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Why Does MODOK From Hulu's MODOK Sound So Familiar?

Marvel's "MODOK" is bringing the fun back to Marvel. The show follows the day-to-day humiliations of the Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing, who is going through a divorce and losing his company. "What I love about MODOK is all he wants to do is destroy the world, but he can't because he's like, 'How can I destroy the world if my torture chamber is being replaced by a yoga studio? I can't work like this!'" actress Aimee Garcia, who voices MODOK's estranged wife Jodie, told Looper. "Who would have thought that a supervillain would feel like a fish out of water, and [who] can't do his supervillain-y things?"

MODOK's own negativity is his greatest weakness, and the man playing this perpetual rain cloud is a veteran comedian. He is perhaps best known for his stand up comedy, as well as his long-running role on Kevin James' "The King of Queens." He has also written several books, including a contribution to his late wife's work on the Golden State Killer, "I'll Be Gone in the Dark." Shortly after the book's completion, the Golden State Killer was finally apprehended. "I'll Be Gone in the Dark" was also turned into an HBO miniseries with his participation. 

But MODOK isn't this comic actor's first voice role. Here's why he may sound so familiar.

Patton Oswalt honed his voice acting doing stand-up

Patton Oswalt is, first and foremost, a stand-up comedian. His comedy albums helped usher in a generation of fans, and many people recognize his voice from those performances. Oswalt started doing comedy in the late '90s. He was a part of the alternative comedy boom — cameoing briefly in an episode of "Mr. Show with Bob and David," and frequently working alternative rooms in LA like Largo as described in his memoir, "Silver Screen Fiend." 

Together with comedians Maria Bamford, Brian Posehn, and Zach Galifinakis, Oswalt organized the "Comedians of Comedy" tour, which also became a documentary. Goofing on the "Original Kings of Comedy" franchise, the Comedians of Comedy made a point of touring spaces that aren't usually hosts to comedy, like DIY or punk venues. The "Comedians of Comedy" media franchise introduced many comedy fans to such comics as "Simpsons" writer Dana Gould, Jasper Redd, Morgan Murphy, and "Bob's Burgers" star Eugene Mirman.

He has appeared on camera many times

Patton Oswalt has an extensive list of on-camera credits, aside from his stand-up and voice work. Oswalt played Spence Olchin on "The King of Queens" for the show's nine-year run. "I've never worked with a stonier crew than the Kings of Queens writers and producers," Oswalt told Jimmy Fallon, as reported by Uproxx. Oswalt was explaining why, in one scene of the show, he stood completely still for three minutes. Even after the scene cuts to the kitchen, you can still see Oswalt standing stock still in the living room.

Oswalt's other TV credits include "A.P. Bio," "Justified," and "Parks and Recreation," where he improvised an entire filibuster speech on his ideal "Star Wars" sequels. Oswalt participated in two revivals of cult shows: "Veronica Mars" and "Mystery Science Theatre 3000;" on the latter, he played Max, aka TV's Son of TV's Frank. Oswalt played multiple citizens in "Reno 911!," including the helmeted LARPer. He had a supporting role in the "Reno 911!" movie as put-upon civil servant Jeff Spoder.

One of Oswalt's biggest initial film roles was in "Young Adult," starring opposite Charlize Theron. Oswalt also played supporting roles in "Blade: Trinity," "Magnolia," and "The Informant!"

Oswalt voiced Ratatouille, the rat of our dreams

Oswalt joined the Disney canon in 2007, starring as Remy the Rat in Pixar's "Ratatouille." The film follows Remy as he breaks away from his rat clan to follow his passion for cooking. The film fits neatly into the Brad Bird oeuvre of "Being Great at Your Job Is the Most Important Thing in the World and the Exceptional Should Be Given a Wide Berth" films like "The Incredibles" and "Tomorrowland."

"Ratatouille" also stars Oswalt's fellow alt comedian Janeane Garofalo, Sir Ian Holm, Peter O'Toole, and "Everybody Loves Raymond" star Brad Garrett. O'Toole plays embittered food critic Anton Ego, whose heart is softened by Remy's simple peasant dish, ratatouille. Ratatouille was one of the dishes available (before COVID made dining more restrictive) at the Pixar-themed restaurant at Disney California Adventure, Lamplight Lounge.

In 2020, creators on TikTok made a crowdsourced musical version of "Ratatouille." Rather than litigate it into oblivion, Disney approved a star-studded adaptation that was streamed to raise money for the Actors Fund. Performers included Titus Burgess, Wayne Brady, and Adam Lambert. According to Deadline, the event raised $2 million.

He has a secret life in continuing voice work

Oswalt replaced comedian Louis C.K. as the voice of Max in the "Secret Life of Pets" franchise. Created by Illumination (the Minions guys), "The Secret Life of Pets" was 2016's most profitable release, per Deadline. The film follows Max as he adjusts to his owner adopting a new pet, Duke (played by "Modern Family" star Eric Stonestreet). Because of its overwhelming success at the box office, a sequel film was quickly greenlit. When allegations of sexual misconduct came out against Louis C.K, his Netflix special was cancelled, as was the film he directed about a relationship with skewed power dynamics. 

Oswalt was announced as C.K.'s replacement in the family friendly "Pets" franchise in November of 2018. At the same time, it was announced that Tiffany Haddish, Nick Kroll, and Harrison Ford had signed on to voice parts in the film. "The Secret Life of Pets 2" was a moderate box office success, but made less than half as much as the first film, according to Box Office Mojo. A Secret Life of Pets ride opened at Universal Studios Hollywood in early 2021.

Oswalt is also the voice of the Goldbergs

Oswalt narrates the retro sitcom "The Goldbergs" on ABC. Oswalt voices the adult version of the show's protagonist, Adam Goldberg. The show was created by the real Adam Goldberg and recreates many of his actual home videos. TV Adam videotapes much of his daily life with his family, and we get an intimate look into suburban Pennsylvania during the '80s.

The show stars "Curb Your Enthusiasm" veteran Jeff Garlin and Oswalt's "Reno 911!" pal Wendi McLendon-Covey as Adam's parents. Young Adam is played by Sean Giambrone, and his siblings are played by Troy Gentile and Hayley Orrantia. Rounding out the family is Pops Goldberg, played by "Dharma & Greg" star George Segal until his death in March of 2021. Despite the tragic loss of Sagal, you can expect to hear more of Oswalt's narration, as ABC just announced that "The Goldbergs" will be back for a ninth season in the fall.