Laughing Matters: Patton Oswalt, “You Are Allowed 20 Birthday Parties”

Sometimes comedy illuminates hard truths with a pointed urgency that other means can’t quite achieve. Sometimes comedy is just funny. This series of posts is mostly about the former instances, but the latter is valuable, too.

I don’t agree with Patton Oswalt about everything, but I’m in full support of his stance on birthdays. As I’ve come to expect from Oswalt, he tackles the cultural deconstruction of narcissistic clinging to yearly birthday celebrations with the fearsome intellectual intricacy of a deeply devoted science fiction fan. By the end, anyone might reasonably be ashamed of all the cake and paper that’s been wasted in their name. But there’s also suddenly fresh cause to look forward to the so-called “golden years.” Oswalt is the sort of cynic who also dispenses a bit of wry hope, and bless him for that.

Given the resigned political anger of those closing lines, it may also be worth noting that this was recorded in late 2006.

Previous entries in this series can be found by clicking on the “Laughing Matters” tag.