Comedian Patton Oswalt returns to Netflix with “Patton Oswalt: Annihilation.” The deeply personal and powerful stand-up special dives into the last year of Patton’s life, following the passing of his wife, and how he worked through the pain and grief by finding humor. Oswalt also explores topics including the angst of social media, the current political climate and being tricked by robocalls. Filmed at Chicago’s Athenaeum Theatre.
Ladies and gentlemen, Patton Oswalt. Thank you. Okay, guys, please. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, guys. Oh, thank you! Thank you. Thank you all. Please! Oh, dear God in heaven! Thank you for that. Wow! Um… Thank you guys for coming out and being so enthusiastic and… happy about, like… um… I’m genuinely… I’m genuinely surprised that you’re in such a good mood, especially with what… I’m sure you guys saw what just went down on Twitter five minutes ago. Did you… You didn’t see? The… No? I’m kidding. Nothing happened. But that’s the world we’re living in right now basically is every… “Oh, fuck, what did he do? What? Wait. What do you mean?” I almost feel like I could get out of a mugging using that for the next couple of years. Like if someone put a gun in my face, “Give me your wallet.” “You know what, take my keys, man. It’s over. Go check Twitter.” “What?” I just bolt. Like I could… make it… to survive. Because that was… My routine in the morning is, uh, the alarm goes off on my phone, I get up. Have I had any calls, any texts? Okay. I check e-mail, then I check Twitter. And now my feet are on the ground and I can start my day. And now the routine’s the same, except the alarm goes off. Okay, any calls, any texts? All right. Check e-mail. But I check Twitter like this now, “Oh, shit! Oh, what did he do? What did he do?” And no matter what is trending, I immediately link it to Trump and it’s bad, like, in my head. Like if puppies are trending, I’m like, “He killed all the puppies. There’s no puppies. They’re all dead. He killed every puppy. Somehow he managed to kill every… “
How hard did your rectum cinch up when… Remember a couple months ago when “Korean peninsula” started trending? And you’re like, “The fuck is that?” By the way, when I saw that, I didn’t even go directly to nuclear war in my head. In my head, I’m like, “Oh, God, he went on TV and went… ” And I was like, “Oh, God. Oh!” Like, he was… trying to describe an episode of MASH he had just watched. And then like… now missiles are flying, or something. I don’t know, but… Fuck.
Look at this shit. Look at this! Look at th… I started off this year… I was focused. I was gonna get fit. I was gonna work out every day. I was gonna cut down on sugars. And for the first 19 days of this year… I was on it. I was committed. And then January 20 rolled around, that inauguration came, “Fuck it. No, I don’t give a shit.” “Ice cream for breakfast, that’s… ” I wonder how many Alcoholics Anonymous chips went sailing across ponds when that… when… When, like… When Trump hand hit the Bible, there was just, all over the country, “See you in four years.” Whoosh! Eight! Nice. All right.
I think that’s one of the reasons people don’t like Trump so much, is that he really has shoved our faces, very hard, into how not evolved and progressive we are as a country, as we like to tell ourselves. I think there was maybe a little bit too much back-patting after we elected Obama twice. There was a little bit too much, “You’re welcome, Earth. Yeah, that’s right, we, uh, we’re pretty amazing. It’s America 2008. We’re, uh, on the vanguard. That’s right. Yeah, you’re welcome. Pretty good. Pretty amazing.” And then after eight years of Obama, it was time to elect either a very qualified woman or a racist scrotum dipped in Cheeto dust. And… the country said, “Ah, see what the scrotum has to say. I don’t know. Maybe he’s… something kind of new.” We couldn’t go from black guy to woman. It was just too much of a jump. Going from Obama to Hillary for us, I think what it is is imagine going skydiving for the first time and your feet hit the ground, your heart is thumping, all that adrenaline. And someone just runs up and says, “Hey, let’s go bungee jumping right now.” You’re like, “I need to just sit on the couch for, like, a week and eat Triscuits and watch X-Files reruns. I can’t just go right to fucking bungee jumping.” That’s what… Trump is our sitting on the couch, watching X-Files after. Because clearly a big part of the country while Obama was president was internally going, “Black guy!” So, they needed this racist palate cleanser, if you will. This cup of white supremacist sorbet.
And by the way, we will have a woman president, probably sooner than later. But keep… Guys. Guys. Guys! Easy. No! We will have a woman president. But just keep in mind that after she serves her term, the choices will very probably be a very qualified gay guy and then a KKK dude with the ass cut out of his jeans and… The country’s gonna go, “Let’s see what the KKK guy… I don’t know. Maybe he has… some ideas. I’d love to hear them. I mean, his ass is hanging out. That’s fresh. I never… saw that before, right?”
