Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Patton Oswalt and Conan O'Brien talk I'll Be Gone In The Dark amidst the ghosts of Largo

Conan O’Brien, the cross-stitched spirit of Sarah Silverman, Patton Oswalt
Conan O’Brien, the cross-stitched spirit of Sarah Silverman, Patton Oswalt
Screenshot: Conan

With Conan O’Brien having left his house to tape Conan from the pandemic-abandoned Largo theater and comedy club, it’s only fitting that he’d invite Largo legend and fellow shut-in Patton Oswalt to reminisce remotely about the old days. And about the creepy shit festooning the walls and halls of the fabled Los Angeles stand-up venue, much of which, Oswalt claimed, definitely comes alive as soon as the lights go out. As to just what dark arts the, for example, Patton Oswalt piñata and ineptly crocheted couch cushion of Sarah Silverman’s face get up to as soon as Conan and his skeleton crew pack up, Conan thinks orgy, while Patton suggests some sort of unholy dance to calliope music. Either way, the two agreed, it’s best to leave the Largo Five Nights At Freddy’s shenanigans to the lonely spirits of flop sweat and failed improvs past.

In their reliably funny and insightful extended interview (where they spend a solid five minutes rehashing the glorious awfulness of Death Wish 3 and late-period Steven Seagal), the pair also shared stories of Oswalt’s late wife, writer Michelle McNamara, whose obsession with catching the serial rapist and murderer she termed the Golden State Killer formed the book and now miniseries I’ll Be Gone In The Dark. With Largo itself having served as backdrop for Oswalt and McNamara’s first meeting, the two talked fondly of the chance Hawaii dinner where they and Conan’s wife Liza wound up eagerly peppering McNamara with questions about her ultimately all-consuming (and fruitful) pursuit. Admitting to Conan that he’s told Liz Garbus—director of the HBO miniseries about McNamara’s quest—that he’ll probably be unable to watch the last two installments of the limited series, Oswalt yet extolled Garbus’ efforts to expand upon his late wife’s work. Noting that McNamara’s focus was always on the victims and survivors (rather than the former cop currently incarcerated thanks in part to McNamara’s efforts), Oswalt called the killer, “the least important part of this story.”

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“He’s just this insect,” stated Oswalt echoing McNamara’s foregrounding of the strength and courage of the Golden State Killer’s victims, “that’s disrupting what should be a thriving ecosystem. And then, for what damage he’s able to do, the ecosystem ends up thriving even more.” He also noted how, as an undoubtedly talented and famous comedian married to a true crime writer and eventual criminal-catcher, he’s well aware of how justly his part in the miniseries’ narrative fades into the background. Telling Conan about the time he was developing a sitcom about his life with Everybody Loves Raymond creator Phil Rosenthal, Oswalt shared that, upon hearing about McNamara’s years-long pursuit of justice, Rosenthal told him, “Okay, that’s way more interesting than what we’re planning.” (In the eventually unrealized project, Oswalt’s fictional wife was refashioned as a party planner so as not to overshadow the travails of an insecure stand-up comic, a move Oswalt understands completely.)

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.

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