about that. PATTON OSWALT: All right, I’ll
go backwards. “King of Queens,” all the writers and producers on
that show were massive stoners and they would always
want to pull pranks. And so there’s all
kinds of hidden things on that show, weird
little phrases that come up for no reason. And I think that was one
of those things where they realized, oh, you don’t
have a line in this scene so why don’t you just don’t move
and see if they’ll catch it? And so the whole scene–
and not only did I not move, there’s an over
the shoulder shot when they go into the kitchen
when I’m still not moving. It’s really eerie. I think it was just because
we were messing around. They were always doing that. As far as like my– I have
different goals in terms of output and then, you
know, I have certain people I can show things to to
get– I’m very lucky in terms of my quality, at
least as a stand up. I don’t have this
yet as a filmmaker because I haven’t made a movie. But the people I hang out
with are all funnier than me so I always have to try to
shoot for that other level. And I think that’s what
makes me as funny as I am, is that I’m the least funny of
my circle of comedian friends. And I’m not saying that, I
don’t believe in false humility. I think I’m a
really good comedian but I know objectively, I’m
not as funny as the people I hang out with and that
helps me write harder and work harder at what I do. It also really helps the
way that comedy fans are. Once you put out an
album or a special, you can’t do that
material anymore. I mean, you can. But if you do it again, if
you do the material in front of people that have already
bought it on an album, they’ll laugh and
then they’ll go, there’s no reason to
see that guy again. Because that’s all he does. And it’s the
opposite, it’s weird, my musician friends, if they
put out an album and they tour, they had better play that album. They don’t want to
hear your new stuff. You’re a comedian and
you put out an album, you had better
not do that album. You better have all new stuff. So that keeps me working
at a really nice pace. AUDIENCE: One of my
favorite rants you’ve done is on the Paas Easter Egg Kit. PATTON OSWALT: Oh, wow. AUDIENCE: So two questions. Have they approached you
to be a spokesperson? Probably not. And the second– PATTON OSWALT: Why
would they want me? I talk about shoving eggs up
people’s asses and the founder of their company being
addicted the whores. I don’t think– no. AUDIENCE: I expected that
you probably said they– PATTON OSWALT: No. Yeah, yeah, yeah. AUDIENCE: Are there any
other products, toys, from your childhood
that have helped define who you are today? PATTON OSWALT: Wow. Well, I mean
definitely stuff like, anything you could
mess around with. Anything you could modify. So Legos. Once, I remember after
“Star Wars” came out, they had some special about
how they would do the effects and they would cannibalize
all these model kits and build their own spaceships. So I would, you know, any
kind of stuff like that. You know, a lot
of Play-Doh stuff. Colorforms. Anything where there’s
a set base and then you can start messing
around with it. I love that. I’ve always loved that, so. AUDIENCE: Hey man,
thanks for being here. PATTON OSWALT: Thank you. AUDIENCE: So you’ve done
stand up all over the world. I’m wondering, I know
you’ve done a lot of shows in San Francisco,
if there’s anything you think is unique
about the stand up scene or the audience in the Bay Area? Or if you have any good San
Francisco stand up stories. PATTON OSWALT: Well, I mean,
what’s good about the audience in San Francisco
is they don’t, they have the fewest expectations
for their performers of any other city
because there’s always been a tradition
of, let’s see what you, let’s just
see something new. And really, was always very
open to experimental stuff. God, I mean, there were so
many, there were so many, I mean, the biggest
for me was when comedy began collapsing again. It collapsed twice. In the late ’80s,
the boom ended. And then in the mid ’90s
is when it really died and almost all the
clubs were gone. And the comedians
in San Francisco just said, let’s just
start our own rooms. Let’s just find a coffee
shop or a bookstore and ask if we can
go do stand up. So that spirit of do
it any where you want. And then that spirit
got taken down to LA and that’s where
the Largo started. In the early days of
the Largo, the Largo started in a room called The
Onyx which was on Vermont. And I mean, that was a room
where usually the audience was just the comedians. It was whoever was performing
and eight other people waiting to go up in this
really over lit room. I remember these
white plastic chairs. And one night it was me, Greg
Brenden, Bobcat Goldthwait, Laura Kightlinger and