I empathize with Trump. I don’t sympathize with him, but I get it. I understand his origin story. I know why he’s got this job. You know it too. He went to the Correspondents’ Dinner. Obama made fun of him, and he sat there and said, “No. I’m taking your job. Fuck that. You don’t make fun of me.” And then he spent $40 million and broke his ass for a year. Now he’s got the job and the job sucks. He… He did it out of spite. I’ve done so many dumbass things out of spite just to piss someone else off. I’m like, “I don’t fucking wanna do this shit.” So I get it. And especially because his life before the presidency was amazing. It was amazing. It was jets and golf and hookers. It was just nonstop fun. And now he’s got to sit and talk to the trade minister of Luxembourg. I get it. Trump becoming president because Obama made fun of him, that would be like, imagine if… the head of linguistics at Rutgers made fun of David Lee Roth. And then… David Lee Roth is like, “I’m gonna take your job. Zibbity, bobbity, boop.” And then he, like, spends a year and all this money… gets the job, goes cartwheeling into the linguistics department. “Yeah, head of linguistics, everybody. Diamond Dave! Bring out the coke and the hookers.” Then the guy’s like, “Oh, no, we’re gonna be talking about the lack of recursion in 16th-century Germanic poetry.” Dave’s like, “I… ” “No? Nothing? That’s not how… Okay, that’s fine. That’s great.” And that’s it for the Trump material. That’s all… because look, I could…
And by the way, people that tell me, “You comedians must be so happy. Trump is president. It’s just all this free material.” You know what, yes, there’s a lot of material, but there’s too fucking much. It’s exhausting. Being a comedian while Trump is president is like, imagine there’s an insane man on the sidewalk just shitting on the sidewalk and yelling about Hitler and… So you’re looking at him and immediately think of the funniest joke about shitting on the sidewalk and yelling. You turn to tell it to a bunch of people and then behind you, he’s taken the shit and made a sombrero out of it. So, you turn and you tell your amazing shitting-on-the-sidewalk joke, and everyone goes, “Oh, no, that was… Dude, turn around. He made a sombrero out of it. Do a sombrero joke.” Oh, fuck!
I can make fun of shit he did the last couple of days. By the time this thing airs, you guys are gonna be going, “Wait. What? What was that again? ‘Cause he took his dick out when they lit the Christmas tree. I don’t know why you’re talking about… Oh, yeah, the Paris thing. Well, I totally forgot about that. Yeah.” Fucking Donald Trump is sour cream in the sauna. There’s no, like… “Shit! Oh, fuck, I gotta… “
Thankfully, Trump put some light on a huge issue that’s facing this country though. Huge issue that we’ve got to… we’ve got to do something about. You know what I’m talking about, of course… white genocide. That’s right. Oh, yeah. It’s real, folks. Look. White people, we used to be in charge of, like, 99.9 percent of shit. And in the recent years, that number has plummeted to 96.4 percent. We are on the way out. And thank God, Trump gave voice to these embattled white people. How ballsy do you have to be as a white person to use the term “white genocide”? That… Especially if you’re talking to, like, someone who’s Jewish or Native American or African American. And you’re like, “Oh, hey, I totally get it now, dude. I get it. Yeah. No, like I used to watch Schindler’s List, and that’s a great movie, but I could never completely relate to it. Like, I’m only… But then The Force Awakens came out. And there was a black storm trooper, I’m like, ‘Holy shit.’ I totally understand Auschwitz now. I get it. I totally get it. Yeah, man, when that guy… When he took his helmet off and it was a black guy, I’m like, That was our Trail of Tears, right there. When that helmet came off. My God, dude, I’m fucking with you, man.”
“Gotta keep the races pure!” Oh, I hope they don’t use that out of context in the promo. That would be really weird. Putting that one… Patton Oswalt’s got a new Netflix special. Gotta keep the races pure. Tune in this… September. You’re gonna wanna binge this one. It’s a terrible segue.
People are still obsessed with pure races. Which, by the way, there were pure races for ten minutes when the earth cooled, that’s when we had pure races. And then everyone just started fucking each other, and now we are what we are now. And by the way, have you ever met someone who’s really Caucasian? Or mega Asian? Or super African? It’s creepy. Pure races are like, “Oh, God, one of you guys fuck a Mexican, because this is way too much. The black, white and yellow, I just think penguin. Get some earth tones in there. Something! Aah!”
There’s even a thing you can do. I’ve done this. It’s called, um, 23andMe. 23andMe is this company, and what you do is you spit in a cup, and then you mail the cup to some nerds, and then they look at it under… they spin it and look at it under the microscope. And then they send you back a map of the world with all of your DNA markers on it, show you where all your DNA came from. So, I did it. Send in my cup, get back my map. I unfold it. I’m looking at it, and I got all the pasty countries covered. I had every one… There’s Ireland and Sweden and England. I got it. Then I had a huge spike in Mongolia. How many years was my dad in Vietnam? Hmm? They have an 800 number. Call them and they’ll go over your map with you. I called them up and said, “I got my map. And yeah, there’s all the pasty countries. And, uh, hey, what’s with Mongolia? What’s the deal with my Mongolian DNA?” And the guy on the phone didn’t even pause, he immediately said, “Yeah, that’s Genghis Khan.” Sorry. What? He goes, “You’re related to Genghis Khan. Most people are related to Genghis Khan.” I go, “You serious?” He goes, “Dude, Genghis Khan fucked everything.” “There are trees that are related to Genghis Khan. That’s all he did was fuck.” And that must have been some amazing cum in Genghis Khan’s balls, because not only was he in tight, leather-skin pants that do not breathe, like sperm-killing heat, then put him on a saddle for ten hours a day. The saddle just crushing his nuts. Bam, boom, bam, bam! Then he would take over a village and get off the horse, “Hey, everyone, look, really quick. I’m Genghis Khan. Before we go further, it’ll take 10 minutes, I’m gonna fuck everybody. That’s what I do. I fuck everybody. I’m really good.” His cum’s like, “Why are we still talking? Let’s make babies. Let’s do it.”
