Comedian Patton Oswalt said he decided to contribute to the GoFundMe campaign for a Trump-supporting man who trolled him on Twitter because he was able to empathize with the man’s plight — but that doesn't mean he's a fan of the president.
The Twitter troll, Michael Beatty, had responded with vitriol to one of Oswalt’s tweets meant as a jab at President Trump in January. But when Oswalt looked into his social media history, he discovered Beatty had been trying to raise money to help cover the costs of falling into a coma and being hospitalized for sepsis and diabetic ketoacidosis.
“I would be very, very upset and lashing out at the world too,” Oswalt said of his act of kindness in an interview on BuzzFeed News’ Facebook Watch show Profile, which is set to air March 3.
Oswalt’s actions spurred his fans to also donate to the man’s fundraiser, as well as some soul-searching from Beatty himself.
“You have humbled me to the point where I can barely compose my words,” tweeted Beatty, whose GoFundMe raised more than $45,000. “You have caused me to take pause and reflect on how harmful words from my mouth could result in such an outpouring.”
Oswalt told Profile host Ashley Ford that he thought it was sad that Beatty would support the Trump administration because the comedian believes it is working to make health care inaccessible.
“Seeing someone that had been so beaten down by life that they were still kind of cheerleading the architect of their pain was like, OK, maybe this will help him,” Oswalt said.
Oswalt, who stars in the new NBC comedy A.P. Bio, said he believed being kind to others was almost an act of resistance in these politically charged times.
“Because we’re living in a world where the ground is kind of collapsing underneath of us, if you’re waking up and just being nice to people, you’re being an activist at this point,” Oswalt said.
Oswalt frequently uses his Twitter account to weigh in on the political news of the day, but says he’s driven by a hunger for normalcy.
“Maybe I’m being an activist so I can go back to a world where I’m a comedian again,” he said.
He did not mince words when it came to the Trump administration, saying that many comedians are struggling to make comedy out of such a chaotic presidency.
“You could not feel more superfluous in terms of making fun of the president because the Trump administration ... is an 18-wheeler full of monkeys and PCP that has crashed into a train full of diarrhea, and so there’s diarrhea-covered monkeys on PCP running around and everyone is just watching it going, ‘Oh my god!’” he said. “And then you as a comedian walk up and go, ‘Hey, do you want to hear a joke I wrote about this?’ And they’re like, ‘No, I’m good. There’s nine jokes in my head. You can go take a break. This is playing itself out perfectly.’”
“How do you shame a guy that dresses and looks like that, that puts on that makeup and combs his hair, and looks in the mirror and goes, ‘Got it! Nailed it!’” Oswalt quipped.
Oswalt also said he believed that society, and not just comedy, was undergoing a massive overhaul as power structures flip and once-dominant groups “make the biggest, loudest, craziest noise” as they are pushed aside.
“It wasn’t that Hillary Clinton lost to a man or that the president after Barack Obama was a white dude. It was that he is the most cartoonishly 1950s chauvinistic version of a white dude, almost like that’s that world’s last gasp before it finally goes out, is to put this … demonic, accelerated version of itself out there one last time.
“It’s like at the end of the fireworks show, just light them all off at the end and let’s see what happens,” he said. “So we are seeing the big finale of that power structure and it’s all huge explosions and screaming and yelling, and then the next thing will come in.”
“But being in the middle of the fireworks finale is really loud and terrifying while it happens,” he said. “But it will end.”