For geeks spread throughout the television universe, Patton Oswalt's guest spots on "Justified" (as the sort of constable you might describe as "simple") and "Parks & Recreation" (as a Pawnee resident who decides to take the filibuster to another level) were nothing less than nerd catnip.
And Oswalt -- a devoted nerd for many shows himself -- is keenly aware of his good fortune.
"I don't know what happened but I must have pleased the TV gods somehow because I got to be on two of my favorite shows," he says.
The comedian was asked to riff as long as he could on any subject for "Parks & Rec" as part of his character's attempt to stall a city council vote. When a pitch for the next installment in the "Star Wars" series that involves the Avengers franchise and Chewbacca's severed head came tumbling out, Oswalt was as surprised as anyone.
"It was hilarious that it went viral," he says.
Oswalt's portrayal of foolish and bumbling cop Bob Sweeney on "Justified" lightens the neo-Western in unexpected ways. For a show that usually lives on the dark and creepy side of funny, there's real charm in seeing a character explain that he could take out any assailant with the small knife he keeps with him -- as long as his attacker approaches from the right angle.
"He's someone who seems like he doesn't have it together but then turns out to be just as dark or darker than anyone on the show," says Oswalt.
In either case, the demand for this comedian as an actor will likely only increase, whether or not Disney picks up his "Star Wars" pitch.
-- Karen Idelson