It has been six months since the sudden passing of comedian Patton Oswalt’s wife, Michelle McNamara who was found dead in their home in April. While Oswalt has performed small shows since, his set at the Beacon Theatre for the New York Comedy Festival on Thursday night was his first headlining gig since her passing.
According to People, Oswalt began his set by joking about the Cubs victory, his recent trip to a haunted house with his seven-year-old daughter Alice and the “haunted house” that is the 2016 US Presidential Election. After 30 minutes into his hour-long set, he admitted to stalling and avoiding discussing the tragic passing of his wife. “Six months and 12 days ago, my wife passed away,” he began. “There’s no way to segue into that. It’s just my life and it’s kind of all-consuming. And it sucks. It sucks.”
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In an honest admission, he revealed to the audience that the time since his wife’s death has been hard on him. That there are no words to accurately describe his sorrow and that he’s tired of the terminology being used to console him, “If I hear the term ‘healing journey’ one more time… It is not a ‘healing journey.’ It’s a ‘numb slog.’ It’s just, ‘Well, it’s the end of another day, guess I’ll do that tomorrow. It’s just a numb slog until you start feeling s**t again.”
McNamara’s career as a true crime investigator and writer focusing on cold cases gave her a different perspective on life, one that differed from Oswalt’s, “I like logic and order and neatness. And sometimes I would fall into that cliche where I would say, ‘Well everything happens for a reason I guess.’ And she would go, ‘No it doesn’t. It doesn’t happen for any reason. S**t just happens. There’s no closure, there’s no order and there’s no meaning. It’s whatever meaning you try to put on it but nothing happens for any reason. Get that out of your head.’”
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He then got onto the topic of their daughter, Alice, who was at school when her mother passed away. Revealing that he told her the following day that her mother had died, and that they spent that morning together, keeping her home from school and wanting to tell her in the daylight so the world wouldn’t feel as scary. “It was the worst f*****g day of my life,” he said. “I got that out of the way. Send any shit my way – it’s out of the way. Worst day of my life.” According to Oswalt, Alice has handled the passing of her mother better than he anticipated. She went back to school two days after her passing because she wanted a sense of normalcy.
Oswalt concluded his set admitting that he’s still having difficulty processing his wife’s death. “If there is a supreme being – whatever it is, and this was part of his plan that she’s gone and I’m not? Then that’s a s****y f*****g plan or there’s no plan. Because again, I’m very happy with what I do. I tell d**k jokes. And she was trying to bring multiple killers to justice. And God looked down and said, ‘Let’s take her and keep him.’ That makes no sense. No f*****g sense.”