If I send a text near my nutsack, my bloodline is done. I have the weakest… “I don’t know why you added that Emoji, Patton. We can’t. There’s no way. You cannot pass along your information, my friend.” I’m a terrible candidate for defending the white race, so please don’t recruit me, Nazis. I’m a terrible fighter. I’ve been… I realize I’ve been in fights, but only as a featured extra. Like I’ve never actually “participated.” It was less of a conversation and more of a lecture, if you know what I mean. Just no reach, no punch. Even when I watch, like, when a fight is going on, I get tensed up. I’m the guy… I’m never the guy going in going, “Hey, stop this. What are you guys, nuts?” I’m the guy at the edge of the crowd… No fighting skill.
I’ve seen one genuinely great fight in my life that actually inspired me and encouraged me and gave me hope for us as a species. Um, this was way back in 2000. I was… It was Christmastime, and I was drinking at a bar above the Roxy on Sunset Boulevard. There’s a bar above it, it’s called On the Rox. Get it? ‘Cause it’s on top… So, um… There’s all these office parties up there. Everyone’s getting plastered. And then below us in the Roxy, there’s a rock show going on. And everyone’s doing drugs and drinking. And then next door is the Rainbow Bar and Grill, a big heavy metal, headbanger bar, and they’re all getting wasted. And then 2:00 a.m. rolls around, “Everyone out in the parking lot. Get your cars. Bar’s closed.” So all three venues let out at the same time. Drunk office workers, drunk metal heads, drunk concert goers, all in a big drunken blob at 2:00 a.m. on Sunset Strip. So there’s a group of people, all in suits, clearly an office party. They’re waiting at valet to get their car, and one of the members of their group was this black guy who was 5’3″, and I can’t stress this enough, really wide. Just this round, roly-poly butterball, with a big, chubby, round face and his little fat chubby hands. He’s got a big cigar in his hand. He’s talking with his friends about stuff. And there they are chatting. Then out of the Rainbow Bar and Grill come these two big dudes. Good-looking dudes. Muscular dudes. Wearing suits, got the collar open, showing off the chest. One of the guy’s got a cowboy hat on and cowboy boots. The other guy’s Middle Eastern, got a gold chain. They look good. They had clearly gone out to get some pussy that night and no pussy had been got. And you could see the vibe coming off of them, which was, “We are gonna start a fight. I wanted… My skin’s gonna hit skin at one velocity or another tonight. I tried to go slow and easy.” So they’re coming out and they walk by this group of office workers. And the cowboy guy kind of deliberately bumps the black dude. He keeps walking, but he turns around and goes, “Hey, watch it,” to the guy. Black guys says… “Well, you watch it. I’m not moving. You’re moving. I don’t have to watch it.” The… The cowboy guy says, “What?” Now, had I been the black guy, my response would have been, “Oh, my God, I’m so completely in the wrong right now. Please let me apologize to you. I will watch it. You win. Don’t kill me.” But the black guy’s response was, “I said… I don’t have to watch it ’cause I’m not walking. You’re walking. You watch it.” The… The cowboy guy says, “That’s it motherfucker. Fucking boots are coming off.” And he kicks his boots off. I know.
Now this doesn’t happen enough in real life, but you ever… I love it when a whole group of strangers are hanging out, even people that wouldn’t normally be friends, and then a way bigger douche bag shows up. And just for a second, everyone’s friends, just reacting to the douche bag. Because suddenly total strangers are like, “Did he say he’s taking his boots off? You heard that? Okay. Whatever.” If there had been a Nation of Islam guy and a skinhead, they both would have gone, “Did he just say he’s taking off his boots? He said that, right? Okay. I thought I was going crazy.”
So… Now… the fucking cowboy guy is now barefoot on the pavement… snaking in on this dude, the short 5’3″, wide, chubby black guy. He looked good doing it. I think this guy fucking knows kung fu. And he’s fucking moving in. He’s gonna fuck… The black guy is not reacting. He’s just standing there with his cigar, watching the guy move in. The cowboy guy gets right up on him, gets his hands on the black guy’s lapel. And then the black guy… He didn’t put his cigar down to do this, which haunts me till this day. Cowboy’s got his hands around his lapel, and the black guy just… picked him up. And when I say picked him up, I don’t mean he went like… I mean, vroom, off his feet. It took that much effort. The guy… He was holding the guy over his head, and then he immediately dropped him.
Now, the… The cowboy guy’s evening in his mind did not include being lifted up over someone’s head, so he only fell five feet, but he absolutely did not break his fall in any way. Everything hit, like, nose, chin, knees… just blam on the asphalt. And then blood. And he was clearly so much pain that his brain was like, “We’re not gonna process this. Why don’t you just stand up.” And so he immediately gets up, he’s like… He’s still trying to motherfuck the guy, “Fuck you. Come on, man!” But he’s just barely standing, he’s in so much… And to his credit, his friend, the Middle Eastern guy, was, “Ah, we’re good. Thank you.” And grabbed the guys boots. “Let’s get you in a cab, buddy.” His friend was immediately sober. “We’ll get you a cab and go right home.” Pushes his friend in a cab and they ride off.
