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April 18, 2006

The Power and the Patton: Comedians of Comedy terrorize Louisville

Patton Oswalt. Is. A man. Who. Does comedy. But. He is not. Your average comedian.You might know him as Spence, the lovable supporting character on the runaway smash hit CBS sitcom “The King of Queens,” but Oswalt doesn’t consider himself a TV actor who dabbles in stand-up comedy — he’s a stand-up comedian who moonlights in television to support his less lucrative but more satisfying comedic endeavors.Case in point: The Comedians of Comedy, a package tour that features four comics who perform transgressive comedy, or as Oswalt likes to say, “comedians who don’t pander to the lowest common denominator.” Conceived by Oswalt as an umbrella title for a rotating group of comics, the Comedians of Comedy this time out includes Brian Posehn, Maria Bamford, Eugene Mirman and Oswalt himself, who has paid the price for his unwillingness to dumb things down. He was once booed off stage in Pittsburgh.“That was during the lead up to the war, and I was being very, very critical of Bush and I was saying ridiculous shit like, I think he might be lying about the weapons of mass destruction and I don’t think we’re going to war for the right reasons,” he says. “Of course, they rightfully booed me offstage for being such a fucking asshole. It’s not like I was proven right or anything. It was really weird. I’m not shocked that that happened ... They had that fear machine going as hard and fast as they could, and the audience was really, really freaked out. I was as freaked out as they were, but for different reasons: I was freaked out because I didn’t want young people going to die on a load of bullshit, and they also cared very much about those soldiers and showed it by screaming at someone who was criticizing the war and saying that maybe we shouldn’t go over there.”Despite such uplifting tales from the heartland, Oswalt remains a fan of the Midwest. The Comedians of Comedy arrive in Louisville next week, and Oswalt can’t wait: “Louisville was one of the places when I was starting out, I got the idea that there were pockets of coolness outside of big cities, because I started off in Washington, D.C., and northern Virginia and there was just nothing there and the audiences sucked. Suddenly, I’m in Louisville, the audiences were a lot smarter and there are cool bookstores and music venues and bars and there’s actually culture. And that was one of the first times I got an indication that there’s cool shit out here.”And Oswalt and his fellow Comedians of Comedy bring the cool, as well. This isn’t your typical canned comedy show wherein the comics perform the same bits the same way, night after night.“The show is different every night, based on what we experience that day and what’s been happening to us,” says Oswalt. “We don’t even feel compelled for, like, the fans; we just do it for our own amusement.”Anything else?“We are 10 times funnier, five times cheaper and eight times cuter than any comedy show you can see or will ever see,” Oswalt vows. “If you have cancer, this show will cure it.”