Patton Oswalt’s Open Letter To David Cross: It Was Just A Joke. That You Forgot About.

By Stereogum / January 4, 2008 - 4:27 pm

Remember the other day when David Cross got all Kevin Barnes in defending his decision to accept a paycheck for a less-than-artistic enterprise, against the likes of random internetters and old pal Patton Oswalt? Well it appears Patton’s offending “snide comment” was really just an inside-joke between the two alt-comic heroes. One that David forgot all about. Patton writes in an open letter to David entitled “I Briefly Respond To The Ongoing Non-Issue” (via The A.V. Club):

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? … Also, I don’t think anyone read the entire entry. Including you.

Here’s the offending, “snide” passage:

Patton Oswalt and David Cross, in better times
[Pic of Patton and David in better times via miloz.com]

“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.

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.

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.

Reading Patton’s original post, you know he’s right, and this is all just a case of shit getting misconstrued, taken out of context, forgotten, etc. It’s two unusual, funny, and unusually funny guys who’ve taken humor to the level of artistry, both of whom aren’t afraid of the occasional cash-grab to afford their KFC Famous Bowls and Blue Collar Comedy Tour tickets. But just in case anyone’s doubting his sincerity, Patton’s now using his blog to give props to Cross. The least you could do in return, David, is name your Sullivan County retreat Chipmunk Terrace. Or The House That Alllllvviiiiiiiiin Built.