Chatting with the comedian Patton Oswalt, who hits Detroit this month on his “Who’s Ready to Laugh?” tour.
Who’s ready to laugh? That’s the question Patton Oswalt is asking on his new tour of the same name, which kicked off in September and hits the Fillmore Detroit on Nov. 6. We caught up with the Los Angeles-based comedian to talk about getting back on the road, why he digs Detroit, and the worst possible way to describe a comedian in 2021.
SEEN: What’s it like touring these days?
It’s been really good to be in front of people, but I’m used to doing these online shows so it’s a little mind cracking to be onstage and not hear the laughter either muffled or through an internet mic. But I’ll take that change. I really missed getting to be in front of live audiences and that energy. I needed it back for selfish reasons. There’s nothing like it.
SEEN: So are audiences, in fact, ready to laugh?
I’m absolutely getting that vibe. People are excited to be out. And they’re happy to be seeing how the world is doing what it can to adjust and make things safer for everyone. And seeing that, oh we can be together in a world that might be a little fraught but there’s a way to make it OK and safe. That includes what venues are doing.
[The Fillmore requires proof of vaccination or a recent negative Covid-19 test for entry.]
SEEN: What kind of material are you debuting on this tour?
I never like talking about it because it’s in such embryonic form. But in a general sense there’s a feeling of, we’re all mutually connecting and reaffirming with each other that, oh, yeah we all went through some crazy stuff [this past 18+ months] and got affected by it.
SEEN: Does your act get political?
You can’t not be political at this time with the world we’re living in. Obviously I try to keep it goofy and fun but if you completely act like you don’t know what’s going on [in the country/world], people think you’ve gone insane.
SEEN: Did you write the new material during horribleness of 2020?
Some, and some was written after the horribleness when we were re-emerging. It was hard to write during that time because I “write” on stage; I have a general idea [of a bit] but I work things out in front of the audience. I wasn’t able to work those muscles when I was sitting down with no feedback.You’ve performed in Detroit before.
“Detroit has that perpetual New-York-in-the-summer-of-1977 feel with all the creativity that’s come out of the city when it’s been struggling. It has a feeling of constant rebuilding. ”
SEEN: What do you like about Detroit?
A lot of times when I’m touring I don’t get to see as much of a particular city as I want to, but I definitely like the feeling of history that Detroit has and the feeling of constant rebuilding in terms of all the art that’s come out of the city when it hasn’t had the best of times or when it’s been struggling. It has that perpetual New-York-in-the-summer-of-1977 feel with all of the creativity that’s coming out of it.
SEEN: Will you check out the city after your show?
I’m older now, man. In my 20s I’d do stuff after a show but now I finish my set and go to sleep. Sleep matters.
SEEN: What’s the most exciting and most challenging thing about being back on the road?
The best part is that I’m back in front of audiences doing what I love. The challenging part is that the travel is very exhausting. There are extra checkpoints, which I’m glad for, but it’s also very tense. Thankfully laughter is a great antidote to that.
SEEN: Speaking of, I recently came across an article that referred to you as “a super spreader of hilarity.”
[Laughs.] That’s a horrible way to describe me! Holy crap. “A super spreader of infectious laughter.”
SEEN: I won’t use that as the headline to this article, I promise.
Get your tickets to Patton Oswalt on Saturday, November 6 at the Fillmore Detroit.