Published May 09, 2016Exclaim! is reviewing every standup comedy special currently available on Netflix Canada, including this one. You can find a complete list of reviews so far here.
Patton Oswalt's 2009 comedy special, My Weakness is Strong, can be looked at as his major label debut. After 2007's Werewolves and Lollipops gained a sizeable audience within the alternative comedy scene, the Virginia-born comedian decided to jump from Sub Pop to Warner Brothers.
But unlike many musicians in the same position, Oswalt sacrifices none of the fire and edginess that defined his early material. While, at the time, Patton was best known for his hilarious "KFC Sadness Bowl" bit, he courageously moves away from the social commentary/deconstruction and instead looks inward for his third special.
Patton's thematic and systematic change may be due to the fact that the 40-year-old had settled into family life while experiencing his first real taste of fame with his role as Remy in the Pixar film Ratatouille. That may be why Oswalt chooses to dedicate the first 20 minutes to stories based on his personal life, getting big laughs explaining how he imagines battling his nonplussed treadmill to lose weight, and talks about his need to reduce his Prozac and alcohol intake now that he's frequently recognized by children.
But My Weakness is Strong marks the beginning Oswalt's uniquely silly and poetic way of explaining the world around him, trading in enraged rants for a more light-hearted delivery. Recorded at the summit of President Obama's first term in office, the second half finds Oswalt delivering a bit of late night talk show hackery, tackling subjects that are now considered canonical, like Biden's unwieldiness, the absurdity of CNN's holograms and American racist's reaction to their first president of colour.
My Weakness is Strong represents Oswalt working his way through a stylistic transition — a recipe for disaster for your average comedian — and he possesses enough cognition to filter even the most domestic of subjects through his twisted worldview.