After the sudden death of his wife, Michelle McNamara, in April of 2016, comedian Patton Oswalt felt himself falling apart. He began drinking and eating bad food and he struggled with insomnia.
“I was beginning to kind of kiss the edge during those months,” he says. “I felt like I was fading out of the world … just sort of treating myself like I had already died.”
But Oswalt also knew that he had to pull himself together — if not for his own sake, then for the sake of his young daughter, Alice. He turned to the one place where he could express his grief in a constructive manner: the stage.
“I started going back onstage in August of that year, completely not ready and completely feeling incapable,” he says. “But also I went on stage out of that feeling of, 'I don’t know what else to do. This is what I’ve always done about everything else, and I don’t have another outlet to express and work out my grief.’”
Over the past year, Oswalt’s life has taken a new turn. He met, fell in love and married actress Meredith Salenger, and he has a new Netflix special, Patton Oswalt: Annihilation, where he talks about the Trump era and the time he’s spent processing his grief.