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Patton Oswalt On Coping With Humor After Wife’s Death

‘I’m like a bad 80’s sitcom’

Patton Oswalt is one of the funniest comedians alive, a talented actor and the author of two fantastic books. He’s also a widower after his wife died tragically this past year, passing away suddenly in her sleep on April 21.


Oswalt has been open about the grieving process after the passing of his wife, true crime writer Michelle McNamara. But now, he’s talking, and yes, joking about finding the beginnings of happiness, especially with his daughter.

In a must-see interview with Conan O’Brien, the 47-year-old said:

“I’m like a bad 80’s sitcom, where there’s a Mom who is raising the kid by herself. Except, my bad 80’s sitcom sucks. There’s no punchline. There’s just a lot of insomnia. There’s a lot of me eating Cheetos for dinner. I’m waiting for my daughter to turn to the camera and go, ‘No wonder I’m in therapy.’ But that moment’s not going to come.”

He also talked about how he and his 7-year-old daughter Alice process that grief differently. But it’s really Alice’s friends that have given Oswalt the most grief, and the best material to work with, in the five months since losing his wife.

“Literally three days after Michelle died, one of her friends came up to me and was like, ‘When Alice’s Mom died were you sad?’ And I was like, ‘Um, yes, I was. Thank you.’ Then, a few weeks later, another kid came up and asked, ‘Is Alice going to have a stepmom? … When my Mom and Dad stopped living together I had a stepmom right away.’ And I was like, ‘I bet you did. And I bet she’s teaching you Russian. And I bet she’s not teaching your Mom Pilates anymore.’”

He also tells a hilarious but gut wrenching anecdote about meeting a fan at the airport who had basically the worst approach possible in attempting to relate to him and his daughter about their grief. But that one is best to see for yourself.