some other people. I forget who else
was in the room. But we start. Somebody was onstage
doing a bit and this old, this much older
black guy came in and sat down in
one of the chairs. And we’re like, oh wow,
an actual audience member. Like, someone who’s not
one of the comedians. And so then either I, whoever
was onstage, finished their set and then sat back down. And then when they sat
down, the black guy got up and went to the
microphone and said, I forgot what his name was. He goes, my name
is Dan and I would like to get sober as well. [LAUGHTER] PATTON OSWALT: So he thought
it was like an AA meeting but we didn’t register
what, we thought it was like, oh, that’s
like, kind of a funny– I think a couple people
might have laughed. Like, and then he like,
kind of was freaked out and then he walked out. And then Bobcat was like, he
thought this was an AA meeting. Oh no. And we all just laughed at him. And we ran out on Vermont
trying to find him and get him to– because all we thought
of is he must have been going, now I’m really drinking. So that was one of
those terrifying moments of, oh god, what did we just do? What did we just do? So. AUDIENCE: Thanks. PATTON OSWALT: Yeah. AUDIENCE: Hi. PATTON OSWALT: Hi. AUDIENCE: This is a downer
question too so I’m sorry. When I– PATTON OSWALT:
Hamster, yay or nay? AUDIENCE: Yeah. When Robin Williams died and
you did the Watchmen quote, “But Doctor, I am
Pagliacci,” that was like this real moment for
me where I was like, if I ever get to talk to
Patton Oswalt, I’m going to need him to stack
rank the three Robin Williams comedies with pathos that
I watch when I’m sad. So can you give me
“Good Morning, Vietnam,” “The Bird Cage,” and “Mrs.
Doubtfire” in that order, or in your order? PATTON OSWALT: In my order? AUDIENCE: Yes. PATTON OSWALT: “Birdcage” first. And then, “Birdcage”
first, then “Good Morning Vietnam,”
then “Mrs. Doubtfire.” Although the two that I
watch of his that really kind of– especially because
they relate to him, from what I knew
of him near the end because we were
friends near the end. Which is, there’s so much
pain involved with that. But the two movies he
made, “The Fisher King” and “Moscow on the Hudson”
because they were about, you know “Moscow on
the Hudson” was about, it’s a stranger in a
completely strange land. And it is just, it is
almost aggressive optimism that gets him through this
everything that’s against him. And then “The Fisher King”
is he triumphs over madness. And I wish what he
got in “The Fisher King” he had gotten
in real life. But that, whatever that night
was that was chasing him, finally chased him down and–
fuck, I’m bumming everyone out. I’m so sorry. No, no. Yeah. But yeah. Those are the two
that I always go to. MALE SPEAKER: Continuing
on the suicidal theme– [LAUGHTER] PATTON OSWALT: What? MALE SPEAKER: In– PATTON OSWALT: What’s happening? MALE SPEAKER: In
the cinema club, we have a category of
movie we call the go home and slit your wrist movies. PATTON OSWALT: Jesus. Any “Transformers” film? I don’t know. [LAUGHTER] MALE SPEAKER: And you
can refresh your memory. What’s your favorite go home
and slit your wrist movie? PATTON OSWALT: Jesus. What the hell? I don’t know. I mean, there’s a
lot of great movies that I would never watch again,
like “Letter to Zachary.” Again, that’s a, and
I’m not saying these so that you’ll go seek them out. You couldn’t, if you get to the
end, that’s one of those movies that I’m like, I wish I
was on my deathbed years from now going, wow. I never watched
“Letter to Zachary.” Thank goodness. That’s a [GUNSHOT NOISE] MALE SPEAKER: We’ll have
to add that to our list. PATTON OSWALT: No. No. “Irreversible,” the Gaspar
Noe movie was just a, yeah, life’s horrible. Life’s fucking horrible. The last, the little end title
card of “Camille Claudel” fills me with despair
for all of humanity. Like, screw everything. MALE SPEAKER: We’ve got
some good ideas here for– PATTON OSWALT: No, no. Oh, I don’t want to tell you. I have enough that makes
me want to kill myself. I don’t need to go
through the, movies are where I escape that stuff. MALE SPEAKER: OK. PATTON OSWALT: “Jack and
Jill,” that would be the one. , AUDIENCE: Hi I promise
this isn’t depressing. PATTON OSWALT: Please take us
out of this gloom, Mr. Fantasy. AUDIENCE: First of all,
thank you for being here. PATTON OSWALT: No, guys, thanks. This is really flattering
to get invited to do this. So thank you. I’m serious. Thank you very much. [APPLAUSE] PATTON OSWALT: And
I got to, I got to ride the little
Wonka bikes around. I was happy. I rode a bike in
the sun and you’re like, which of
these movies would make you want to kill yourself? Jesus, god. AUDIENCE: I recall you
talking in one of your sets about worrying that
a child of yours would beat you and
