Patton Oswalt (born January 27, 1969) is an American actor, writer and stand-up comedian. In television, he is known for his role as Spence Olchin in the sitcom The King of Queens (1998–2007) and guest starring as the Koenigs on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2014–2020). After making his acting debut in the Seinfeld episode "The Couch," he has since appeared in a variety of television shows, including Kim Possible, Parks and Recreation, Community, Two and a Half Men, Drunk History, Reno 911!, Mystery Science Theater 3000, Archer, Veep, A.P. Bio and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. He currently narrates the sitcom The Goldbergs (2013–present) as adult Adam F. Goldberg.
Oswalt began performing stand-up comedy on July 18, 1988. After writing for MADtv and starring in his own 1996 comedy special for HBO, he went on to garner notable roles in films and television shows with his film debut coming in the 1996 military comedy film Down Periscope alongside Kelsey Grammer. His television debut was in the Seinfeld episode "The Couch." His most prominent and long-running role was as Spence Olchin on The King of Queens. His first starring film role was as the voice of Remy, the lead character in the 2007 Academy Award-winning Pixar film Ratatouille. He has also appeared in smaller roles in such films as Magnolia and 22 Jump Street.
Oswalt married true crime writer and journalist Michelle McNamara on September 24, 2005. They had one daughter together, Alice, born in April 2009.
Oswalt wrote the comic book story "JLA: Welcome to the Working Week," a backup story in Batman #600; a story for Dwight T. Albatross's The Goon Noir #01 and a story for Masks: Too Hot for TV. Expanding his voice artist repertoire, he began voicing the villainous character Tobey on PBS Kids GO! series WordGirl in 2007. He also appeared on the Comedy Central Roast of William Shatner. In August 2007, he appeared on the Comedy Central Roast of Flavor Flav. In 2007, he appeared on an episode of SpongeBob SquarePants, "The Original Fry Cook," as Jim. In 2008, Oswalt moderated a reunion panel of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 cast at the San Diego Comic-Con International.
In 2009, Oswalt played Paul Aufiero, the leading role in Robert D. Siegel's 2009 directorial debut, Big Fan. He was to star in a 2010 Broadway revival of Lips Together, Teeth Apart. However, the show was postponed then eventually canceled due to Megan Mullally's departure from the production when the director denied her request to replace Oswalt due to his lack of stage experience.
Oswalt's stand-up comedy covers topics ranging from pop culture frivolity, such as comic book supervillains and 1980s glam metal, to deeper social issues like American excess, materialism, foreign policy, and religion. He also discusses his atheism in his stand-up. On February 28, 2009, Oswalt recorded his third comedy album at the Lisner Auditorium at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. It premiered on Comedy Central as Patton Oswalt: My Weakness Is Strong on August 23, 2009 and was released on DVD August 25, 2009.
In November 2009, an animated video of Patton's take on New Song's Christmas Shoes was posted on YouTube. The track isn't found on any albums. The audio is claimed to be recorded at Lisner Auditorium in Washington DC.
In 2010, Oswalt emceed for BookExpo America, promoting his then-upcoming book Zombie Spaceship Wasteland and introducing the evening's panelists: Christopher Hitchens, William Gibson, and Sara Gruen. In 2011, Oswalt released Zombie Spaceship Wasteland.
Oswalt's album Patton Oswalt: Finest Hour was released on September 19, 2011. The extended and uncensored DVD of this special was released in April 2012, a few days after its television premiere on Comedy Central.
In November 2011, Oswalt played the role of Hurlan Heartshe in the surrealist comedy miniseries The Heart, She Holler on Cartoon Network's late-night programming block, Adult Swim. Also in November 2011, Oswalt appeared in A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas. In December 2011, Oswalt played Matt Freehauf in Jason Reitman's black comedy Young Adult. In 2012, he played Billy Stanhope, ex-best friend of Ashton Kutcher's Walden Schmidt on Two and a Half Men.
In 2013, he teamed up with PETA, spoke out against chaining pet dogs, and sent a letter to the mayor and members of the city council of Newport News, Virginia urging them to ban the practice.
As of September 2013, Oswalt narrates the TV series The Goldbergs. He also had a recurring role as Constable Bob Sweeney in the fourth season of the FX series Justified.
Oswalt's comedy special Tragedy Plus Comedy Equals Time was to be released on January 16, 2014, via online movie streaming website Epix, but was pushed back by the company for unknown reasons. However, it did premiere on Comedy Central on April 6, 2014, and became available for purchase on April 8, 2014, in both DVD and CD format.
In January 2015, Oswalt's memoir Silver Screen Fiend: Learning About Life from an Addiction to Film was published by Simon & Schuster. He also voiced the male version of Jesse in Minecraft: Story Mode, which was released in October 2015.
In November 2015, Oswalt was announced to be playing Max in the reboot of Mystery Science Theater 3000, as the son of Frank Conniff's character TV's Frank. The program premiered on Netflix in 2017.
On April 21, 2016, McNamara died in her sleep in the family's Los Angeles, California, home. Her death was attributed to a combination of a previously undiagnosed heart condition and complications from ingested medications (Adderall, Xanax, and Fentanyl). The season-three finale of The Goldbergs was dedicated to her memory.
Oswalt's comedy special Talking for Clapping was released on Netflix on April 22, 2016. For the album, Oswalt received a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special and a Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album.
On August 1, 2016, Oswalt announced that he had been working to complete McNamara's nonfiction book on the Golden State Killer, which was left unfinished at the time of Michelle McNamara's death. In September 2017, Oswalt announced that the book, titled I'll Be Gone in the Dark, was scheduled for release on February 27, 2018, and was subsequently available for preorders. Less than two months after the book's release, on April 25, 2018, the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department announced they had made an arrest in the Golden State Killer case. Oswalt posted a brief video to Instagram, saying: "I think you got him, Michelle." He also posted on Twitter that same day, saying that he hoped to visit the suspect if he was indeed the Golden State Killer, "not to gloat or gawk - to ask him the questions that [McNamara] wanted answered in her 'Letter to an Old Man'" at the end of her book.
Also in 2017, lifelong film fan Oswalt provided the voice of horror icon Boris Karloff in several episodes of film critic Karina Longworth’s podcast You Must Remember This, for the season entitled “Bela and Boris.”
In July 2017 he and actress Meredith Salenger were confirmed to be engaged. They were married in November 2017.
Oswalt's comedy special Annihilation was released on Netflix on October 17, 2017.
Oswalt had a voice-over role in science fiction comedy film Sorry to Bother You, which was released in theaters on July 6, 2018.
On April 15, 2019, Oswalt joined a host of other writers in firing their agents as part of the WGA's stand against the ATA and the unfair practice of packaging.
In an episode of Hiking with Kevin Nealon on YouTube, posted November 14, 2019, Oswalt confirmed a new special, I Love Everything, recorded three weeks prior to the recording of the hike. It is currently airing on Netflix and was nominated for another Primetime Emmy Award.