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Case Number 23813: Small Claims Court

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Patton Oswalt: Finest Hour

Comedy Central // 2011 // 67 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // May 12th, 2012

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All Rise...

Judge Patrick Naugle's forthcoming comedy special is titled, "I Am Not My Brother."

The Charge

Funny isn't always pretty.

The Case

Patton Oswalt is something of a cult figure in stand-up comedy, having come into his own as someone who focuses on geeky stuff (sci-fi movies, being a nerd), but his delivery works for anyone who's a fan of succumbing to fits of laughter. Patton Oswalt: Finest Hour is the diminutive comedian's newest stand-up special, a sprawling hour of riffing on everything from Spam museums to sweatpants and everything in-between. Even the Kentucky Fried Chicken "Famous Bowls" aren't immune to Oswalt's onslaught of quips, observations, and witticisms.

If you can believe it, this is the first time I've ever seen Patton Oswalt perform stand-up. The actor/comedian has certainly been on my radar for a long time, having surfaced on my TV (The King of Queens) and in movies (Big Fan, Young Adult, A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas). As an actor, I've found him an amusing sadsack, sort of a cross between a basset hound and really smart turtle. I was excited to finally get a chance to see Oswalt in his natural element on stage. Thankfully, he didn't disappoint. Patton Oswalt: Finest Hour is chock full of skewed takes on subjects that are often universal in nature.

Have you ever gone out in public wearing sweatpants? After having kids, Oswalt finally understands your pain. They are comfortable, so why wouldn't you wear them? Case closed. His newfound fatherhood status has provided him with a tremendous insight into raising a child ("Your parents loved you and they completely screwed up."). My personal favorite moments are Patton discussing the horribleness of the circus: animals kept against their will, giant lonely tents, and the sheer terror of—you guessed it—clowns. "You realize," Patton observes with a keen sense of snark, "that clowns are just transvestites that didn't know where to stop."

It's mighty difficult to review a stand-up special, because so much of what makes comedy funny is delivery and timing, which Oswalt has mastered perfectly. He knows where to lead with inflection or hold back and offer a look of amused befuddlement. And his slightly gooberish look serves him well; he comes off as a guy who understands how life operates better than most, because he's had a little more time to observe it from the outside looking in.

Presented in standard definition 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, the transfer looks very good with colors and black levels all sharply displayed. Since this is nothing more than one guy walking around a stage, there isn't a lot of pizzazz to the image, and it does what's required. The Dolby 5.1 Surround and Dolby 2.0 Stereo mixes offer nothing overly impressive, except for a few moments of audience applause or laughter, which is all very front heavy. Bonus features include an encore about those infamous KFC Bowls, some pre-show superstitions Oswalt indulges in, and a featurette titled "Stuff That Patton Mentions."

Over the years, I've become something of a connoisseur of comedy specials. From well known acts like Jerry Seinfeld to more obscure performers like Russell Peters and Jake Johannsen, one of life's little pleasures is discovering a new comedian to tickle your funny bone. I highly recommend Patton Oswalt: Finest Hour and am looking forward to checking out some of his early work…before being stuck on a lame sitcom with Kevin James.

The Verdict

A breezy, amusing hour of comedy.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 90

Perp Profile

Studio: Comedy Central
Video Formats:
• 1.85:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• None
Running Time: 67 Minutes
Release Year: 2011
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Comedy
• Performance

Distinguishing Marks

• Encore
• Featurettes


• IMDb
• Patton Oswalt

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