Rob Delaney has thanked Patton Oswalt for his example in enduring the loss of a loved one and returning to standup comedy.
The Catastrophe co-creator and star tweeted Thursday that he was on his way to a standup gig, one of a handful since the death of his 2-year-old son in January, and he offered his gratitude to Oswalt — who lost his wife suddenly in 2016 and has since made his return to the world of live comedy — for showing him the way.
“I’m headed out to do standup for maybe the 15th time since Henry died,” Delaney tweeted to Oswalt. “Excruciating to get there but I’ll prob enjoy myself onstage. I usually do anyway. Don’t think I could do this if you hadn’t shown it could be done. Thank you.”
Delaney’s son had been battling brain cancer for more than a year when he died. Delaney shared the heartbreaking news on Facebook in February, writing: “I have very sad news. My two and a half year old son Henry has passed away. Henry had been diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2016, shortly after his first birthday, following persistent vomiting and weight loss. He had surgery to remove the tumor and further treatment through the early part of 2017. Then the cancer returned last autumn and he died in January.”
Oswalt replied to Delaney’s tweet Thursday with his own message of support. “You’d have figured out a way even if I hadn’t,” he wrote. “Now get up there.”
Oswalt was married to the true-crime writer Michelle McNamara when she died unexpectedly in April 2016. In August of that year, he wrote a heartfelt essay reflecting on his grief and the 102 days that had passed since McNamara’s death. In his writings, Oswalt promised he’d be back “being funny again soon.”
“I’m going to start telling jokes again soon,” he wrote. “And writing. And acting in stuff and making things I like and working with friends on projects and do all the stuff I was always so privileged to get to do before the air caught fire around me and the sun died. It’s all I knew how to do before I met Michelle. I don’t know what else I’m supposed to do now without her.” In August 2017, his standup special Patton Oswalt: Annihilation dropped on Netflix, receiving stellar reviews.
McNamara was known for launching the website True Crime Diary and wrote frequently about unsolved murder cases. After publishing multiple investigative stories about the Golden State Killer — a serial rapist and murderer who terrorized California in the 1970s and ’80s — she was working on a book about the case at the time of her death. Oswalt oversaw the completion of the book, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, which was published in February. It quickly became a best-seller and helped reignite interest in the case. Just yesterday, authorities announced the arrest of a suspect in the case, former police officer Joseph James DeAngelo, 72.
“You did it, Michelle,” Oswalt said in a video posted to his Instagram account. “The cops are never gonna say it, but your book helped get this thing closed.”