A former comedian turned counselor JC Shakespeare uploaded a video to YouTube this weekend. In it, he and three other performers — including a 19-year-old Patton Oswalt — do stand-up as part of an infomercial on student loans in 1990. Shakespeare says, “This was my first paid gig as an actor, and perhaps it was for Patton as well. Patton had the tenacity and persistence to work his butt off (I didn’t), and I have immense respect for how far his talent and hard work have taken him.” Oswalt quickly confirmed what we could already tell: it was him. In a snazzy sweater vest, no less. He adds that it was his first acting gig, for which he was paid $300.
Adjusting for inflation, that’s $535 today. You can decide for yourself if the humiliation was worth it in this video in which the squeaky-voiced Allister McAllister (really?) of the One Liner Diner (ugh) introduces Patton Oswalt as “Patent Oswald”. Oh, the humanity.
Patton Oswalt & JC Shakespeare in College Loan Video, 1990