And now I cannot take my eyes off this black guy. By the way, when they left, the black guy just turned to his friends, “So, are we bringing in muffins on Monday for the Christmas party or what are we… ” Like never even again mentioned what had just happened. So, I can’t take… I’m like, “What the fuck did I see? What is this?” It took me a while looking at the guy, and I realize, “Oh, he’s a powerlifter.” ‘Cause real powerlifters, the serious ones, their bodies, they look like these little chubby guys. It’s like their torso turns into a bicep. It’s just one lifting… It’s like a bicep with a dick and legs. And that’s his… that’s his one move, just lift and drop. Like if… Like, “What was your favorite fight you’ve ever seen, Patton?” “It was like a Street Fighter video game. It was, like, lift and fatality. Like that was the whole… “
Oh, okay. Speaking of thinking I’m going crazy… and I’ve said this a few times… and audience members are going, “Yeah, that’s happened too.” So it’s not just happening to me, but… Okay, before I say this, you all have gotten robocalls, where you pick up the phone, “How would you like an exciting time-share?” Oh, fuck it, and you just hang up. It was a goddamn robocall. But I’ve gotten a couple of calls recently where I pick up the phone and it’s a woman’s voice, and she’ll go, “Hey, how you doing?” I’m like, “I’m good.” Then she goes, “So I wonder… Hang on, something’s wrong with my headset.” And she’ll adjust her headset. Okay, so it’s not just me. And then I’ll go, “Oh, that’s okay.” And then she’ll start talking and it’s just a recorded pitch for a… The whole thing is a recording, including the, “Something’s wrong with my headset.” And three different times I’ve gone, “That’s okay.” And then they go into their stupid pitch. And then when I hang up, I’m like, “You motherfucker.” Like I’m so angry, “I’m gonna burn your building down if I figure out… ” ‘Cause they just tricked me and I’m so angry. Also it makes me… First I’m angry ’cause they tricked me. Second, I’m angry because what that means is some robocall company had a meeting and said, “We can’t just have them pick up the phone and the guys goes, ‘Would you like a’- We gotta add a little zest and pizzazz to hook ’em, then they’ll listen to the whole thing, and the idea… it means they… ” And they found some failed screenwriter, out-of-work playwright, and the idea that the man or woman came up with and got paid for, the level of drama they came up with was, “Oh, let me just adjust my headset.” That’s as far as they went. If you, okay, if you’ve already committed to just completely bullshitting me on a robocall, entertain me, just go for it. When I pick up that phone, like, “Hello,” I should hear like, “He’s stabbing me. Oh, God, I’m… I’m bleeding out. I saw… He’s killing everyone in the office. I’m hiding. Please listen. I promised my son when I left today I would sell one time-share in Boca Raton. If you could just please… Oh, God, please just hit ‘two’ on your phone.” Pick up the phone, “They’ve launched the missiles! They emptied all the silos! The only safe place is Sandy Cove in Monterey, California. Press ‘two’ to hear about an exciting new offer! You need to repopulate the earth!”
Let’s meet my front row. Hi. – Do you live in Chicago? – I do. – What do you do in Chicago? – Um, I do public relations. What was the last thing you had to public relate? Uh… I work for a credit union. Ooh, a credit union. What a… the fucking exciting, glitzy world of PR. “Could you try to tell people that our 3.9 spread rate has now gone down to 3.6 percent? And… if you could add a little zhoosh and sparkle to it, that would be fantastic.” You’re sitting there with… All right. So, you… What did you need to relate to the public about this credit union? Uh, we have a new credit card. A new credit card! And how did you make that exciting? I don’t know that I did. Oh, my God! Wow! I… She literally just went, “I think I failed. I don’t think I made… I don’t think I did it.” You said that like you literally realized it that moment. It wasn’t till I brought it up to you, you’re like, “I failed it. Oh, my God! They depended on me! That was their exciting new card and I told people it was made out of shit. What was I thinking?” You didn’t make it exciting. What was the… What was your biggest success so far as a PR person? What’s the thing that you related the fuck out of to the public? What do you consider… What do you consider your Sgt. Peppers in the PR world, so far? Oh, gosh. Oh. Is it too many to name, or has it been a string of disasters? Am I talking to the worst PR person in the Windy City? Probably. Really? You’re laughing a little too confidently at that, “I think he might be.” “He might just be. That’s right. I… This is funny. I destroy lives. That’s what I… ” What would be a thing you would say, like, “Fuck, I really nailed that one.” I… Oh, my God, this is depressing. There’s, like, nothing here. My prior job, I worked for a labor union. You worked for a labor union, and you said, “No, man, I gotta rock and roll this shit up and start working PR.” You’re depressing the fuck… This is awful. I’ve like… I’ve made someone realize they’ve made a horrible mistake in their life. This is a terrible way to start off crowd work. Now the whole front’s going, “Please don’t talk to me. I-I actually like my life. Please don’t ask me what I do. Don’t make me question my existence.”
Let me go destroy someone else. I’ll be right back. – Hi! Do you live in Chicago, sir? – I do. – In the city? – Yes. – What do you do in the city? – I work in construction. In construction. Do you actually build with your hands? Are you the guy going, “We need a load of steel for the… ” You’re like… You’re the guy in the trailer, right, making calls? – “Yeah, you guys are good.” – So you’re the guy like… “You guys go up there with your little hard hats and… ” Smart. Very good. But hang on, did you have to work your… Did you have to earn the trailer, or did you start off in the trailer? Will you ever work walking the high steel? – Not once. No. – Never. You fuckin’ college puke! What the hell do you know about a guy with his lunch pail up 80 stories, watching his best friend fall into a bucket of hot rivets? Just got all blue-collar. I’ve literally never done any physical labor in my life. Do you get guys on the site just going, “You never… ” Like, is that a plus or a minus that you’ve never actually been up on the site or they don’t give a shit? – They might have a chip on their shoulder. – A little chip on their shoulder. That’s right. It’s fuckin’ Bruce… They’re Bruce Springsteen and you’re Radiohead, man. They don’t… You know what I mean? They’re out there born to run, and you’re, “Oh, androids and depression.” Ooh! Did you study construction in college, or how did you get into construction? – Civil engineering. – Civil engineering. You college puke. Look at you! What do you know from a book? I’m sorry. I’m sorry. What was the latest project you helped construct? – The Obama Center. – Oh, the Obama Center! Nice! Good! Thank God. What is it? Is it gonna be a giant brick building in the shape of the words “miss me,” or, like, how is that gonna…? When you say Obama Center, is it like his library or like more of a thing… or is it like a… What happens at the Obama Center? – It’s a museum. – Mm-hmm. It’s an interactive space and like a library as well. Wow. And you have the last cubic inch of hope under glass in there, right? You have the last cubic inch of optimism that you have under a little light. You’re only allowed to look at it for just a second. They just, “No, that’s it. No, move, move, move. Don’t touch!” Wow. I don’t know if I can follow Obama Center, but I’m gonna talk to one more person. Let’s see what happens. First, I made a PR person question their life. Then I talked to the guy that’s building the Obama Center.
