Between 1995 and 1999, Patton Oswalt lived with an unshakeable addiction. It wasn’t drugs, alcohol or sex. It was film. After moving to L.A., Oswalt became a huge film buff, absorbing classics and new releases at least three nights a week at the New Beverly Cinema. Silver screen celluloid became Patton’s life schoolbook, informing his notions of acting, writing, comedy, and relationships. Set in the nascent days of the alternative comedy scene, Oswalt’s memoir chronicles his journey from fledgling stand-up comedian to self-assured sitcom actor, with the colorful New Beverly collective supporting him all along the way.
Ideally timed for awards season, when everyone’s mind is on Hollywood, Silver Screen Fiend follows up on the terrific reception of Oswalt’s New York Times bestselling debut, Zombie Spaceship Wasteland. Already a beloved fixture on the comedy stage, on television, and in film—not to mention his 1.1 million Twitter followers—Oswalt announces, with this second book, that he’s also here to stay on the page.
Here is what Patton had to say about his second book:
“I wrote another book. I’m very happy with my first one, Zombie Spaceship Wasteland, but it had lots of flaws. My lack of confidence in simple memoir being the biggest. I hid behind too much cleverness – abstract comedic concepts, short, gimmicky chapters and zippy graphics. The parts that popped ended up being the parts where I simply poured out memories on paper. Working at a movie theater. A nightmare stand-up tour in Surrey, British Columbia. My schizophrenic Uncle Pete.
So this new one – Silver Screen Fiend – is looser but better structured. It’s about a very specific period of my life. May 20th, 1995 to May 20th, 1999. Those four years when I’d just moved to Los Angeles. Alternative comedy rooms like The Un-Cabaret, The Largo, and dozens of other gone-forever spaces where I could go onstage, sometimes two or three times a night, and develop as a comedian at nitro speed.
And helping – and often hindering – my development was The New Beverly Cinema (and a lot of other gone-forever rep theaters like Tales Cafe and The Four Star) where I became addicted to cinema. And not in a refined way. Not as a connoisseur. I had a meth addict’s appetite. Four, five movies a day. In theaters.
How did I keep my job at MAD TV for two seasons on three hours sleep a night? How did a photo of me in drag wind up on a Tool tour T-shirt the night before I shot the King of Queens pilot? Why did I have a two hour crying jag in Amsterdam in 1997? Why does my movie debut involve me walking off of a submerged submarine? Why did Jerry Lewis threaten me with a lawsuit – or did he? Why was I ultimately wrong in my contempt for George Lucas?
Find out the answers to these and even more un-important questions when you read Silver Screen Fiend. There will be a book signing/stand-up tour that will go with it. Those dates are going to be announced soon. A lot of cities – West Coast, East Coast, Deep South and right in the goddamned heartland of America – are going to be very happy.”
The 256 page hardcover book will be released on January 6, 2015.