A Night with Patton Oswalt: AMP Live hosts actor, alumni Patton Oswalt ’91 for a talk on his time at the College


Saturday, Apr. 3, AMP’s Live Committee hosted its latest event featuring award-winning comedian, writer and actor Patton Oswalt ’91. The virtual event, “A Night with Patton Oswalt,” was split into two question and answer portions, one for moderator questions and the latter for student attendee questions that were submitted prior to the event. Moderators Emily Peterson ’21 and Emily Riffer ’22 guided Oswalt through several questions revolving around his time as a student at the College of William and Mary. 

Like many students and alumni, the first thing Oswalt does when back in the Williamsburg area is to visit the Cheese Shop. His love and adoration for the Cheese Shop aside, during his time as a student, Oswalt’s preferred food establishment between Paul’s, Green Leaf, and the College Delly was Paul’s because he lacked the money for Green Leafe and the “brawn” for the College Delly.

“I know that’s what everyone does, but that’s their fault for making really good sandwiches!” Oswalt said. 

When asked if he had ever taken a class in the Sir Christopher Wren Building, Oswalt admitted that he had not, but was glad because after a study session with a friend there, he felt it was haunted. Oswalt claimed to not believe in ghosts, but the vibes of the Sir Christopher Wren Building creeped him out so much that the study session was the first and last time he went in.

During the student question and answer segment, one student had asked if Oswalt had ever snuck into any places on campus. Oswalt recalled that he had snuck into an event at the College Republicans Convention while covering it for The Flat Hat. He recounts the abundant amount of drinks the convention attendees had and how, in a state of tipsiness, he was almost able to blend in with the crowd until he accidentally blurted out the reason why he was there when questioned by someone. Oswalt was thankfully able to escape the convention but was unfortunately too hungover the next day to remember anything to write down.

When questioned if he had ever eaten ratatouille during his time voicing Remy in Pixar’s “Ratatouille,” Oswalt explained that he had tried the specific type of ratatouille featured in the movie. Oswalt joked that he probably wouldn’t be able to cook the iconic dish due to his ineptness as a cook.

Another attendee asked if Oswalt’s college experience had any impact on his comedic career. Oswalt shared that the initial start to his comedic career began at the local club on Richmond Road called The Comedy Club where he worked as the master of ceremonies. He credited that job experience for overcoming his fear of performing on stage and not completing his performances well. Oswalt also credited it for allowing him to meet future comedian friends such as Carlos Alazraqui. 

“I was very very lucky to encounter some really interesting people.” Oswalt said. “Their philosophies were that also just kept me open-minded in terms of how to pursue a creative career.”

Coincidentally, it was at that job that Oswalt overheard the worst advice given to another amateur comedian, when a club manager told him to structure his jokes and performance around popular ideas the audience already liked instead of his own opinions. 

“If you go into every situation dampening how you feel while trying to figure out what the other person wants, then that to me is not only a short-cut to failure but a short-cut to kind of an empty frustrating life,” Oswalt said.

“A Night with Patton Oswalt” proved to be an extremely interesting and humor-filled look into Patton Oswalt’s life as both your average college student, and as an experienced award-winning comedian. The event not only displayed how he fared in his journey from the suburbs of Sterling, Virginia to the diverse community of the College but also how his college days propelled his dreams of becoming a full-fledged comedian.



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