Now let’s talk to a child pornographer. Let’s see… Let’s take this right into the fucking toilet. How about you with the cool glasses? Hi, sir. Do you live in Chicago? You live in… Cool. You live in the actual city. – Yeah. – What do you do in the city? – I’m a comedy writer. – You’re a comedy writer. Oh, this is gonna be death. All right, um… Sorry. When you say… you’re a comedy writer, who do you work for? – The Onion. – Oh, The Onion. Well, I’m not talking… You put on this event. I can’t… This is like talking to the boss at the Christmas party. “Hey, let’s bring him up here, guys. This is good. This guy’s nutty. Come on, let’s see what he has to say.” How does it… You write for the A.V. Club or the actual Onion website? Uh, The Onion, the satirical part. The satirical part? How does… Sorry. How does the Whiplash feel watching reality just pissing all over satire every day? Like, how do you even… How many… How much… How many cubic feet of coke are snorted in the offices every day at this point? I mean, it’s got to be nuts. How are you guys coping? I think pretty good. – Pretty good? – Yeah. You know it’s just gonna get more and more insane. Like, you don’t know… Oh, fuck, dude, I actually feel weirdly bad for you. You know what you could use? Some good PR. Let me introduce you to this… There you go. You call her. There you go. That’s right. Call her. Let her fail you. That’s all I ask. Then for relief, go to the Obama Center. Both you guys, meet at the Obam… You two meet at the Obama Center. And you’re like, “We’re having an iron… You have an ‘irony’ deficiency.”
Stupid. Oh! Yes. I’m just killing time. This next section is very hard for me to get into. But it was really nice… That was a fascinating front row. Wow. Thank you, guys. Thank you so much. That was… So… The, uh… Just over a year ago, um, I became a widower. And, uh, I have… I’m moving along as best I can. It is, you know… I can get up and I can do my job. I can be a dad. But, uh, it’s not, you know… it’s still… The wound is there. It is healing. It’s not shut yet. And, uh… Ooh, by the way, if one more person wishes me strength on my healing journey, I’m gonna throw a balloon full of piss into every candle store on the planet, because… it’s… It is not a healing journey. Uh, and calling it a healing journey makes it harder, by the way. When I’m… When it’s 4:00 a.m. and I’m in the backyard crying, and looking at the sky in my underwear, uh, you know, it doesn’t feel… I’m like, “I think I’m fucking up my healing journey right now.” If they would call it a “numb slog,” then I could at least go, “I’m nailing it. All right. I’m… right where I need to be on my “numb slog.” And also, it… There’s no sense to it. It doesn’t have… And that was my, you know… my… My wife was a true-crime writer and researcher, and the phrase she hated the most was, “You know, everything happens for a reason.” She’s like, “No, it fuckin’ doesn’t. It’s chaos. It’s all random. And it’s horrifying. And if you want to try to reduce the horror and reduce the chaos, be kind, that’s all you can do. It’s chaos. Be kind.” She would just say that all the… “It’s chaos. Be kind.” Now… I would always… We’d have these huge philosophical arguments where I was like, “I don’t believe in an intelligent creator, per se. I think that there might be a lattice work of logic and meaning to the universe that maybe we’re too small to see.” And she was like, “Sweetie, it’s all random. It’s all chaos. It’s chaos. Be kind. It’s chaos. Be kind.” And we would go back and forth. And then she won the argument in the shittiest way possible! And if there is some intelligence up there with a plan, then his or her or its plan sucks. If part of the plan was looking at me and Michelle as a couple, and go, “Well, I gotta take one of them. Now, let me see. She investigates cold cases and tries to bring a sense of relief and sense to bereaved families. And, uh, he talks about his dick in front of drunks. Now, who… should I take off the planet right now?” That’s like looking down and seeing, like, Louis Pasteur and the guy who fluffs the donkey at the Tijuana fuck show. And you’re like, “Well… those donkey dicks aren’t gonna get hard on their own. I gotta… Someone’s gonna invent pasteurization eventually.”