your friends up and toss your Blade
Runner gun on the roof. PATTON OSWALT: Yeah. AUDIENCE: It made me
wonder if in the years after, you’ve actually managed
to collect any cool movie props? And if not, what props would
you want to get your hands on? PATTON OSWALT: This
is going to sound, what I’m about to say is going
to make me sound way more noble than I am. But whenever I’ve gotten
my hands on movie props or souvenirs, I
have friends who do charity auctions for different
charities I’m involved in and I just don’t
like saving trophies or things from my past. Because all it is
is, it just makes me dwell on that part rather
than the moving forward part. So I don’t want to, I
don’t want to fill up an office to look
like the bat cave. I just don’t want to, it’s a
variation on that George Carlin line, I don’t want
to own a house that I used to
scare people with. I want a place where I can work. So every prop I’ve ever had, and
I’ve had some pretty cool ones, I’ve said, hey, you know,
you can auction this off. So usually they just go
right to– I literally don’t have any, I don’t
have anything like that. I mean, the stuff that I
collect is like an art work by someone else, or
something that somebody made. But it doesn’t necessarily,
it doesn’t deal with me. I have one, one of my show
posters hanging up in the house because I just love the
artwork on it so much. But it’s not because,
hey, look at me. It’s like, I can’t believe
that I got this artist who I like so much to
do this poster. You know, that’s
more about that. AUDIENCE: That’s so cool MALE SPEAKER: Which
movie was that? PATTON OSWALT: It’s not a movie. It’s a show, it’s a live show
for my second album taping. There’s this really cool poster
that this poster maker made that is just– and
there’s another one that I’m about to frame only
because it’s Carnegie Hall and because I got Ivan
Brunetti to do the artwork for. So that’s also, that
was a big deal for me. AUDIENCE: Thank you. PATTON OSWALT: Yeah,
you’re welcome. AUDIENCE: Hello. PATTON OSWALT: Oh, I
remember you from lunch. AUDIENCE: We had a great lunch. PATTON OSWALT: What the hell? I’ve already answered
your questions. AUDIENCE: I have more, sir. So are there any classic
movies that you’re embarrassed to say
you’ve never seen? PATTON OSWALT: Oh yeah. Oh my god. AUDIENCE: And also, what was
your favorite film of 2014? PATTON OSWALT: Favorite
film of 2014 was “Boyhood.” Period. It was “Boyhood.” Amazing. It was amazing. Classic movies I’ve
never seen, my god. There’s– before I say what
I’m going to say so you guys don’t go, what? Every film buff has massive
gaps in their film knowledge. I have never seen a “Woman
Under the Influence.” Never seen “A
Raisin in the Sun.” Never seen “The Awful Truth.” I’ve never seen
“Risky Business.” What? Yeah. MALE SPEAKER: OK. I think we’re done here. PATTON OSWALT: I’ve never seen,
never seen “Kramer vs Kramer.” Yeah. So there’s a lot of
like, again, it’s just for all the ones– I just
recently saw “Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice” and “Blume in Love.” So there are movies
that you’ve just got to– but I’m glad that
there’s movies I haven’t seen that one day I will eventually
sit down and catch up with. It’s just the time
has got to be right. So yeah. MALE SPEAKER: What
do you think is the most under-appreciated
period in the movies? And everybody talks about
the ’70s being great but– PATTON OSWALT: That’s
very appreciated. I think a period that’s
very under-appreciated, only in terms of specific
movies, was the post-noir, pre-’60s, that whole
mid to late ’50s period. Only because the movies
really sucked then. For the most part,
they were awful. But there were smugglers like
Samuel Fuller and oh god, who did “All that
Heaven Allows?” And oh come on. He, they kind of remade his
whole style with that movie “Far from Heaven”
with Julianne Moore. He did– MALE SPEAKER:
Somebody out there? PATTON OSWALT:
“Written on the Wind.” Huh? Douglas Sirk. Yes. Thank you. Douglas Sirk, Nicholas
Ray, all the guys, and even Frank Tashlin
in a very weird way. They couldn’t overtly talk about
what they were talking about so they had to sneak
all this stuff. So the smugglers
I really, really liked all throughout the ’50s. MALE SPEAKER: Even
Kubrick was around then. PATTON OSWALT: Hm? MALE SPEAKER: Even
Kubrick was making movies. PATTON OSWALT:
Kubrick, definitely. And yeah, they
were all, they all had to smuggle the
darker themes that they wanted to cover
into these movies. And then also people during
that time that didn’t smuggle. Someone like Ida Lupino
who was so punk rock. She was this
gorgeous lead actress that Paramount like, dumped. And she said, screw it. I’ll just form my own film
company and make my own movies. And made these totally
