Patton Oswalt Responds

Patton Oswalt Responds

Late Wednesday night, Patton Oswalt e-mailed The A.V. Club and asked us to post his response to David Cross' recent post on bobanddavid.com regarding Alvin And The Chipmunks. AN OPEN LETTER TO DAVID CROSS
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I BRIEFLY RESPOND TO THE ONGOING NON-ISSUE

Did you hear the big news? No, silly pudding, not Bhutto's assassination or the discovery of dozens of extra-solar planets. The dude from Arrested Development made a kid's movie! And then the fat sidekick from King Of Queens said something about it! We've got to get to the surplus store before they run out of shotguns and MREs!

Shouldn't something better-crafted than my MySpace blog be a cultural bellwether? Besides, the offending entry that sort of, partly-but-not-really started all this hoo-ha ("Godawful/Thank God" on December 10th, 2007) didn't get a third of the comments some of my other blog entries inspired ("OMG HIGH SCHOOL MUSCIAL 2 Completely Rulz!!!!!" got 402, which is still nowhere near as close as "James Spader Was Sooooooo Mean to Me in Line at the Newsroom Café!", the champion with 512).

Also, I don't think anyone read the entire entry. Including you.

Here's the offending, "snide" passage:

"Oddly enough, both Brian Posehn and I were offered the part of Ian, the agent. We both threw the script across the room in disgust. David Cross caught it."

That is a snide comment. However, it was intended as a snide, private in-joke between us.

I doubt you remember this, but back in March of 2006 I was in New York, and ran into you at Rififi. I was wearing a suit, and without anyone asking about it or being the least bit interested (unlike you, I am in constant, panick-y worry about what people think of me), I explained, "I just came from the premiere of Failure To Launch." I had a tiny, three-line part in the movie, and I used it as a way to scam Paramount into flying me to Manhattan for a few days. In fact, later that evening during the Invite Them Up show, I gave my four afterparty passes to some random audience members, and wished them luck getting in. That's 'cuz I'm a dangerous rebel.

But you said, after I told you about being in Failure To Launch, "Man, they sent me that script, and I read ten pages and threw it across the room." Then you added, "I guess you caught it."

Well, I thought that was hilarious. I really did. As far as I'm concerned, I sold out when I took that free plate of buffalo wings at Rumors Nightclub near Dulles Airport in the summer of 1989, at my first paid stand-up gig ($50 – I got the buffalo wings for hosting a belching contest afterwards). Ever since then, the only criteria for my career path is, "How entertaining will this be for me, and how much money can I get?" Getting to work with Brad Bird at Pixar met both those criteria perfectly. But spending a month and a half in Vancouver, watching Wesley Snipes have a slow-motion meltdown in Blade: Trinity, was equally valuable and enriching. Reputation, posterity and cool are traps. Shaky Kane said that, I think.

(*One night, at a dive bar after the day's shooting, the director, me, and Ron Perlman convinced a group of bikers – "convinced" = "bought them a lot of alcohol" – to show up with the director for the next day's filming after Wesley tried to strangle said director the day before).

Thus, my desire to work with Paul Greengrass, Martin Scorsese and Ang Lee is equal to my desire to work with Nicholas Cage, Tom Cruise and Carlos Mencia. I want the money, and the anecdotes.

So I stupidly assumed you'd remember that exchange from March of 2006 (and you would have, if you'd ever use one of those Hannah Montana "My First Diary" Memory Books I keep sending you for your birthday), which is why I put it in my blog.

About that entry. Did anyone notice that, three paragraphs earlier, I'm laughing about whoring myself out to Spike TV for the VGAs? Or that, one sentence after my "snide" remark, I'm pissing all over any hipsters for bitching about Alvin and the Chimpmunks, and its lack of quality or soul?

Well, no. I guess it was juicier to make this into the sissy-boy tea-party purse-fight that it's become. And the comments, both in The A.V. Club and on www.aspecialthing.com have been very entertaining, as always.

I don't care what any of my friends – or, for that matter, enemies – does to pay the bills. Although any message board tempest, to me, is super-entertaining, and I hope some shut-in finds a way to keep this going. I think my role in this is finished, so it's up to someone else to mention your massive cash donations to Operation Rescue, or your upcoming tour with Toby Keith.

Let's go get dinner somewhere soon, and laugh about this over a bottle of Integrity Vineyards Shiraz. Or let fate take us where it will, and I promise we will look back fondly on this meaty mess from the set of Hungry Hungry Hippos: The Movie. Scorsese's already announced it for 2010.

Fondly,

PATTON OSWALT

Written from my Bill Hicks-shaped pool in the East Wing of Sierra Mist Manor; Burbank, CA

P.S. Please name your cottage either AlvinWycke or Chipmunk Terrace.

P.P.S. In any and all future personal conflicts, I propose we continue communicating with each other like Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley. I call dibs on Vidal!

Filed Under: Film, Comedy

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