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A better title doesn't exist!
on March 3, 2012
I first became aware of Patton Oswalt when I saw "No Reason to Complain" when it first came out on DVD. I wasn't terribly impressed. Patton's performance felt too rushed, loud and hurried for me to really enjoy it. I'm happy to say that since then, he has become one of my most favorite comedians of all time. Each album he has released has shown his growth both as a human being and a phenomenal writing talent. Let's be truthful; NOTHING IS HARDER THAN COMEDY. Patton's perspective has grown wider, not narrower as the years have passed. Married life and fatherhood has done nothing to blunt his cynical view of the world. In fact, these life-changing events have added a slightly sweet edge to his nerdy bitterness that really helps to leaven his anger with the small graces that a happy home life can bring. He has become more confident in himself and his material, and thus even funnier.
Just compare the performances between "Feelin' Kinda Patton" and "Finest Hour." On the former album, Patton is almost berating the audience with his jokes. He yells a LOT, and it makes for a fairly bombastic experience, as if he wants to browbeat the audience into submission. On the latter album, Patton still uses volume and rage, but he's much more selective about it. He chooses the right moment for them, just as he chooses the right moment for a particularly saucy string of profanities or vulgarities. I loves me some gross humor as much as the next person, but I don't want a steady stream of it. Patton has struck the right balance and his material has developed a much wider range, both in subject matter and delivery.
There were two bits on "Finest Hour", that when I heard them for the first time I literally could not get the air in quick enough to laugh. It was as if a comedy smart bomb had been tossed down my throat and blown all the air out in one soundless gasp. My abdominal muscles cramped with pain under the strain! Asphyxiation by comedy! Who knew it was possible!
Like others have mentioned, the only thing that would make this CD better would be an accompanying DVD (like with "My Weakness Is Strong") because Patton's physical presence on stage adds further hilarity to an already superb performance.