independent movies about whatever she wanted
to make them about. And they were so
ahead of their time. And she had to
distribute them herself and they’re just amazing. And so she was likee–
you got all the smugglers and then you’ve always got
the one person that’s like, I’m not smuggling for anybody. And it was Ida Lupino
who just kicked ass. MALE SPEAKER: What were
some of her movies? PATTON OSWALT: “The Outrage,”
“The Hitchhiker,” you’ve got to go look her up. You know, she was in
a lot of great noirs like, “On Dangerous
Ground” and then she formed a company
called The Filmmakers and they just made their own. “The Outrage” is about
a girl who gets raped. And it’s very, it’s not
explicit about the rape but it’s explicit about
how everyone in the town is kind of blaming her. Like, why were– and it’s
like, this is done in the ’50s. Like this is almost like a
“Salon” or “Jezebel” article now that she was making in the
’50s, that people we’re like, you don’t talk about
this kind of stuff. She goes, I’ll do it. So it’s just, it’s amazing. She is so under appreciated. AUDIENCE: Hi. Thank you for coming. I just wanted to mention, one of
my favorite characters of yours is Dungeon Master
from “Reno 911.” PATTON OSWALT: Oh, thank you. That was a fun one to do. AUDIENCE: I was just
curious, have you ever been tempted to go to a
Comic-Con dressed as a Dungeon Master and see how people react? PATTON OSWALT:
See, I almost feel like if I went in a costume,
I wouldn’t be recognized. Like I, there’s a
story and I don’t know. I can’t get this confirmed but
I hosted some panels one year. I moderated some Q and A’s. I’ve done what you’ve done. And I did one with Tim Burton
for “Alice in Wonderland” and Johnny Depp walked
out as a surprise and we talked for a bit. And then we were backstage,
this is at San Diego. Were in Hall H and we’re back
in the green room and Johnny goes– Johnny, like I know him. Johnny Depp says, I’d like
to walk around on that floor and look at stuff. And his handler was
like, you can’t. You can’t. You can’t walk
around down there. You know what’s going to happen. And the rumor is that he
got one of his assistants to go to one of those
Halloween costume warehouses that’s open year round and
just get a cheap Jack Sparrow costume he just threw on
and then he walked around and people were like,
look at this asshole. [LAUGHTER] PATTON OSWALT: He kind of
looks like Johnny Depp. Because there’s guys
that really go all out and do the whole costume. And they’re like, this dick
just took that out of a bag. And literally
nobody bothered him. No one looked at him twice. Because there’s 900
of them down there. AUDIENCE: Hey Patton. PATTON OSWALT: Hey. AUDIENCE: Thanks for being here. Love your work. PATTON OSWALT: Thank you. AUDIENCE: I’m curious
to know your sort of comedy-writing process. Like, what’s your sort
of starting point? And if you have any
advice for young writers, that would be helpful. PATTON OSWALT: Like
a young comedy writer or a young comedian, or? AUDIENCE: Comedians,
comedy writers. PATTON OSWALT: I mean,
unfortunately for me, I wish I could say
that I sat and wrote. But my method has always been
that I have the germ of an idea and if it stays in my head
and keeps nagging at me, I know that that’s the
beginning of a bit. And then I just go onstage
over and over again and form it in real time. And I over form it
and then I chip away until it’s right
where it needs to be. I wish I could tell you
that I sat and wrote. I just don’t. I don’t have that, that’s the
one undisciplined part of me, as far as the stand
up is concerned. But if I’m writing a book,
then I’ll write like, OK, I got to write
three pages a day. And I treat writing
like it’s a thing you get to do rather than
a think you have to do. So I don’t open up a nine-hour
block of time to write. I go, you’ve only
got two hours so let’s really have fun with
this and make the best of it. AUDIENCE: Gotcha. Thank you. PATTON OSWALT: Yeah, thank you. AUDIENCE: Do some of
the other comedians sit down and write things? PATTON OSWALT: Oh, absolutely. Yeah. Some of them are very,
very disciplined. I’m just not one of
them on those terms. I wish I was. AUDIENCE: Hey, how’s it going? PATTON OSWALT: Good. AUDIENCE: I grew up
watching “King of Queens” and I thought you were
really funny in it. PATTON OSWALT: Thank you. AUDIENCE: You also look
exactly the same today, which is impressive. PATTON OSWALT: Thanks? I was a fat nerd on that show. [LAUGHTER] MALE SPEAKER: As opposed
to a taekwondo master. AUDIENCE: My question is,
I notice a lot of comedians tend to be atheists
and I was wondering if you believe in God? PATTON OSWALT: I don’t. I’m an atheist. Do a one-nighter in Wichita. You will not believe in God. [LAUGHTER] PATTON OSWALT: I’m an atheist
