Comedian Patton Oswalt is returning to Bumbershoot this weekend for the sixth time. You can catch him (and friends!) at Bumbershoot on Saturday and Sunday, at 6:30 pm or on Monday at 6:45pm in the Bagley Theater. Here he talks feminism, the idols he never wants to meet, and why he'll never regret a joke he tells onstage.
After 20-plus years of doing comedy, are there jokes you've told that you wouldn't perform today?
That question doesn't make sense, and I'll tell you why: Jokes I told when I was younger were snaps of what I was like at that time. It's not a zero-sum game. I'm glad I'm able to look back and say, "That was immature, or that was too easy, or that was crass." So no, there are no jokes that I wish I hadn't done. And once I do a joke on an album, I never do it again anyway. So it's moot.
Are there any types of jokes that you hate—fart jokes, people walking into bars, anything else you'd rather never hear again?
It all depends on the teller and the message. I just like anything original and startling. I'm sick of tired approaches, but I'm never sick of subjects.
A friend of mine—a big fan—met you a few years ago and, as he tells it, was so nervous that all he could do was tell your own jokes to you. Is there anyone you admire that would turn you into a sweating, yammering robot?
A few years ago, I had the chance to meet Jonathan Winters. I turned it down because I didn't know what I'd say to him. If I met him, it'd be a waste of time. I'd be stammering. I wouldn't know what to do or say. Same with Elvis Costello. With certain people, it's like what's the point? It would waste the time of someone who's a hero to me.