Patton Oswalt’s amusing and brutally straightforward description of remaining a dad right after losing his wife.
Patton Oswalt missing his wife of 11 years, Michelle McNamara, to unknown causes.
In addition to leaving the comic with a mountain of grief and unanswered issues, McNamara’s unexpected dying left Oswalt the sole guardian of their 7-yr-aged daughter, Alice.
In an interview with Conan O’Brien on Monday night, Oswalt explained his unwilling transition to daily life as one dad employing a familiar analogy: television.
“I’m like every bad ’80s sitcom where there’s a dad raising a kid by himself, and the mom is somehow… Except my ’80s sitcom sucks. There’s no punchlines. It’s just, there’s a lot of insomnia. There’s a lot of me eating Cheetos for dinner, and I’m waiting for my daughter to turn to the camera and go, ‘No wonder I’m in therapy!’”
In an unflinching Fb post, Oswalt explained the powerful suffering and feeling of paralysis he experienced been dwelling with due to the fact losing his wife — and the frustrating gratitude he felt towards the close friends and relatives who have helped carry him up.
The article finished with a guarantee.
“I’ll start being funny again soon. What other choice do I have?”
In adhering to that guarantee, Oswalt demonstrates that there is no one ideal way to deal with grief.
Applying comedy as a lifeline out of tragedy — like comic Tig Notaro, who did a legendary, thirty-minute stand-up established right after understanding she had breast cancer or “Saturday Night time Live’s” Pete Davidson, who lost his father on 9/11 and claims that overcoming the loss gave him the bravery to inform much more fearless jokes — is not just a tradition amongst comedians. It is intensely human.
It is also an acknowledgement that even in the confront of terrific loss, the awkwardness and irony of daily life does not go absent — as illustrated by a story Oswalt advised O’Brien about an interaction with one of his daughter’s playmates:
“One of her friends came up and was like — this was at a playdate weeks later — ‘Is Alice gonna have a stepmom?’ And I was like, ‘I’m not really thinking about any of that right now.’ And then she said, ‘When my mom and dad stopped living together, I had a stepmom right way.’ And I was like, ‘I bet you did!’”
But possibly the most significant remedy Oswalt gave in the interview was the first, in reaction to a query about how he’s holding up:
Look at Oswalt’s amusing, poignant, heartbreaking account of supporting his daughter navigate the most hard time of their lives — which include an epic, unforgettable story of an encounter with an aged ticket-taker at the airport: