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Athens Mayor Kelly Girtz Gave Patton Oswalt the Key to the City

Oswalt at San Diego ComicCon in 2017. Credit: Gage Skidmore

Patton Oswalt had a special guest for his stand-up set at the 40 Watt Club Wednesday night—Mayor Kelly Girtz, who awarded the comedian the key to the city.

Girtz showed off his own comedic chops, inviting attendees to come down to City Hall for a weekly open-mic night, “whether you know what you’re talking about or not.” After comparing the key to both the One Ring from Lord of the Rings and the Ark of the Covenant from Indiana Jones, Girtz is probably lucky Oswalt accepted it at all.

Though he was born in Virginia and lives in Los Angeles, Oswalt has longstanding ties to Athens, including a famous bit from a 2007 40 Watt show in which he called Athens “a weird bubble dream city of goodness.” Girtz referenced the bit in a proclamation he read on Wednesday.

Oswalt also recorded his first album, Feelin’ Kinda Patton (also released as an unedited version called 222) at the 40 Watt in 2003.