Comedian Patton Oswalt announces his new Netflix stand up comedy special. In the past two years, Netflix has taken over as the leading distributor of specials by top-tier stand-up comedians. Numerous major comics, like Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock, Louis C.K., Jerry Seinfeld, Amy Schumer, and Norm Macdonald, have made Netflix the streaming home for their latest specials, even though most of them were previously associated with HBO or other outlets.
Another comedian who previously signed on with Netflix is Oswalt, but there’s a good chance the comedian's next special will be a bit different from all of the others, from a subject matter standpoint: It will deal with the sudden death last year of Oswalt's wife, author Michelle McNamara, and his transition into single-parenting their young daughter. Oswalt began performing comedy on the subject earlier this year, and now we know when the complete set will be available.
Oswalt’s latest special, Patton Oswalt: Annihilation, will debut on Netflix October 17, EW reported Monday. The special will deal with McNamara’s death, its aftermath and life as a single dad, as well as other subjects, including social media and politics. The special was filmed earlier this summer at Chicago’s Athenaeum Theatre.
Even the comedian made headlines with the recent announcement of his engagement to The Journey of Natty Gann actress Meredith Salenger, Oswalt had addressed the subject of his wife’s death in various media, from his Twitter feed to talk show appearances to lengthy magazine profiles. But the special will give him an opportunity to talk about it on stage, for a huge audience.
Oswalt is known for a lot of things: His frequent appearances, usually on geek-oriented movies and TV shows like the Mystery Science Theater 3000 revival and the animated Spider-man series, his prolific social media presence and political screeds known to alienate both left and right at different times, and his well-received nonfiction books, including Zombie Spaceship Wasteland and Silver Screen Fiend. But he’s always been a stand-up comedian first and foremost, and the special will be closely watched. Oswalt's previous Netflix special, Talking For Clapping, won both Emmy and Grammy awards.
The challenge will be to take such a sad and heartbreaking subject and make it funny, as well as poignant. But Oswalt has shown in the past that he can do that, and if he pulls it off, Annihilation could go down as the most significant Netflix special of the era.
Patton Oswalt: Annihilation will debut on Netflix October 17.