Though Patton Oswalt is known for his work as an actor in plenty of TV shows and a few movies, it has always been his standup comedy I’ve enjoyed most. Like all great comedians, he has the ability to see the silliness in small things and expand on it, turning it into an extended riff, using just the right words and timing.
His new Netflix special, “I Love Everything,” is bookended by bits about breakfast foods.
First, Oswalt laments the fact that, since he’s now fifty years old, he can’t eat the sugary, fun cereals he did in his twenties and thirties. Instead, he ends up with a bowlful of some brown stuff “that tastes like an unpopular teen’s poetry.” Moreover, he can’t help but read the cereal box, which reveals the history of the hippie organic farm that grows the amaranth flakes he’s eating. Having read a few cereal boxes in my time, Oswalt already had me laughing out loud.
Over the course of the next hour, he touches on his teenage experience as a low-rent wedding DJ, dealing with an always-cranky wallpaper-hanger in his house, and the note his wife left on his windshield after they’d had a fight — which scared the crap out of him even though she’d written it with love.
Oswalt only delves into one semi-topical issue, an extended rant about men like Louis CK (who he doesn’t name), for whom masturbating in front of women seemed somehow defensible amid claims that the victims consented. He also doesn’t go off on anything political, except for his explanation of why he isn’t doing any material about Trump.
He brings the special to a close with an extended bit about Denny’s, including his anthropomorphism of the breakfast items on the children’s menu — for whom Oswalt creates an intricate and hilarious backstory. It’s yet another example of his skill at observing the world through cynically comical eyes.
I give “Patton Oswalt: I Love Everything” a 9 out of 10. It’s streaming now on Netflix.