And then everything failed me. Everything. Pop culture. All this shit, all my little escape routes that I used to go to for comfort… comic books, science fiction, film, literature… all that stuff immediately failed me. Especially superheroes in comic books. Out the window. Every superhero, all these action heroes I worship, it’s always… it’s always a widower, someone who has lost a wife or a child or their whole family. And they do the thing that everyone does the minute you lose a loved one. You know what I’m talking about, CrossFit and martial arts. That’s the first thing you do. You get really cut. I mean, look, that’s what I did, guys. I got right super into Taekwondo. Look, the… And by the way, all these guys… They have the Batman and the John Wicks of the world. Uh, they’re always shown, like, standing over their wife’s grave, at night, in the rain, in a trench coat, looking grim and focused. And that’s… Cemeteries close at 6:00. I know this. That’s bullshit. If they’re doing that, that means they climbed over the fence like an asshole. There was some guy in the security hut looking at the monitor, “There’s that douche bag climbing over the gate again. We’re open nine hours a day. I don’t know why he comes here at night. Stand there with that Offspring song playing.”
Batman especially. Batman can go fuck himself. That guy… His… He’s nine years old, his parents are gunned down in front of him, and he travels the world becoming this superpowered ninja, fighting… What the… At best, at best, Bruce Wayne would have grown up to be Gotham City’s most annoying slam poet. That is the best he would have become. That’s the best… He would have been one of those trust fund… He would have been a fat vegan, I know that. He would have been a fat vegan. You ever see a fat vegan? – “I thought you said you were a vegan?” – “You know, Oreos don’t have any anim… ” All right, fuck you right… He’d be on stage with his poems, “Bang, bang, in the alley.” Everyone, “Boo!”
Second worst day of my life… was the day that my wife passed away. That is the second worst day of my life. The worst day of my life was the day after when I had to tell our daughter. Uh, my wife passed away while she was at school, so in between screaming and vomiting and freaking out, I talked to the school and told them what happened and what do I do. And the principal talked to me. She was amazing and said, “She can’t come home from school and then you tell her and then she has to go to bed. You can’t, like… Oh, you know… You can’t send her off into sleep and that trauma’s just hit her. Tomorrow’s Friday. Keep her out of school. Have a fun daddy-daughter morning. Then at noon, tell her and then be there with her while she works through it. It’s gonna be horrible, but just be there. Give her the day. Do it… ” She said, “Tell her in the sunshine.” That’s how she put it. So we did it. In the morning, we went and had fun. And then, uh… I sat down… with my daughter, and I looked… I looked at my daughter and destroyed her world. I had to look at this little girl that was everything to me and take everything from her. And I’ve… That… That I… That’s gonna be longer for me to recover from than my wife passing away. It was horrifying. And hours and hours later, after crying and holding her, you know, and I said, “Whatever you need to do, I will do it. If you don’t wanna go to school for a month, you don’t have to go. If you wanna… We’ll travel anywhere. I’ll stay here with you. You know, I canceled everything. I just wanna be… ” And then after she calmed down, she said, “I wanna go to school on Monday. I wanna go to school on Monday.” I realized what she was saying is, “I want some normalcy. If my mom were here, I’d be going to school on Monday, so I’m gonna go to school on Monday. Even if it’s an illusion, I’m gonna grab a little bit of that.” And I go, “I will take you to school on Monday. We’re going. We’re gonna go, okay?” And Monday morning rolls around and I’m bringing her to school. And now, I haven’t slept in four days and I’m bringing my daughter to school. So, as we’re walking up, it looked like a junkie had found a kid. And was just, “She said the grown-ups get free apple slices. Is that true?” So… He, um… And I’m on the edge of hallucination at this point, from grief and sleeplessness. All of her little friends who have been told over the weekend what happened and the parents sat down with them, these adorable six- and seven-year-olds are coming up and firing questions at me. Not meaning to be mean, they have no filter. They’re little kids. So, I’m surrounded by these adorable faces saying, “When Alice’s mom died, were you sad?” Like, just kind of melting, “Yes, I was sad.” “It’s great to talk to children.”
A couple of her friends, without meaning to, let slip a little too much about their home lives, though, in their questions, which was kind of interesting. “Is Alice gonna have a stepmom?” “I’m not really thinking about that right now. I don’t know.” “Because when my mom and dad stopped living together, I had a stepmom right away.” “I bet you did. Is she teaching you Russian right now, because… I bet she’s not teaching your mom pilates anymore.”
All right. We got through the summer, which was it’s own nightmare. And then first day of first grade, which I had to do alone. Normally my wife would go online and fill out the forms. I was like, “I can’t. How am I gonna… ” And I somehow did it. And I’m walking her up to first grade, and I’m like, “I can’t believe I actually… There’s lunch in her lunch box. She has a backpack. I got her new clothes. Okay. Maybe I can do this?” Um, but it also hit me as I’m walking her up there. I had not visited my wife’s grave since the funeral. I couldn’t. I just couldn’t bear to go there. And I’m like, “You know what. Goddamn it. I’m gonna visit Michelle’s grave and I’m gonna sit and talk with her and I’m gonna say, ‘This world need not concern you anymore. I’ve got it. You go do whatever you have to do. You’re not gone because I see so much of you in Alice, and I will keep that healthy and happy and growing. That’s my job now.'” And I was gonna tell her all of that, so I go to the cemetery. 10:00 in the morning. Clear blue… It was beautiful out. There’s a little bench near the headstone and I’m sitting there and I’m about to start talking, telling her this, “This world may not concern you.” Thirty feet this way… there’s an Armenian family having a screaming argument with each other. And their daughter is, like, this teen Goth girl, who’s walk… I don’t know what this meant, by the way. She kept pointing to random parts of the ground, and the father would just go, “No!” Then… seventy feet straight in front of me, there’s an adorable Chinese family all sitting in beach chairs, eating pizza at a headstone. And they have a boom box and they are blaring Céline Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On.” Blaring. Except there’s no real bass, it’s all treble, so it sounds like it’s being performed on a dentist drill, like it’s so… And I’m sitting there trying to go, like, “Uh, this world may not exist… ” “No!” “You go… I see so much of you in… ” “No!” Finally I was, “You’re a ghost. Just fly behind me in the fucking car. I’ll talk to you there. I can’t… This is insane.” Now I know why superheroes come here at night. I get it. Okay. I-I’m sorry, Batman. You were right. You were right.
