Patton Oswalt's funny, brutally honest description of being a dad after losing his wife.

Patton Oswalt lost his wife of 11 years, Michelle McNamara, to unknown causes in April.

Photo by John Schearer/Getty Images.

In addition to leaving the comedian with a mountain of grief and unanswered questions, McNamara's sudden death left Oswalt the sole parent of their 7-year-old daughter, Alice.


In an interview with Conan O'Brien on Monday night, Oswalt described his unwilling transition to life as a single dad using a familiar analogy: television.

"I'm like every bad '80s sitcom where there's a dad raising a kid by himself, and the mom is somehow... Except my '80s sitcom sucks. There's no punchlines. It's just, there's a lot of insomnia. There's a lot of me eating Cheetos for dinner, and I'm waiting for my daughter to turn to the camera and go, 'No wonder I'm in therapy!'"

In an unflinching Facebook post in August, Oswalt described the intense pain and sense of paralysis he had been living with since losing his wife — and the overwhelming gratitude he felt toward the friends and family who have helped lift him up.  

The post ended with a promise.

"I'll start being funny again soon. What other choice do I have?"

In following through on that promise, Oswalt demonstrates that there's no one right way to process grief.

Using comedy as a lifeline out of tragedy — like comedian Tig Notaro, who performed a legendary, 30-minute stand-up set after learning she had breast cancer; or "Saturday Night Live's" Pete Davidson, who lost his father on 9/11 and claims that overcoming the loss gave him the courage to tell more fearless jokes — isn't just a tradition among comedians. It's intensely human.

It's also an acknowledgement that even in the face of great loss, the awkwardness and irony of life doesn't go away — as illustrated by a story Oswalt told O'Brien about an interaction with one of his daughter's playmates:

"One of her friends came up and was like — this was at a playdate weeks later — 'Is Alice gonna have a stepmom?' And I was like, 'I'm not really thinking about any of that right now.' And then she said, 'When my mom and dad stopped living together, I had a stepmom right way.' And I was like, 'I bet you did!'"

But perhaps the most important answer Oswalt gave in the interview was the first, in response to a question about how he's holding up:

GIF by Team Coco/YouTube.

Watch Oswalt's funny, poignant, heartbreaking account of helping his daughter navigate the most difficult time of their lives — including an epic, unforgettable story of an encounter with an elderly ticket-taker at the airport:

True
Frito-Lay

Did you know one in five families are unable to provide everyday essentials and food for their children? This summer was also the hungriest on record with one in four children not knowing where their next meal will come from – an increase from one in seven children prior to the pandemic. The effects of COVID-19 continue to be felt around the country and many people struggle to secure basic needs. Unemployment is at an all-time high and an alarming number of families face food insecurity, not only from the increased financial burdens but also because many students and families rely on schools for school meal programs and other daily essentials.

This school year is unlike any other. Frito-Lay knew the critical need to ensure children have enough food and resources to succeed. The company quickly pivoted to expand its partnership with Feed the Children, a leading nonprofit focused on alleviating childhood hunger, to create the "Building the Future Together" program to provide shelf-stable food to supplement more than a quarter-million meals and distribute 500,000 pantry staples, school supplies, snacks, books, hand sanitizer, and personal care items to schools in underserved communities.

Keep Reading Show less
via DanielandDavid2 / Instagram

Editor's Note: We used "black" in lowercase for our headline and the body of this story in accordance with emerging guidelines from the Associated Press and other trusted news outlets who are using uppercase "Black" in reference to American descendants of the diaspora of individuals forcibly brought from Africa as slaves. As part of our ongoing efforts to be transparent and communicate choices with our readership, we've included this note for clarity. The original story begins below.

On February 26, 2019, Stacy and Babajide Omirin of Lagos, Nigeria got quite the shock. When Stacy delivered identical twins through C-section one came out black and the other, white.

The parents knew they were having identical twins and expected them to look exactly the same. But one has a white-looking complexion and golden, wavy hair.

"It was a massive surprise," Stacy told The Daily Mail. "Daniel came first, and then the nurse said the second baby has golden hair. I thought how can this be possible. I looked down and saw David, he was completely white."

Keep Reading Show less
True

$200 billion of COVID-19 recovery funding is being used to bail out fossil fuel companies. These mayors are combatting this and instead investing in green jobs and a just recovery.

Learn more on how cities are taking action: c40.org/divest-invest


Former CBS News anchor Dan Rather has become a beloved voice of reason, knowledge, and experience for many Americans on social media the past few years. At 88, Rather has seen more than most of us, and as a journalist, he's had a front row seat as modern history has played out. He combines that lifetime of experience and perspective with an eloquence that hearkens to a time when eloquence mattered, he called us to our common American ideals with his book "What Unites Us," and he comforts many of is with his repeated message to stay "steady" through the turmoil the U.S. has been experiencing.

All of that is to say, when Dan Rather sounds the alarm, you know we've reached a critical historical moment.

Yesterday, President Trump again refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power after the election when directly asked if he would—yet another democratic norm being toppled. Afterward, Rather posted the following words of wisdom—and warning—to his nearly three million Facebook fans:


Keep Reading Show less
via Wake Forest University

Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away at the age of 87 earlier this month and she leaves an unparalleled legacy of fighting for gender equality and women's rights.

One of the most important aspects of her legacy is how she has continued to be an inspiration across generations, and is particularly popular among young women.

"I think it is absolutely extraordinary that Justice Ginsburg was both a hero to the women of the 1970s and then an icon to the little girls of today," Abbe Gluck, a Yale Law School professor and former clerk of Justice Ginsburg, told ABC News.

Keep Reading Show less