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The Bentzen Ball Preview: Patton Oswalt

To preview the upcoming Bentzen Ball, we’re interviewing several of the comedians who are performing at the festival. Today, we chat with Patton Oswalt

The standup-comedy favorite Patton Oswalt recently starred as a Giants-obsessed sports nut in Rob Siegel’s Big Fan and also appeared in Observe and Report and The Informant! He’s one of a slew of comedians coming to town for the Bentzen Ball comedy festival, October 22 through 25. Catch him on opening night with Todd Barry, Tig Notaro, Kyle Kinane, Ian Edwards, and Rory Scovel at 8 at the Lincoln Theatre. Tickets—for single shows or for weekend passes—are available here. We caught up with Oswalt to talk about other comedians in the Bentzen Ball, his obsessions in life, and the health-care crisis.

Read our interviews with Lizz Winstead and Tig Notaro here and here

How did you get involved in the Bentzen Ball? Why did you decide to become a part of it?
“Tig Notaro asked me, and I said yes.”

If you could pick any show to see at the Bentzen Ball, whose would it be?
“Patton Oswalt. I’d wonder why a guy who has my same name was doing standup.”

Any comedians you’d avoid?
“I don’t know that I’d consciously avoid anyone. Tig’s put together a really nice festival.”

Who’s a relatively unknown comic performing that you’re really excited about?
“Kyle Kinane. He’s amazing and deserves more exposure. I think he’s performing with me, actually.”

You’re doing a lot of films and television recently, including Big Fan, Caprica, and Dollhouse. Which do you like more: standup or film? Do you think you’re gravitating toward one or the other?
“There’s plenty of time to do both, so I’m saved from making a heartbreaking decision.”

Who are some of your influences or favorite comedians?
“Louis C.K., Todd Glass, and Jonathan Winters.”

What’s something that without fail will make you laugh?
“Farting. Wait—subtle satire. Actually, no—farting.”

Who’s the easiest kind of person for you to find comedic inspiration in?
“Someone’s who full of shit, realizes it, and doesn’t care.”

In your sports-nut persona in Big Fan and in your standup, obsession takes center stage. What’s something you’d admit to being obsessed with?
“I’ve never had to ‘admit’ my obsessions. Crime, food, love, and the apocalypse—they’re all front and center.”

You grew up in Sterling and started doing standup in Washington clubs while you were attending William & Mary. What’s it like to return to DC for this festival?
“It feels great. I taped my most recent album in DC in February.”

In Washington, we can’t get anywhere without talking about politics. How should we solve the health-care crisis?
“Kill every sick person.”

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