The most fucked-up part of grieving, and this doesn’t happen as much as it did in the first few months, but it still happens… And they don’t talk about this in my grief group or in the grief books… are the days where you very seriously have hours where you think, “Hey, maybe I’m the one that’s dead.” What if I died and the horror of my body dying was too much for my brain to accept, so my brain has invented this fantasy world of the next worse thing. Which would be my… And by the way, beyond my wife passing away, which is horrible, there’s also really horrific evidence around me that I might be dead and imagining this hell… based on what the fuck is going on around me right now… in the world, like this is… If my mind were to invent a hellscape, it would kind of look like this. I mean, is this… I mean… The flying Razor Bats with the three-headed genitals haven’t showed up yet, but… if they do, someone confirm that they’re there is all I’m asking.
Oh, the other awful thing… about when my wife passed away was that two weeks after she died, it was the week leading up to Mother’s Day, which… And I’m like, “Oh, my gosh.” I called the school and they said, “Oh, you can’t bring her to school. She’s gotta go out of school this week. You gotta take her out of town. It’s too soon. Go do something fun.” And my wife is from Chicago, so her whole family still lives here. I have this amazing network of… It’s a gigantic Irish brood and they’re fantastic. My daughter has all these amazing cousins and aunts, so I said, “We’re going to Chicago all week, and you’re gonna have adventures and running around.” And we did. It was fun. Museums and parks and sleepovers and all kinds of nuttiness. And she had such a good time, and I kept her mind off of Mother’s Day. I fuckin’ did it. I got to that Sunday, Mother’s Day itself, where I’m, like, “I’m gonna spend Mother’s Day, we’ll be at the airport and we’ll travel. And I’ll make that day really fun and I’ll fill that with adventure. I’ll keep her mind off it all day. We’ll be home, and we’ll deal with this all again next year step-by-step.”
Now we’re at the airport, we’re walking up to the security gate, I’m like, “I think I pulled this off. Here, sweetie, here’s your ticket. Give her your… ” She loved to hand up her ticket. “Here it is.” Said, “Here’s your ticket.” She gives the gate lady her ticket. I give the gate lady my ticket. She’s a very old, sweet Polish woman, and we’re walking onto the plane. Just as we’re about to go down the tunnel, her hand falls on my shoulder and she says, “I hear what happened to your wife.” She looks at Alice, “To your mother, to be without your mother on Mother’s Day. I-I… My mother died when I was your age. I never get over it. I never… I’m still so sad. My father never get over it. It broke him. He died alone. But when you are sad, what I tell myself is that also there are so many other sad people. Okay, have nice flight.” We get on the plane and Alice is crying, I’m crying. It was just this nightmare. And, you know, ever since then, every major holiday, I live in fear that this Polish woman of doom is just gonna… fuckin’ rear up and just ruin…
Like Halloween this year, we went trick-or-treating. Every door I knocked on, I thought it would open up, “Little girl! Oh! Halloween without my mother! It is the saddest thing. Everyone that’s dressed as a ghost, I want to look under the sheet. Are you my mother under the sheet? They never are. My mother is never under the sheet. Here is some candy from my country. It is made from birch bark and ink. It is called ‘don’t’! Oh, little girl!”
Take her… This is funny. Take her to the mall at Christmas. Put her on Santa’s lap, beard comes off, “It is me! Oh! Christmas without my mother is the saddest thing in the world. Don’t you agree? Every stocking is hung by the chimney with tragedy! There will never be a walnut or a tangerine in the toe. Oh, little girl! The loneliness pushed my father into a spectrum of sexuality called beyond gay. Little girl!”
Fuckin’… Arbor Day. “I’m in the tree.” All right, okay, fine. Now goddamn it. Yes, Arbor Day without my mother. Jesus Christ.
