The comic opens up about the hardships he has face in 2016

By Christina Dugan
December 19, 2016 04:09 PM


Patton Oswalt is continuing to grieve the unexpected death of his wife, Michelle McNamara, with the help of standup comedy.

On Sunday night, Oswalt took to the stage at Largo at the Coronet in Los Angeles to discuss the hardships that circulated throughout 2016 — including his wife’s death and the presidential election.

“I would definitely say the set was emotional,” a source in the audience told PEOPLE. “I would characterize his set, as well as portions of Aparna Nancherla and Kyle Kinane’s sets, as ‘trying to make sense of how abysmally awful 2016 has been.’ “

The source continued: “A recurring thread he went back to was about how there shouldn’t be any New Year’s celebrations for 2017 because he thought we partied so hard for 2016 that it got cocky and thought it could get away with anything.”

The comedian took to Twitter on Monday morning to acknowledge that his performance had been “a hard one to get through,” adding that he “Almost lost it.”

In April, the veteran comic found his 46-year-old wife who had died in her sleep from what Oswalt believes to have been an overdose on Xanax. The pair shared a 7-year-old daughter, Alice.

“This is my first time being a single father. I’ve missed forms for school,” Oswalt wrote in an emotional essay for GQ earlier this month. “I’ve forgotten to stock the fridge with food she likes. I’ve run out of socks for her. I’ve run out of socks for me. It sucked and it was a hassle every time, but the world kept turning. I said, ‘Whoops, my bad,’ and fixed it and kept stumbling forward.”

Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic

He continued: “I’m going to keep going forward, looking stupid and clumsy and inexperienced at first, then eventually getting it, until the next jolt comes, and the next floor drops out from under me, until there are no more floors.”

Since his wife’s death, Oswalt has headlined one other show in November.

“A lot of the terminology that people use when you’re going through something like this is just ridiculous,” he said at his November show. “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— again.”

On Sunday, Oswalt described a similar feeling.

“It was a moving one,” said another source at this weekend’s gig. “He talked about grief during the holidays, specifically about family-targeted advertisements. It was heartbreaking. He brought up his wife, and while he was composed talking about her, the wound still seemed fresh and it was visibly difficult for him to talk about. Overall though, his material was hysterical.

Added the source: “It’s rare that you get an opportunity to feel the full spectrum of human emotion from a standup routine, but this was something different and I was lucky to be a part of it.”