Thursday, January 20, 2011

Patton Oswalt - Zombie Spaceship Wasteland

I like Patton Oswalt. I've been struggling for a while as to how he first came on my radar. I know it was before I saw the taping for the second Comedy Central special, but it strikes me there was a forum before that. My memory issues aside, Patton has become quite a force of late, doing a host of TV and movie writing and acting and curating the exceedingly successful Comedians Of Comedy Tour(s). I'm pretty sure there's another live record in the pipeline, but in the interim Patton seems to have scared himself up a book deal.

On paper (ha!) Zombie Spaceship Wasteland is a great idea. Patton is an engagingly erudite writer, breaking the book down into various anecdotes, lists, and philosophical chapters. I got the audio book, which again seems like a great idea. It's always best to hear the actual author's voice whenever possible. Oswalt ups the ante by littering the book with REM anecdotes and having them actually voiced by Michael Stipe. (As I understand from a recent Patton TV appearance, may of the lines are misquoted, but our Mr. Stipe was nice enough to play along for the best of the audio book). I have to admit it's pretty badass. Now all the previous seems to be tinged with the portent of some impending textbook JS-NYC hate, but that's not actually the case. The anecdotes are decent, although I think most of them would come off better in print and you could see the end of The Victory Tour story about three minutes into the 40 minute bit. The D&D stuff is charming, but a lot of the stuff here seems to be sight gags articulated by Patton, perhaps to their detriment. I'm going to try and snag a copy of the book and see if it comes off any better, but I have little hope for the concept that gives the book its name. It's kind of a funny bit, and does ok in tying in some of the previous chapters, but all in all, I think I've heard better. I'm sure that Patton is losing a lot of sleep over that. In the interim, I'm going to read this and see if I like it any better. Stay tuned, but in the interim I wholly urge you to ignore this asshole and grab Zombie Spaceship Wasteland here.


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