PLAYBOY: Who is your most surprising Facebook or Twitter follower?
OSWALT: I talk on Twitter now with Uzo Aduba, who plays Crazy Eyes on Orange Is the New Black. I have, like, a terror crush on her. I’m such a champion of the show, it’s like I’m a junkie and they put a bag of heroin in front of me and said, “This will have to do until next season.” And I’m like, “Fuck it, I’m probably gonna do all of it tonight.”
PLAYBOY: You and writer Michelle Eileen McNamara have been married since 2005 and you have a four-year-old daughter. How do you deal with female groupies online and in person?
OSWALT: That doesn’t happen all that much. My rule is, if someone makes themselves sexually available, especially over the internet, there’s something kind of wrong, damaged or sad about that person. It would almost be like taking advantage of somebody who needs help. But I have to admit, I have a weird sense of awe for people like John Edwards, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Tiger Woods, who have kids and still have the energy to go fuck other people. I have one daughter, and if a woman comes up to me after a show and says, “Hey, we should go back to your hotel room,” I’m like, “Yeah, we should. And you’re gonna sit outside and make sure no one wakes me up for 12 hours!” When I’m on the road, the only thing I lie to my wife about is what time I get up. I know she’s getting up early with our daughter, so I’ll go, “Yeah, I snapped awake at 6:30 A.M.,” but really I slept till 10. Basically, I’m having an affair with sleeping late.
PLAYBOY: That’s really the only thing you’d lie to your wife about while you’re on the road? What about, say, masturbation?
OSWALT: Masturbation is a preventive measure against mass murder. If suddenly tomorrow we couldn’t masturbate, the whole planet would be stabbing each other to death. Part of the new wedding vows should be “And you have free rein to think about whatever you want when you jerk off. There’s your playground. Go.”
PLAYBOY: As professional as you are, what’s your method for dealing with bodily functions on the job? What would you have done if you’d gotten hot and bothered while filming intimate scenes with Charlize Theron in Young Adult? Or if you burped or farted while doing stand-up in front of a live audience?
OSWALT: Charlize Theron is a great-looking woman and a very cool person, but in my mind, even thinking about anything other than the job we had to do just seemed rude. Also, when I was doing that movie, I was a new dad. I didn’t think I’d be into fatherhood as much as I was, and I was becoming a different person. But if you burp or fart or something during stand-up, you just go with it and make it part of what you’re talking about.
PLAYBOY: You make everyone’s short list of the top contemporary comedians. Would you put yourself on such a list?
OSWALT: The best stand-ups working right now, in no particular order, are Louis C.K., Dave Chappelle still, Bill Burr and, just to fuck people up, I’ll mention some guys not enough people know about yet, and that would be a tie between Kyle Kinane and Hannibal Buress. They’ll be huge.
PLAYBOY: You once said, “I get jealous when certain people get really big.” Were you talking about the talented ones, the untalented ones or both?
OSWALT: That part of the quote was a setup to the other part of that quote, which mentioned Louis C.K.—the kind of talent who ups the bar for everybody else. That actually benefits comedians. There’s competition, absolutely, but I try to concentrate on the aspect of, “Oh good, that person’s success is going to be great for comedy in general.”
PLAYBOY: Do you ever secretly hope your biggest acting competitors will get tied up on a long-running TV series or go off and do a Broadway play?
OSWALT: I’d like to think I’m competing as a third or fourth choice with Jonah Hill, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Paul Giamatti. Philip Seymour Hoffman is like the Muhammad Ali of actors, and yeah, he goes off and does Broadway, but TV is as good as, if not better than, movies right now. That’s where the real plum roles are. I’d love for him or Paul Giamatti to walk away from TV, because if they committed to a show, it would be some amazing thing with an amazing director, a show that I’d want to be on, not It’s Philip! Fridays on CBS. Give me TV at least, you guys.
PLAYBOY: With all the stuff you’ve done, there’s a whole cohort of people who best know you as the voice of the lead character Remy in the animated movie Ratatouille. What reactions do you get from fans of that hit?
OSWALT: They’ll want me to do something in character, but Remy doesn’t sound like Shrek, where it’s like, “Oh, I’ll just do my Scottish accent for them.” They ask, “Can you say, ‘Don’t just hork it down!’ in that voice?” I’m like, “Well, I’m talking to you like Remy right now. I didn’t do a voice in the movie.” And they’re like, “Oh.” I always feel I’m disappointing them.
PLAYBOY: You’re a major sci-fi and fantasy geek. What’s your favorite experience at Comic-Con, the massive yearly convention for fantasy and sci-fi fans?
OSWALT: Years before Comic-Con became crazy, I saw this guy walking around in an amazing Klingon costume he’d made—costume, makeup, everything. I told him, “Wow, I’m stunned. What do you do for a living?” He told me he was an actuarial accountant and was explaining his life to me, and I said, “You should do costumes in films and TV.” He looked at me and said, “But then I wouldn’t have time to watch the shows I watch.” It was almost as if he didn’t want to watch the magic being made; he wanted it to impact him. It was his fantasy world that he didn’t want messed with. That’s another Walter Mitty.
PLAYBOY: Salon.com has a history of going after you on any number of topics. In response, you’ve tweeted, among other zingers, “Salon.com: The Fox News of Beta Male Humorlessness.”
OSWALT: With all my battles with Salon and my hate for Fox News, I’m just realizing now that whether it’s heads at Fox News exploding, Al Sharpton’s head exploding or heads at Salon exploding, they’re exploding for a tiny sliver of the population. They actually don’t count. That’s the show they put on. That’s their job. At this point, they have different ideologies but are in the same business: “We don’t care. Anything to get eyes on us.” The rational discussions are going on in other places, by people who are really looking at the issues.