Werewolves and Lollipops [CD/DVD]
Record Review by Adam McKibbin
Hardly content to be one of the foremost powers in the world of indie music, Sub Pop also has had designs on the world of hipster comedy, releasing albums by David Cross and, this year alone, Flight of the Conchords and Patton Oswalt. Oswalt’s Werewolves and Lollipops presents a stand-up who’s settled comfortably into his prime. Oswalt has had a successful 2007, playing the animated lead in the well-received Disney film Ratatouille and doubtlessly continuing to drown in residuals from The King of Queens. But it’s hard to imagine any of his other pursuits scratching the same itch as his stand-up routine, which allows him to poke fun at himself and tee off on the ridiculousness of the people and the world around him, from hometown rednecks to the Hollywood elite.
The main feature is a concert CD recorded in the Oswalt-friendly city of Austin, Texas (which the comic refers to as a “magical fairy bubble of sanity in the middle of just fucking shit”). A companion DVD presents a very similar set in a slightly rougher form, and feels largely regurgitory when taken in tandem with the CD, although diehards will be intrigued by being able to trace the evolution, plus there is a particularly amusing incident with an audience member that (thankfully) doesn’t recur. Like Cross, Oswalt’s style lends itself particularly well to the audio format, though, as he’s more vocally expressive than facially or physically expressive.
To reduce worldviews to clichés, Oswalt knows that the world is going to hell in a handbasket and the devil is in the details. So instead of broad-stroke attacks on Bush and Cheney - who he clearly loathes, but directly confronts only occasionally - he focuses his energies on people who are ruining the world in smaller and hilariously observed ways: Kentucky Fried Chicken, George Lucas, insane four-star chefs, dead-eyed parents, and, most memorably, a heckler who steps on a fleeting tender moment in Oswalt’s set and provokes a quickly escalating series of insults that concludes with the kiss-off “You’re going to miss everything cool and die angry.”