Patton Oswalt was talking about being interviewed by children's media, and in some cases by actual children, about his role in the upcoming
"I didn't realize until now," the comedian admitted at the Berklee Performance Center on Sunday, "how much I rely on negativity and cynicism to communicate with the outside world."
Oswalt's explosively funny, self-loathing-spiked set -- he referred to himself at one point as a "bridge troll" -- covered a lot of ground that probably won't track on Nickelodeon. He illustrated how replacing the filthy words in his act with substitutes for television only made his jokes more disturbing: His PG description of the recent birth of twins by a 67-year-old woman was hilariously revolting. The admitted sci-fi and comic- book geek also scored with an imaginary conversation with George Lucas about the "Star Wars" prequels, gravel-voiced Tom Carvel's long-ago ads for ice-cream cakes, and the thought process behind KFC's Famous Bowl.
Following Oswalt, Janeane Garofalo immediately apologized for closing the show, comparing herself to a fading band that doesn't recognize that its moment has passed. She may have had a point. Disjointed and occasionally hectoring, she could shift from her intense love of "Pride And Prejudice" to her insistence that
With Garofalo declaring her love for Vicodin and the ADD medication Adderall , her constant, whip-crack shifts of topic (sometimes in mid-thought) made sense. But she often moved too fast for the laughs to stick, and her repeated riffs on politics were little more than sarcastic lectures. Anyone without HBO or Showtime was left adrift when she talked about "John From Cincinnati," "The Tudors," and her anger over "T he Sopranos" finale. Some sharp moments poked through the chaos, but it felt like a set in the process of being honed.
Michael Showalter, from "Stella" and "Wet Hot American Summer," opened with a brief but warmly funny set in which he talked through his childhood while giving a slide presentation of photos of himself as a kid at summer camp.