Emmys 2016: Patton Oswalt Pays Tribute to His Late Wife

ABC/Image Group LA
THE 68TH EMMY(r) AWARDS - “The 68th Emmy Awards” broadcasts live from The Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, Sunday, September 18 (7:00-11:00 p.m. EDT/4:00-8:00 p.m. PDT), on ABC and is hosted by Jimmy Kimmel. (ABC/Image Group LA) PATTON OSWALT

Patton Oswalt took home his first Emmy—in Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special for Patton Oswalt: Talking For Clapping—on Sunday, but the experience a bit bittersweet: his wife, Michelle McNamara, passed away less than five months ago.

Oswalt dedicated his award to his wife (and their daughter) on stage, and backstage, he explained that “every bit of growth I’ve had in my career, especially in my writing and my performing, came because I met and married Michelle McNamara.”

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Before they met, “I had convinced myself I was aware and self-actualized and mature, and then I met the real deal,” he said. “I was lucky to get to have that in my life. And for it to get ripped out of my life the way it was this year…I’m not saying this is meaningless, but everything feels like the light’s been turned down 50 percent on everything since she’s gone. It’s going to be a long, long time before I can be the kind of person she made me again.”

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Looking toward the future, Oswalt admitted he was thrilled the win meant he would be allowed to do more standup comedy. “It’s the most fun thing to do,” he said. “That’s what it means: ‘Hey, an Emmy winner is coming to your mini-mall this weekend!’ That feels pretty good. ‘Enjoy some potato skins with an Emmy winner.'”