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Patton Oswalt - Finest Hour (Cover Artwork)

Patton Oswalt

Patton Oswalt: Finest HourFinest Hour (2011)
Comedy Central Records

Reviewer Rating: 4
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Contributed by: JeloneJelone
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Once at the forefront of what could be called nerd rage-style comedy, stand-up Patton Oswalt has gradually shed his pop cultural ironies in favor of studying human nature. Where he used to greet the world with cynicism, now he just laughs at all the little idiosyncrasies that make us human. Part of .
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Once at the forefront of what could be called nerd rage-style comedy, stand-up Patton Oswalt has gradually shed his pop cultural ironies in favor of studying human nature. Where he used to greet the world with cynicism, now he just laughs at all the little idiosyncrasies that make us human. Part of that transition has come with age; Oswalt also recently became a parent. But while these factors hampered Oswalt's 2009 record My Weakness is Strong, they boost his latest effort, Finest Hour.

Oswalt is the comedian who made me view stand-up as an art form. He's not the first comic I've ever loved (Dana Carvey) and he didn't release my first comedy CD ("Weird" Al Yankovic's Bad Hair Day), but his influence has set a benchmark for what I seek from joke tellers. Yes, I look for laughs just like everyone else, but following Oswalt through the random segues of his storytelling are just as fun as the punchlines. He is a bizarre sort of anecdotal comedian, and Finest Hour nearly lives up to its title.

For the most part, Finest Hour is hilarious. I thought for sure Louis C.K. had best comedy record of 2011 wrapped up, but I'm not sure anymore. On top of that, the differences between C.K. and Oswalt are narrowing. Both are sarcastic dads chronicling the ridiculous little events of existence. C.K. is just a lot darker, and that's what might give Oswalt an edge.

Here, Oswalt drops tale after tale with warmth, whether extolling the virtues of sweatpants once you have kids or breaking down romantic comedies ("Every movie should just be called Trying to Fuck"). Even when he drops the occasional critical evaluation, it's less a move towards anger than it is a plea for sanity. When Oswalt returns to/finishes his years-long condemnation of fast food in general and KFC in particular, he argues for a return to logic while still pointing out his own shortcomings. Finest Hour doesn't single anyone out, and in doing so pokes fun at humanity in general.

While Finest Hour is Oswalt's most mature record yet, it does sag in spots. Some of the stand-up is an exercise in squeezing out every last riff on a topic. Sometimes it pays off (an extended bit about singing to oneself in the car goes from funny to strange to funny), but sometimes it just goes to weird places for weirdness' sake without a real ending ("The Ham Incident"). Some bits get more applause than laughter (every comic's worst fear). But at 75 minutes, the set could be forgiven for dipping occasionally in quality. After all, this is Oswalt. The dude has been outshining other comics for years, partially because he takes chances on his jokes. After the somewhat middling results of Big Fan and Zombie Spaceship Wasteland, it's great to hear Oswalt get back to his strength: stand-up.


 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
KungPowza (December 24, 2011)

This album is decent, but Werewolves and Lollipops is my favorite comedy album of all time. Patton at his best, in my opinion.

rob_rob (December 20, 2011)

I never really liked him. Too many pop culture jokes.

skolarx (December 20, 2011)

Scratch that, I misread and thought you were saying that Bad Hair Day was your favorite comedy album. Still kinda scary that it was your first, I was a freshman in college when that came out

skolarx (December 20, 2011)

Bad Hair Day? Really?

Skibz777 (December 20, 2011)

This is...*almost* like music, I guess...

Sliced-T (December 20, 2011)

I liked this one more than My Weakness Is Strong. Sub-par Patton is better than what most comedians can put together for their finest hour.

eatdogs (December 20, 2011)

deathbed, the bed that eats people...

maverick (December 20, 2011)

"He's always good but this is his weakest one yet."

Yeah, this pretty much sums it up. Consider this his American Slangā??it's exactly what you want from this guy, but just a little less surprising and energetic.

-Scott

SydBarrett420 (December 20, 2011)

Shit comedian and shit actor, but not surprising that he gets play here

SilentStorms (December 20, 2011)

The religion bit is one of his best. Still trying to get into this, it's good, but I'm not sure if it's great.

sketchyjoe (December 20, 2011)

He's always good but this is his weakest one yet.

Scruffy (December 20, 2011)

I love this album, and Hilarious is great, too. But I think Mike Birbiglia's Sleepwalk With Me Live is the year's best comedy CD, hands down. It's a damn work of art.

mattramone (December 20, 2011)

This is way better than most comedy albums, but was still a huge letdown for me. I hate when standup comics have kids.

stagedivecity (December 20, 2011)

Zombie Spaceship Wasteland is the only book Iv'e ever read cover to cover without putting it down. Also this is good but nothing will ever be able to top Werewolves and Lollipops for me

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