Halloween especially. That’s my daughter’s favorite holiday. Mine too. We love Halloween. And this… one of the things… My daughter is friends with this really sweet girl who goes to a painfully progressive elementary school in Los Feliz. They’re very nice, but it’s a little much. It’s a little… “Hey, we don’t have any walls here, man. And, uh… Like, we don’t give out A’s or F’s. Like, instead of an A, we give out a drawing of a pomegranate. And instead of an F, it’s a picture of a smiling, frowning, possum. And then we try to ask, ‘How could you make the possum not frown?’ And we have… ” Oh, shut the fuck…
But… they do do a really cool Halloween carnival every year. And the kids put it on, so it’s very, very handmade and charming. And my favorite part is, they do this haunted house. And the kids put on the haunted house, so it’s very, very basic. It’s just… They make a maze with garbage bags. You go down the maze and a ghost goes, “Boo!” Then there’s… And my daughter loves it, even though she’s terrified. Like, she wants to go in, and then I carry her and she hides her face. And she’s hiding her face, but then I hear her laughing. And I’ve been taking her since she was three. Um, this past year… some of the adults decided to help out on the haunted house, so me and Alice and a bunch of other kids, we go into the haunted house, and the first thing that happens is a woman dressed as a witch pops out and says, “I’ve killed Harry Potter!” And all of the kids go, “Whaa!” Immediately start crying. And then the witch realized, like, “No, but he’s not really dead. He used an amulet to trick me. You’ll see at the end. There’s a story if you go through the maze. You’ll see… ” So they decided to add a fucking story element, which you can’t do in a haunted house. It’s just shit popping out. There’s a werewolf and a ghost and… Instead, we went into a room and then adults came out and just pitched us shitty movie sequels. That was the haunted house. The house of shitty movie sequels. “What if the Titanic didn’t sink? Now follow me on this. If the… ” And I was bummed out because that haunted house, the first time I took Alice when she was three, I saw one of the scariest things I have ever seen. And I go to some of those professional, you know, “It’s the massacre corn maze,” or some kind of… This was put on by kindergartners and it scared… Okay, so again, we’re going through the maze, and a ghost pops out and a witch… And so the last corner that you turn, there’s a long hallway, at the end of the hallway is the exit. So when I turn the corner, at the end of this long hallway, there’s a single red lightbulb. And underneath the lightbulb, a kindergartner had gotten lost. And the kindergartner was wearing an adult monster mask that’s on him at this crazy tilt. So, I’m just holding Alice, and at this point, I’m being the dad, like, “Whoa, there goes the witch. Oh, look at the ghosts. Here we go.” I turn the corner and I see this thing at the end of the hall, just this little like… I almost shit my pants off. Like, “Boom!” I’ve never… Holy fuck, it was so unnerving just this shape. Even the werewolf popped out, I’m like, “Get out of here. There’s a real demon right there.” I have friends who run professional haunted houses. Save your money. Get a bunch of kids, fill them with Skittles. Put adult monster masks on. Let them wander around. The feces fumes coming off… of your thing will replenish the ozone layer.
I’m pitching movies. Still pitching movies every now and then. I still do it. I wanna write a movie and get it made. That’s one of my dreams. But I wanna be… But I wanna be like… I wanna write something original and new, and there’s nothing more demoralizing than pitching a movie, because you will always reference other movies when you pitch a movie. And you feel so uncreative when you do it. Like, “So, at the beginning, uh, the office, I want the same kind of energy as The Newsroom and All the President’s Men. With all the background dialogue.” You’re like, “I’m a fucking idiot.” So just once, I would love to go in and pitch a children’s movie, like a G-rated movie, but only reference hard-core porn when I’m describing the scene, as if everyone in the room has seen it. So, I’m like, “Oh, yeah, this is gonna be a really fun movie. Um, I love the first We Love Ice Cream movies. Uh, so this is We Love Ice Cream 4. And what I wanna have happen is… So, remember the little kid in We Love Ice Cream, the first one? Now he’s grown up and he’s going to college. He doesn’t wanna run the old ice-cream shop. He’s got all these dreams. He wants to get out there in the world and do it. Um, but then his dad has that stroke, and he’s like, ‘Oh, my gosh, do I just let the ice-cream store close or do I go out and follow the dream I wanna do.’ We’re gonna have that moment in the first act where he decides, ‘Yes, I’m gonna run this ice-cream store.’ And I want that kind of… Remember in Marines Don’t Kiss, where’s she’s getting… she’s blowing the dude and the other dude is underneath her and he’s fucking her. Then the third guy wants to ass-fuck her and fill all of her holes, right? And you could see it in their face, ‘Yeah, fuck me in the ass.’ Like that same confidence of that I’m gonna… as in that scene, yeah. That will propel us into the second act when all these bills are piling up, and he just, ‘My God. How am I gonna keep the store open? And my career is going away. There’s no way I can pay for all this. And it’s just gonna be this burden, just this huge… ‘ Remember in Yank My Doodle, It’s a Dandy, when… the, um, all the guys are just jerking off on her back. She’s on all fours in the hotel room and then… But you can tell like, ’cause she just has that lake of cum on her back, so just… I want him to have that, just feel that same burden as the lake of cum that’s on her back. ‘How will I run this ice-cream store?’ You know like that. ‘Oh, my gosh.’ Um, but then, and then ironically in the third act, we find out that the stained glass window on the second floor of the family home is actually this priceless heirloom worth like half a million dollars. That’s gonna pay off the mortgage and help him hire people so he can… So ironically, the whole solution was there right in the opening scene. It was there right from the beginning. Like, remember Hungry White Asses Filled with Angry Black Dicks, Part 4? No, no, part… I’m sorry. I’m so stupid, Part 3, when she gets hired to find the guy with the question-mark-shaped mole at the base of his cock, and she sucks off everybody. She sucks off the delivery guy, the pool boy, the pizza guy. Just dick, dick, dick. Suck, suck, suck. Just fucking every direction. Just dicks going into her mouth. And then, oh, it was the fucking guy that hired her in the beginning. So, they come full circle. It’s that, you know, like… And you feel that same relief of, ‘Oh, that was the dick right there.’ You want me to write up a treatment? I think it sounds really fun. No? We could… ” That’s a weird bit to end this set on, isn’t it? That was a bit I was always working on and I could never make it work. And it always cracked Michelle up because she loved shit that was so filthy and rude and goofy like that. And right now, I’m still wounded and I’m healing, but there’s people out there, especially the people in power. I’m sorry to get… I’ll leave you with this. There’s people that wanna create wounds that will not heal. That’s the turn-on for them, so just… I’m just gonna end this by quoting Michelle Eileen McNamara, “It’s chaos. Be kind.” Thank you. Good night.