Patton Oswalt on how essential comedy is for society in 2015

“I think it is the responsibility of comedians to remain as irresponsible as we can, in terms of mockery and language. Comedians, we’re not the guardians and we’re not the saviors but I think we are the safety valve. And so, we are there just saying the unsayable, saying the rude, saying the obnoxious, saying the funny and the smart, and we just need to be there as the id. When I was starting back in the late ‘80s, stand-up comedy was this very frivolous goofy – oh, you guys just make fun of, you know pop culture. And it’s just become very very clear over the past three decades that comedy is pretty fucking essential. If comedians are allowed – and should be allowed – to vent in the most even half-thought-out ways possible. They need to be big and loose and fun. Then our critics also should be allowed to be as kind of half-cocked and emotional and non-fact-based. It should all be big and sloppy. So as much as sometimes I fight with, I guess for lack of a better term, social justice warriors, or the extremes of the PC left, I’m glad that they’re there. Because especially, if just for selfish reasons, it proves that what comedians are doing is not disposable. It’s not unnecessary. It does have an effect, and I think a positive effect on society.”

Patton Oswalt, in the latest installment of Jessica Pilot’s series, “This Is Stand-Up,” for The Village Voice

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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