Patton Oswalt’s ‘I Love Everything’ Finds Humor in Both the Mundane and Controversial
Two and a half years after his last Netflix comedy special, “Annihilation,” comedian Patton Oswalt returns to the stage with “I Love Everything.” Just looking at the two titles, one can surmise that his latest special is more lighthearted. Indeed, in 2017, Oswalt was still coming to terms with the sudden passing of his first wife, true crime author Michelle McNamara, the previous year. In “Annihilation,” he used humor to open up about his grief and his struggle to find a new normal with his young daughter, Alice. Now, Oswalt has weathered the storm, and here we find a content man, one who finds humor in everyday life, as well as weightier issues such as religion and the #MeToo movement.
A big part of Oswalt’s charm has always been his relatability, and “I Love Everything” kicks off with his discussing a recent milestone, his 50th birthday, and in our youth and wellness-obsessed culture, 50 isn’t what it used to be, especially in Los Angeles, where Oswalt resides. Hiking has become a part of his daily routine, as has wholesome breakfast food. Many may have tried in the past, but no comedian in recent memory has been able to successfully deliver such an amusing tangent on something as mundane as healthy breakfast cereal.
Domesticity is a theme in “I Love Everything,” as Patton wed actress Meredith Salenger in late 2017 following a whirlwind courtship. He talks about his experience renovating their new house and their marital spats, but the real laughs come when he launches into a hilarious segment about weddings. Apparently, theirs was a perfect affair, unlike the majority of the weddings at which he deejayed as a teen in Virginia. With Patton’s creative and vivid descriptions, one can easily imagine oneself at one of these tragically downscale affairs, complete with crappy, worn-out cassette tape music.
It would be nearly impossible for an American comedian to make a comedy special without touching on the current situation in D.C., and Oswalt manages to avoid going on a diatribe by wisely pointing out how pointless it would be, as no one would likely have their opinion of the current administration changed one way or another because of his jokes. He likens making a joke about Trump to his base to joking about Charlie Manson to his followers, as neither group is likely to be swayed that their leader is a nutball. Plus, he points out, Trump and company are hardly a barrel of laughs due to the anxiety they cause most people on a daily basis.
Religion is a tricky topic to joke about, especially for a staunch atheist like Oswalt. However, he manages to express his doubts about Christianity without coming off as pompous or condescending. He puts forth a number of thoughtful theories, including one that Jesus was probably actually a number of people who did good deeds, pointing out that all those cool kids he knew in high school have been combined to create one badass dude in his stories.
Along with Trump, #MeToo has been a topic that’s been hard for comedians to avoid, and Oswalt seems to speak for most decent men when he says that he cares about #MeToo because he has a daughter, although he knows that shouldn’t be the reason. Also, like many others, the revelations of #MeToo have made him realize that he’s not as “depraved” as he had previously thought. Without naming names, he makes fun of the kink of a certain disgraced comedian, visualizing the kind of porn a man who enjoys masturbating in front of unenthusiastic women would seek out.
All of this leads to a lengthy segment on Denny’s, and Oswalt ends the set once again killing it by finding humor in something as mundane as a chain diner. In the final moments, he acts out his version of the perfect Denny’s commercial, and let’s just say he might have a future in advertising. Or not.
“Patton Oswalt: I Love Everything” begins streaming May 19 on Netflix.