date published: May 5, 2008

5 questions with...

Patton OswaltPatton Oswalt
by Josh B. Wardrop

Comedy fans know Patton Oswalt from his role as Spence on the long-running sitcom “The King of Queens,” or from his acclaimed stand-up shows and albums. Young children and their parents, meanwhile, would recognize him as the voice of last year’s animated rodent chef in Ratatouille. On May 9 & 10, Oswalt performs at the Somerville Theatre as part of the Alt-Com comedy festival.

Q: How would you define “alternative comedy”?
It’s comedy where the audience has no pre-set expectations about the crowd, and vice versa. In comedy clubs, there tends to be a certain vibe—alternative comedy explores different types of material.

Q: How would you describe your style as a stand-up comedian?
I don’t know that I have a style—certainly, the way I talk offstage is the way I do onstage. I don’t have a set of regular obsessions that I talk about—my act tends to be about whatever’s on my mind at the moment.

Q: Stepping into the Disney/Pixar world to do Ratatouille—was that difficult? Did you have to suppress any of your natural comedic impulses?
Not at all. I was picked to come in because the producers had heard and liked my first stand-up album (Feelin’ Kinda Patton), so they knew what I did right from the start. The Disney experience wasn’t distinctly different from other big studio projects.

Q: You’re a big comic book fan, and a published comic book writer. What were your favorites growing up?
As a kid, it was Spider-Man, naturally. I got back into comics in college when books like Swamp Thing and Watchmen came out.

Q: When you’re not doing stand-up, you do a lot of script touch-ups for Hollywood movies. What does that aspect of your career offer you?
A really huge payday (laughs). Sure, it’s largely uncredited, but it’s really made up for by the obscene amounts of money it pays.