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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Patton Oswalt: ‘I enjoy acting as much as standup’

Like many entertainers, Patton Oswalt is making up dates postponed due to the pandemic. Oswalt, 53, will deliver his material Sunday at Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox. Who knows what he’ll render? “I never disclose what I’ll talk about,” Oswalt said. “That will ruin the surprise.”

However, people can talk about his impressive turn in his latest movie. Oswalt wasn’t idle during 2020 and 2021. Oswalt accepted an acting gig and impressed during the entertaining feature “I Love My Dad,” which won the Narrative Feature Competition jury prize at South By Southwest.

“The film deserves all of the accolades,” Oswalt said. “What a great script.” When Oswalt agreed to star in the deep and hilarious independent film, about an estranged dad, the comic didn’t draw from experience with his 13-year-old daughter, Alice.

Oswalt, a doting father in real life, portrays a dud of a dad, who is a pathological liar and is estranged for good reason from his suicidal son. The dad comes up with a cringey but clever way to reconnect with his son. “It’s a great script, and I’m a big movie buff,” Oswalt said. “I wanted to see how they would pull this off.”

The best way for Oswalt to see if the film would work or not was to agree to play the quirky lead. “There were so many things that could go wrong, and that made it really exciting for me,” Oswalt said while calling from his Los Angeles home.

“I’m playing a guy who is such a horrible father. I don’t think he understands the joy of being a father. Being a father to him is a hindrance. He just wants the credit but won’t put the work in – I played a guy who wants all the privileges but none of the responsibility.”

“I Love My Dad” hits screens Aug. 5. Oswalt is on the road delivering standup until the next acting gig comes up. “I just do whatever I’m interested in during that moment,” Oswalt said. “I’ll do standup, but I enjoy acting as much as standup.”

Unlike the character he portrays in “I Love My Dad,” Oswalt spends almost all his time off the stage at home with his wife and their daughter. “Any time we can hang out is great,” Oswalt said. “I want to be home without an agenda. To me, that’s very important.”

Oswalt grew up on John Huston and Howard Hawks’ movies. “I love those classic movies,” Oswalt said. “It doesn’t get much better than that.” Oswalt hopes to direct a film one day.

“It’s an abiding wish of mine that I hope it becomes a reality at some point,” Oswalt said. “I also would love to work with someone like (director Martin) Scorsese. I’m in a great place right now. I get to do standup, work on movies and have a family.

“I understand how fortunate I am. I’m not like the dad I played in ‘I Love My Dad,’ but I had such a great time playing him.”