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Patton Oswalt Finds Humor in Shadow of Grief

Patton Oswalt is a very funny man. But the humor drained from his life when his wife of more than a decade – writer Michelle McNamara – passed away in 2016.

It was almost a year before the comedian and actor returned to television work on shows like "VEEP" and "A.P. Bio" or began talking and joking about his life onstage. 

"It was a huge blow to my reality, and then I just didn't know what to do with myself after a while, and then I started going back on stage," he said.

This Saturday night Oswalt is back in Cleveland for the first time since his wife's death. 

Despite his heartache, Oswalt is glad to be doing what he does best.

"I'm always ultimately going for the laugh. That's my job. It's not my job to make people pay to watch me do a therapy session," he says.

However, if he's able to make his audience laugh and cry it's a bonus.

"That's how you surprise and engage an audience if you're also going through those emotions. I like that I can bring that into the act," he said.

While getting back onstage in front of an audience is cathartic for Oswalt, he's always turned to comedy in challenging times.

"Just as I'm sure music helps musicians deal with a lot of things, writing helps novelists deal with things. That's why we've always turned toward art and stories throughout history," he said.

Life's moved on for Oswalt and his 10-year-old daughter Alice. Oswalt married actor Meredith Salenger in 2017, and he has a whole new set of comedy to share in Cleveland, which likely will include some political humor.

"I don't even think it's because of who our president is," he said. "We're in this weird zone where reality just seems to be slipping a little bit, and to not address that would look and feel insane."

Patton Oswalt performs at Playhouse Square's Key Bank State Theater Saturday, July 13th at 8pm.


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