Patton Oswalt may be a beloved comedian and actor, but not all of his roles have aged as well as Ratatouille. In an interview with Eric Lach at the New Yorker Festival on Friday night, the comedian discussed how differently his Veep character plays today than he did when the episodes first aired in 2015.
In the HBO comedy, Oswalt played Teddy Sykes, the vice-president’s chief-of-staff who repeatedly groped the show’s favorite punching bag, Jonah Ryan (Timothy Simons). “It’s very problematic to watch now,” Oswalt admitted, but he also gave the writers credit for trying to talk about sexual harassment before the conversation was such a big part of the public discourse.
“I think the people that were writing that episode — yes, it was before #MeToo but you can see there’s early versions of Difficult People when they’re referencing Kevin Spacey long before [the accusations against him became public]. Like, this is all stuff that these writers and actors had heard about or experienced directly and because nobody was listening, you put it out in the art.”
Oswalt added that while jokes about sexual abuse can be “problematic” that the comedy can still raise awareness to the issues. He said, “It’s very, very difficult and messy, but the one tiny sliver of good is that it’s a clearly – it’s a profession [comedy] that does affect people and can affect change.”