Patton Oswalt We All Scream evaluation: New Netflix standup special finds comedy icon in an insightful mood

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On the face of it, there’s little in frequent between the Trump presidency and Covid — moreover, in fact, the 18-month interval the place hell itself froze over and the 2 briefly overlapped. But in the event you assume about it, has there been one other subject that has supplied extra fodder to comedians in the previous couple of years than the forty fifth POTUS and the pandemic? In his fourth Netflix standup special — titled We All Scream — Patton Oswalt does an admirable job of avoiding each topics, a minimum of immediately. He does, nonetheless, unpack the trauma that they’ve left behind.

Addressing the sudden social divide that they created, nonetheless, is maybe as edgy as he’s prepared to get in We All Scream — an hour-long special in which the comic transitions from innocent jokes about rising outdated to an electrical riff about post-war American historical past. And one way or the other, in typical Oswalt style, he manages to attract parallels between each, segueing from a bit about breaking his foot whereas stepping over a curb to delivering an insightful sermon of types on the collective societal insecurity that results in individuals like Reagan and Trump being elected into workplace.

Oswalt has all the time relied on his potential to relate vividly descriptive private tales that border on the absurd, and regardless of the common jokes about how outdated he has develop into, the comic all the time seems to be on his toes — a minimum of so far as his expertise as a raconteur are involved. At one level, he compares his spouse to ‘an outer house intercourse vixen’ with homicide in her eyes, and on one other event, he pitches a potential Pixar movie that includes family home equipment for the Safdie Brothers to direct.

These are maybe the one two moments in which he reveals his inside nerd — a persona that will typically rear its head in his earlier specials. But through the years, Oswalt’s observations about the world have modified. His stage presence remains to be manic (regardless of the scary surgical procedure and the damaged foot), however his commentary isn’t as cartoonish because it was. We All Screams ends with among the most reflective materials of his profession. And the bit is laced along with his trademark self-deprecation and a real sense of gratitude. “Ageing isn’t unhealthy in the event you don’t take it personally,” he muses, alternating between informal criticism of masculinity and performing a fast post-mortem of the Trump years.

Here’s a person who has skilled actual, tangible grief in his life. But he’s additionally somebody who overcame it. He persevered, and one way or the other didn’t enable himself to be corrupted by fame or develop into embittered by loss.

This is the sort of maturity that empowers a comic to arrange a joke directed at Joe Rogan — an straightforward goal, by any customary — after which swerve away so drastically that you simply start to surprise why he even introduced him up. Until he tells you why. Not solely does Oswalt refuse to pile on Rogan, he argues that individuals ought to contemplate empathising with the podcast mogul. And virtually as if to stress his level, he makes himself the butt of the joke. It’s a deft bait-and-switch; a terrific little bit of comedian subversion.

But the special isn’t uniformly sharp, and that’s most likely a side-effect of the varied types that Oswalt makes an attempt throughout the hour. An early bit about clown pubes (sigh, sure) bombs — he acknowledges this, by the best way — and leaves him scrambling to win the viewers again. Which he does, in fact, effectively earlier than some cracking crowd-work in direction of the top.

We All Scream has that acquainted yelling-into-a-void vitality that Oswalt all the time appears to be surrounded by, however this time, he is aware of he isn’t alone.

Patton Oswalt: We All Scream
Director – Patton Oswalt
Rating – 3.5/5

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