In an eye-opening Patton Oswalt interview with The A.V. Club’s Genevieve Koski published on Wednesday, Oswalt speaks eloquently and at length about the differences between the creative atmospheres of Los Angeles and New York City.
The comedian, whose new Showtime special “Finest Hour” premieres on Sept. 5 and was last seen playing Tom Scharpling in a Scharpling-directed music video, has been living in New York for the summer shooting a TV show, but is looking forward to returning to his permanent home in California.
My first month [in New York], I was staying in the Lower East Side, because when I was here last year, I was up in the more boring, touristy part of Hellâs Kitchen. So then I told the people that are doing this TV show, âI gotta stay in the West Village, or I gotta stay in the Lower East Side. I want someplace real.â And then after a month in the Lower East Side, during the New York heat wave, I was like, âOkay, you know what? Iâm 42 years old. I think Iâm done. Iâve had enough of the âreal.â This wouldâve been great when I was 19, this is frigginâ horrible now.â I would open the doors to the hotel in the lobby, and even the two doormen would look back, like, âAll right, dude, here it comes,â and just this wave of garbage air would pummel you. It was like a shockwave of stink.
But that’s not to say that Oswalt finds the environment of New York to be detrimental to comedy. He uses two acclaimed current TV comedies as metaphors to describe how the two coasts and lifestyles influence different approaches to creativity.
I think the kind of person that gravitates toward New York is a person thatâs not so much focused on controlling exactly how they appear and how they exit. Theyâre more fascinated with the process. … A show like “Louie,” which is so goddamn brilliant, but it is so raw, it feels like a rough documentary sometimes. Itâs just life happening. And then a show like “Community,” which is equally brilliant — itâs by this guy, Dan Harmon, who was a transplant to L.A .– and itâs so brilliantly about people that are kind of sealed up in their own little pop-culture worlds.
Finally, here’s just a great, out-of-context pull quote from the interview.
So, if Nickelback wants to sing âPhotograph,â they decide to do that instead of forming a cult and killing people, itâs hard for me to get angry at that.
To read the rest of The A.V. Club’s interview with Oswalt in which he discusses upcoming projects, how his attitudes towards life and art have changed and much more, click over to The A.V. Club.
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