but I’m an atheist the way that like, I feel about
people like Bill Maher and Richard Dawkins
the way that Christians feel about the Westboro
Baptist Church. Like, I wish they
would just calm the fuck down a little bit. Because atheism,
what it means is, anyone else can believe– I’m
not trying to destroy religion. I just don’t believe in it. I think that religion is
beautiful in that it’s somebody making up a
story to help them live. But I don’t think
there was an actual, I don’t think there was
a God before the story. I think somebody made up this
beautiful, elaborate story, full of gods and monsters
and it helps to guide them. That’s fine. I just don’t use that story. You know, but if it helps
someone, I don’t care. And all these guys like Bill
Maher and again, Bill Maher and Richard Dawkins, and Sam
Harris are always saying, but religion causes these wars. Anyone who says that
about religion is no different than the
dumpy Midwestern housewife that atheists make fun of who
says, this Judas Priest album made my son kill himself. No. These people that started
wars because of religion were lunatics . anyway. Anything would have
made them do it. It was just nice that
religion came along. But if it wasn’t for Islam,
or Christianity, or Judaism, or Hinduism, they would have
looked at a weird shape pine cone and went, I got
to kill everybody. Because they’re crazy. [LAUGHTER] PATTON OSWALT: There. Thank you. Go ahead. AUDIENCE: Hi. We know that you’re
a big film fan and that you really probably
have a lot of people that you admire that
maybe you’ve met. I was wondering
if you could think of a particular like, geek-out
moment where you just couldn’t contain yourself
around somebody? PATTON OSWALT: Oh yeah, I
was telling this at lunch. Werner Herzog. I did some short films for this
thing called “We the Economy” explaining the economy
and mine was directed by Ramin Bahrani, who was also,
that was a big deal for me. He’s one of my
favorite directors. And so right till the
day before shooting it was supposed to be
me and then at the end, I play a guy who runs a
lemonade stand that I’m trying to shut down this little
girl’s lemonade stand using regulate, called
regulatory capture. It’s this whole thing. So and then in the
original script, they had David
Hasselhoff was going to come up on a, what
are those scooters that– AUDIENCE: Razor scooters. PATTON OSWALT: Not a
razor, the other one. Segway. And yell at me. And then he had to drop out
so they got Werner Herzog. Or as my friend
said, so you lost Germany’s favorite
American but you got America’s favorite German. And he did a scene where he was
screaming at me and calling me, you’re vile. You’re a worm. And they had to shoot
it over my shoulder because I was supposed to be
hurt but I was just smiling. I was so happy to get
to have him yell at me. I just was in such good mood. That was a big deal
to meet that guy. AUDIENCE: Awesome. Thank you. PATTON OSWALT: You’re welcome. AUDIENCE: Hey Patton. Big fan. PATTON OSWALT: Thank you. MALE SPEAKER: Yeah,
so I like to joke around a lot with
arguable success at actually being funny. And the one thing I
kind of want to try is translating that to the
stage and doing stand up. I’m wondering if
you have any advice on how to make that transition? Because you know,
jesting with friends is very different than
actually being on the spot. PATTON OSWALT: Do you live
in, where do you live? PATTON OSWALT: San Francisco. Go onstage. And I’m not saying
this to blow you off. People ask me this
question all the time and it’s not a
blow off question. Find the stage and go on it. It is the simplest thing. Any other thing you
got to try, you’ve got to convince other
people to go along with you. Stand up, all
you’ve got to do is show up and go on
stage for a minute. Its free. There’s a million,
in San Francisco, there’s a million open mics. Start going onstage. It’ll suck. But show up again, it’ll suck
less, and less, and less, and less. Then you’ll be good at it. AUDIENCE: Will do. Thanks. PATTON OSWALT: All
right, man, Good luck. AUDIENCE: Hey, thanks
for being here. PATTON OSWALT: Thank you. AUDIENCE: I just want to
say one of my favorites skits was Black
Angus Steakhouse. PATTON OSWALT: Oh, wow. Thank you. AUDIENCE: Still. I still think that’s hysterical. A quick question, I’m not
sure if it’s in the book but when you talk about sort
of appreciating films and all the films you’ve seen and
what you like or dislike, does animated films
fall into that category? Just curious to
get your thoughts. PATTON OSWALT: Absolutely. I mean, to me, I don’t
look at any kind of like, genre as this is the
genre of good films. I mean, I think that
there are great films that are horror films, great
