Patton Oswalt is one of America's most successful standup comics, and for good reason. The best comedians are ones who can observe humanity, make sense of it and then twist that sense into something funny. It is something Oswalt does well, both in his standup and his significant social media presence.
In a HuffPost Live interview Thursday, Oswalt expressed deep sympathy over the attacks Wednesday on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which killed 12 people. Muslim extremists took credit for the attack, saying cartoons poking fun at the prophet Muhammad that appeared in the magazine prompted the violent response.
"The villains of the world -- the murderers, the rapists, the religious extremists, the bigots -- they take everything deadly seriously," Oswalt told host Josh Zepps. "The one thing they cannot stand is anyone taking these subjects that are very, they think, are crucial. Not even saying that it's dumb, but making light of it. That's how you can tell."
Oswalt went on to say that making fun of these things, though it provokes laughter, is often the best defense against extremism. It almost demeans the practice, he said.
"There's not a bigger weapon against oppressiveness and evil than satire and bad taste," he said.