Comedian Patton Oswalt has connections to Modesto that range from happy to tragic.
On the happy side, Oswalt was a recurring fan-favorite character alongside Modesto-bred actor Timothy Olyphant in the Beyer High graduate’s critically acclaimed TV drama “Justified.” On the tragic side, he played an important role in the arrest in the decades-old Sacramento East Area Rapist case that also had victims in Modesto.
Expect Oswalt’s lighter side to be at the forefront when he comes to Modesto’s Gallo Center for the Arts on Saturday night for his more well-known job, stand-up comedy.
Oswalt plays the Gallo Center fresh off headlining the District of Comedy Festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., last month. His storytelling comedy ranges from pop culture to social issues.
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Oswalt had a recurring role on “Justified” opposite Modesto’s Olyphant from 2013 to 2015. He has said his time guest-starring as Constable Bob Sweeney was among his acting career highlights, telling Vulture online in 2015 that it rated “at the top” among his roles. “My god, it’s probably one of the most fun things I ever got to do,” he said in the Vulture story. “I didn’t know I was physically able to do some of the stuff I did.”
His name also might be familiar to those who have followed coverage of the East Area Rapist case, also dubbed the Golden State Killer, since the arrest earlier this year of suspect Joseph DeAngelo.
DeAngelo is suspected of terrorizing the state in the 1970s and ’80s, including two victims in Modesto. Oswalt’s late wife, Michelle McNamara, wrote the book “I’ll Be Gone in the Dark,” which is credited with sparking renewed interest in the crimes that ultimately led to the arrest. It was Oswalt who made sure the book was published after McNamara’s death in 2016.
“I tried to empathize with what the victims were feeling,” Oswalt said of DeAngelo’s arrest in a June story in The Sacramento Bee. “Michelle did not believe in closure but believed in relief and healing. I certainly hope there was an element of that.”
Getting back on stage after his wife’s death was not easy, he has said. As time passed, he decided that was something he needed to do, he told Vulture in a story this June.
“There are bricklayers who I’m sure went through trauma and tragedy that then, one day, said, ‘I’ve gotta build a wall today. I’ve gotta go do what I do. This is what I know how to do,” he said in the Vulture story.
Today, Oswalt has his comedy special “Annihilation” under his belt, more acting roles and his current stand-up tour that continues through December.
Tickets are available for the Gallo Center stop; audiences should expect adult content.
WHEN: 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 11
WHERE: Gallo Center for the Arts, 1000 I St., Modesto
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