Patton Oswalt was as shocked as anybody when his name was called for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special at the Emmys on Sunday night. The comedian, who won for his Netflix stand-up special Talking for Clapping, was up against John Mulaney, Amy Schumer, Tig Notaro and Robert Smigel’s Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog.
The category had been dominated by Louis C.K. and the Tony Awards since its introduction in 2009, and Oswalt’s win came on his first-ever nomination. When Oswalt took the stage to accept the award, he used the opportunity to share the award with two people: his daughter Alice, who was “waiting at home,” and his late wife Michelle McNamara, who he said “is waiting somewhere else, I hope.” McNamara passed away in April at the age of 46.
Oswalt eulogized his wife beautifully earlier this year,, but he took an opportunity backstage to pay further tribute to the late novelist. “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,” Oswalt said. He continued:
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, [it’s] 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.
Oswalt took to Twitter after the Emmys to give us some insight into his version of a raucous afterparty, embedded below—beneath that is fellow comic George Wallace offering Oswalt a perfect, heartfelt congratulations.