films that are animated. So yeah, animated movies I
think have been just as crucial in film history as any other. I mean, if you go back to “Snow
White and the Seven Dwarfs” and “Fantasia.” Or if you then look
at now, animated films have gone the same
way as mainstream. There’s indie versions of it
with movies like “Persepolis.” There’s all of
Miyazaki’s stuff has been– Miyazaki’s films
have influenced Pixar more than Disney’s films have. So you know, I
just think that, I don’t look at movies in terms
of those kind of genres. Like, I’m glad there’s
a Best Animated Film category in the Oscars but there
have been a couple years where I’m like, some of these
movies could be Best Picture compared to what’s in the
Best Picture category. AUDIENCE: Cool, thanks. PATTON OSWALT: Thank you. MALE SPEAKER: Same for
Best Foreign Film actually. There have been
some years when– PATTON OSWALT: Oh
yeah, that’s right. Yeah. That’s right. MALE SPEAKER: Not
usually though. Frequently they’re
crappy movies that the– PATTON OSWALT: Lets not open
that door, for God’s sakes. MALE SPEAKER: Go ahead. AUDIENCE: Five, it’s
an honor to have you. Thank you. PATTON OSWALT: Thank you. AUDIENCE: I’d like to–
what is your preferred level of fame and
recognizability? Because there’s at
different times, I mention you to different
people and they’re like, oh, I know who Patton
Oswalt is versus who is he? Oh, you’ll have to
show me a video. Versus oh, he was that
role in that show. There’s all different levels. And like, what level are
you most comfortable with? MALE SPEAKER: Eventually it’s,
we want a young Patton Oswalt. [LAUGHTER] MALE SPEAKER: Sorry. That’s a classic Hollywood line. PATTON OSWALT: No, that it is. Yeah. We want a physically
fit Patton Oswalt. I would say my
level of fame is, I think the preferred
fame is, can sometimes get a good seat at
a restaurant if it’s crowded but nothing above that. So I can still travel
internationally and no one knows who I am. Like that’s, I
don’t want to go– I mean I’ve seen really
high levels of fame and they’re just not, and
this is going to sound like, it’s not sour grapes. But they don’t look fun. There’s certain levels. There’s a lot of nervousness
that I have around people and sometimes it can
get a little weird. So I can’t imagine what somebody
like a Tom Hanks goes through. Like, especially because I
want to keep doing stand up and if I get to a point
where I have to be walled off from everyday life, then
it’ll affect me doing comedy. I won’t be able to
walk around anymore. So I’m right where I want to be. This is perfect. No more. I’ve got to lose weight. Go ahead. AUDIENCE: Thank you for coming. PATTON OSWALT:
Thanks for having me. AUDIENCE: I just
wanted to ask you, when do you feel like you
stop bombing in comedy? Or if you never stoped– PATTON OSWALT:
I’ve never stopped. I still– there are nights. I just did the Improv
the other night, like last Sun– wait a minute. It was last Saturday. I didn’t have a good, I was
trying out all new stuff and I ate it. It just, it happens. I mean, it was a
little open mic thingy but you’re never immune
from having a bad set. Everyone has bad sets. But the thing is
you’re not immune, you have to become immune
to the fear of them. And also got to become
immune to good sets too because there’s
a lot of people, a really good set can mess
you up as hard as a bad set. People have a really
good set and they walk around going, wow, that
just changed everything. It’s like, no. Tomorrow’s a new day and you’ve
got to start from zero again. Like it’s just,
just keep going up. So you know, it’s
that kind of– there will always be
times when I bomb. AUDIENCE: Thank you. PATTON OSWALT: You’re welcome. Hello. AUDIENCE: You talked about
wanting to be a director. Do you think your
directorial debut will be your long-awaited
companion piece to “Death Bed: The Bed That Eats People?” [LAUGHTER] PATTON OSWALT: God, I hope not. Yeah. No. That was, good lord. No. That was a throw away. That was more of a
joke about making fun of why can’t you
get something done. You know, for all the
movies, all the screenplays I’ve completed that
haven’t been made. For all the screenplays I
started and didn’t complete. And a guy came up with
“Death Bed” and got it done. So there’s no excuse for you
not to finish your movie. So no It will, god, I hope not. Oh boy. That would be depressing. AUDIENCE: Thanks. PATTON OSWALT: Yeah, thank you. MALE SPEAKER: OK. We’re going to have book
signing in the back. And do you have a show tonight
at Berkeley, I believe. PATTON OSWALT: The
Zellerbach in Berkeley, so. MALE SPEAKER: You all can catch
even more of Patton tonight. Let’s thank Patton
Oswalt for coming here. PATTON OSWALT: Thanks, guys. [APPLAUSE] PATTON OSWALT: Thank you. [APPLAUSE] [MUSIC PLAYING]


