I used to chuckle watching “The King of Queens” when Patton Oswalt’s sexually confused character endlessly made a fool of himself, usually in the form of embarrassing displays of insecurity, emasculation, and failure to launch. Today I laughed with a little more scorn at the same actor and stand-up comedian for being even more spineless and pathetic in real life than he’s ever been in character.
“I’m sorry, truly sorry, that I didn’t consider the hurt this would cause. Or the DEPTH of that hurt,” Oswalt wrote in a lengthy and melodramatic Instagram post. For all the self-flogging, you’d think the actor and comedian had physically harmed someone, but no. Oswalt is merely the latest celebrity-turned-activist to go on a needless apology tour.
His offense? Snapping and posting a New Years photo with his so-called “real friend” of more than three decades Dave Chappelle.
This was wrong though. Because Dave Chappelle is funny, you see. And his jokes come at the expense of the political left. And making jokes about the left’s absurdities isn’t humorous so much as it is deeply harmful and dangerous. And Oswalt is a friend to Chappelle, sure, but more than that he’s an LGBT ally, you follow?
So we learned from Oswalt’s dramatic social media stream-of-conscious “sorry” that while he doesn’t feel right about cutting off his buddy Chappelle — because, after all, maybe he could help Chappelle somehow evolve into the type of unfunny comedian that turns late-night into “The View” — he wants the world to know that he understands that posting a photo next to a friend who believes in the science of sex causes deep wounds.
But just like the horde of other left-wing celebrity sellouts and his persona on the late ‘90s to mid-aughts sitcom, his public groveling, apprehensive vacillating, and apologetic prostration before the left-wing scolds displayed not a conviction of character but a snub to one of the comedic greats and one he considered a friend. Furthermore, it was merely the latest self-inflicted struggle session among the haves.
For those with eyes to see, it was also a reminder of what separates true comedians such as Chappelle from the used-to-bes like Oswalt: One breed identifies the funny, politics be damned, and uses it to lighten a room and bring joy. The other scolds you for laughing.