Patton Oswalt

On this date in 1969, Patton Oswalt was born in Portsmouth, Va. Oswalt began to perform stand-up comedy in the late 1980s, before graduating from the College of William and Mary in 1991. He became widely known after he starred in an HBO comedy special in 1996. He began to headline at comedy clubs nationwide and also started his career as an actor. From 1998 to 2007, Oswalt was a regular on the CBS show “The King of Queens,” playing the role of Spence. He has appeared in many small roles in movies, as a guest star on television shows including “Dollhouse” and “Nurse Jackie,” and done voice work for movies, television and video games. Notably, he voiced the main character, the rat Remy, in the 2007 Pixar film “Ratatouille.” He also starred in the 2009 live-action film “Big Fan.” His supporting role in “Young Adult” (2001) was nominated for several awards. Oswalt has also written for TV and film, as well as doing behind the scenes uncredited punch-up work on a variety of live-action comedy and animated film scripts. In 2005, Oswalt married writer Michelle McNamara. Their daughter Alice was born on April 15, 2009.

Oswalt is a self-described geek, who called a 2007 return to Dungeons and Dragons “a midlife crisis that doesn’t involve sports cars.” (Wired magazine.) Much of Oswalt’s comedic material addresses popular culture and his daily life, but he has been known to mock religion and religious believers. For example, his “Sky Cake” routine characterizes religion as a trick played by smart weak guys on big dumb guys. He describes himself as an atheist.

“My feelings on religion are starting to morph. I’m still very much an atheist, except that I don’t necessarily see religion as being a bad thing. . . . I’m almost saying certain people do better with religion, the way that certain rock stars do better if they’re shooting heroin.”

—Patton Oswalt

Compiled by Eleanor Wroblewski

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