  1. In both the book and the interview, I love his relatable, conversational voice.  I wish my conscience was as honest, fun and insightful – I might actually listen.

  2. Ugh, not sure I can hang with this.  The interviewer is just terrible and 10 minutes in, shows no signs of getting better.  At first I seriously thought he was performing some sort of awkward/clueless perfomance art.

  3. This interview was painful to watch. Patton is funny and insightful and nearly good enough to save it, but the awkward vibe given by the interviewer sinked it in the end.

  4. It's rare nowadays for anyone in movies to actually watch a lot of movies.  It's something missing.  I bet Oswalt would be a fine director.

  5. Wow, what the hell? I'm only 7 minutes in at this point and the interviewer is awful. Patton is handling it well and making it bearable but this dude is really bad. Creepy and not intelligent at all.

  6. I actually seen both Kramer vs Kramer and Risky Business. It kinda feels like I got a leg up on him. Like it's something I can hold against him.


  8. Place a potted plant with questionairre cards, and it'll do a better job than Purvy. This is why I won't subscribe to "Talks at Google".

  9. not only that, but cutting randomly to usually one single person in the crowd at any given time is also making me uncomfortable, oh well, patton is great!

  10. Death to Smoochy is one of the most underrated comedies. And it features Robin Williams playing a guy about to attempt suicide

  11. Patton saved this interview countless times, as did the audience with their insightful questions. You'll get em next time Bob.

  12. This does nothing to prove that Google is a leading cultural light. Interviews are supposed to be fun and conversational. They're not intended to be rote spewing of factoids.

    To be clear, I don't blame Patton. He's a funny, engaging person who is great at giving interviews. The blame goes to the interviewer first and foremost and a little bit to the crowd.

    And this isn't even the first time I've seen a Google interview turn tortured. It keeps happening. You don't have one person in your company that can bring enthusiasm to an interview?

  13. 16:05 funny, when I rewatched ROTJ I really did think that the movie doesn't really begin until Luke goes to see Yoda and we are introduced formally to The Emperor. The whole Jabba's Palace sequence… I won't say it should be cut since obviously you got to get Han out of the carbonite and so on, but as far as story arcs go, it's like a kind of short matinee serial attached to this grander story.

  14. wowza! Patton looks like a micro machine Jerry Lewis. We all need to see The Day the Clown Cried.

  15. God this interviewer killed it. I think one characteristics of a nerd is to tolerate the slackjawdness and awkwardness of another nerd


  17. I think I'm pretty much alone on this one, but I find Patton Oswalt remarkably sexy and I would have sex with him in a heartbeat given the opportunity

  18. This interview reminds me those Chris Farley skits where he's just like, "D'you remember that one time in Terminator when you said 'I'll be back'?"

    "That was awesome."

  19. I liked the interviewer. Watched twice before reading comments and was completely surprised. This is what I want from an interviewer of someone like Oswald. He lets Patton do his thing. And he is adorable to boot.

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