He was born to Larry Oswalt and his wife Carla. Larry was a U.S. Marine Corps Officer and the family used to move a lot because of his career.
He attended Broad Run High School in Virginia and graduated in 1987. He enrolled at the College of William and Mary where he majored in English and earned his degree in 1991.
While still at college he performed his first stand-up routine at an open mic in Washington, D.C. in 1988 and soon began performing comedy at small clubs in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington D.C.
While performing at the clubs he met aspiring comedian Blaine Capatch and both became good friends. The duo traveled to San Francisco in 1992 to try their luck there, and from there they went to Los Angeles in 1994.
Oswalt got a job as a writer on the new comedy show ‘MAD TV’ in 1995. He worked there for two seasons before appearing in ‘HBO Half Hour Comedy Hour’ in 1997.
He found his big breakthrough when he was cast as Spencer “Spence” Olchin, a supporting character in the highly popular sitcom ‘The King of Queens’ in 1998. He played this role in 122 episodes of the show till 2007.
From 2003 till 2007 he lent his voice to the character Professor Demento in ten episodes of the animated children’s television series ‘Kim Possible’. During the 2000s he also served as a voice actor in several other television shows.
He voiced several characters including Dungeon Master, Kenny Rogers, Assassin, and Boozehammer of Galen in the television comedy series ‘Reno 911!’ from 2004 to 2009.
His comedy album ‘Werewolves and Lollipops’ was released in 2007 with a bonus DVD. The album was positively reviewed and was called a classic comedy album.
After appearing in cameo roles in films over the 1990s and early 2000s, he got the opportunity to voice the character, Remy, an idealistic and ambitious young rat, in the animated comedy ‘Ratatouille’ in 2007.
He voices several characters including Tobey, Robot, 4th Grader, and Irate Driver in the animated children’s television series ‘WordGirl’ which premiered in 2007. The show is designed to teach children about the expansive English language and its vocabulary.
He appeared as Neil in 21 episodes of the television comedy drama, ‘United States of Tara’ which ran from 2009 till 2011. The show revolved around a suburban woman who copes with dissociative identity disorder.
His comedy albums ‘My Weakness is Strong’ (2009) and ‘Finest Hour’ (2011) were also very popular and peaked at No.1 on the U.S. Top Comedy Album Chart.
His most memorable movie role was as Matt Freehauf in the comedy drama ‘Young Adult’ in 2011 which also starred Charlize Theron. His role was highly appreciated and he won several awards and nominations for it.
ACHIEVEMENTS AND AWARDS
Young Adult’ was his breakthrough movie in which he played the character of a partially disabled man. His performance was lauded and he received several award nominations of which he won many. It is his most successful film so far.
He won the New York Film Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor – Comedy for portraying Matt Freehauf in the film ‘Young Adult’ in 2011.