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If comedy is tragedy plus time, then New Yorkers might be ready to joke about Hurricane Sandy. Even if they’re not, chances are that the storm will be a hot topic at the New York Comedy Festival — a star-studded event that kicks off tonight with shows featuring Ricky Gervais and Key & Peele — concludes Sunday with a conversation between Robin Williams and David Steinberg. The Oscar winner and the prolific TV director will reportedly discuss “nothing that important.”
The fest’s headliners read like a who’s who of standup — the list includes Artie Lang, Aziz Ansari, Rob Delaney, Bill Maher, Kevin Hart, and Patton Oswalt, who might just be the hardest working man in showbusiness. Perhaps best known for voicing Remy the rat in Pixar’s Ratatouille, the prolific Oswalt has produced three comedy albums, a variety of EPs, a smattering of comic books, and a memoir called Zombie Spaceship Wasteland over the past five years. He’s also appeared onscreen in everything from broad, popular sitcoms like Two and a Half Men to awards bait chamber pieces like 2011′s Young Adult. But the comedian’s true love is standup comedy — Oswalt has said before that his work in TV and movies is just “extra-curricular” stuff done to support his career onstage.
Before the festival’s first show, we spoke with Oswalt about his comedy, Sandy’s aftermath, and the right way to find humor in a natural disaster — but only briefly, since he had at least eight more things to accomplish that day.
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