Patton Oswalt was a surprise winner in the Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special on Sunday night at the Emmys, and the comedian thanked his late wife, Michelle McNamara, during his acceptance speech.
“I want to share this with two people. My daughter Alice who is waiting at home. And the other one is waiting somewhere else, I hope,” he said.
McNamara, a true-crime writer, died in April at age 46. Backstage after his Emmys win, Oswalt explained why he wanted to pay tribute.
“Because the… [sigh] every bit of growth that I’ve had in my career, especially in my writing and in my performing, came because I met Michelle McNamara,” he said. “Because I met and married this woman who just was so much wiser and self-actualized and aware of life than I was, and that I had convinced myself that I was aware and self-actualized and mature, but then I met the real deal. So I think it’s one of the reasons I didn’t prepare a speech, was because I was so comfortable with… especially when I saw taped specials and John Mulaney’s, and Hannibal Burress’, and Amy Schumer’s, I was okay going, ‘There are people in my life who help me to aspire to something and evolve to something better and I’m just lucky to get to have that in my life.’ So to have that ripped out of my life the way it has this year… I’m not trying to say this is meaningless, but everything seems like the lights have been turned down 50 percent on everything since she’s gone. It’s just going to be a long, long time before I can be the kind of person that she made me again.”
Last month, Oswalt posted about McNamara’s death in a moving Facebook post, explaining how grief “makes depression cower behind you and apologize for being such a dick.”
“Depression is the tallest kid in the 4th grade, dinging rubber bands off the back of your head and feeling safe on the playground, knowing that no teacher is coming to help you,” Oswalt wrote of how he felt 102 days after McNamara’s death. “But grief? Grief is Jason Statham holding that 4th grade bully’s head in a toilet and then f—ing the teacher you’ve got a crush on in front of the class. Grief makes depression cower behind you and apologize for being such a dick.”
He added, “I’m going to start telling jokes again soon. And writing. And acting in stuff and making things I like and working with friends on projects and do all the stuff I was always so privileged to get to do before the air caught fire around me and the sun died. It’s all I knew how to do before I met Michelle. I don’t know what else I’m supposed to do now without her.
“And not because, ‘It’s what Michelle would have wanted me to do.’ For me to even presume to know what Michelle would have wanted me to do is the height of arrogance on my part. That was one of the many reasons I so looked forward to growing old with her. Because she was always surprising me. Because I never knew what she’d think or what direction she’d go.”
Oswalt won his Emmy for the Netflix special Patton Oswalt: Talking For Clapping.