Prime Video’s The 1% Club is Patton Oswalt’s first game-show gig, but standup comedy made him perfect for the job.
“You learn very quickly to think on your feet or you don't have much of a career,” said Oswalt, an Emmy- and Grammy-winning comedian, writer, and actor, whose credits include The King of Queens, Ratatouille and Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire. “So yeah, I do think that comedians might have a leg up in that department. I've been doing comedy for almost 35 years. So, at this point, I'm comfortable enough to just go out and riff with people.”
The 1% Club, which is now streaming on Prime Video, pits 100 contestants from across the country against one another as they compete for a $100,000 prize. In each episode, Oswalt asks 15 increasingly difficult, logic-based questions that favor common sense over book smarts in very clever and entertaining ways. For instance, the show starts out with a 90% question—one that 90 out of 100 people answer correctly—and builds toward the 1% question, which only 1 out of 100 people get right until there are two contestants who go head-to-head.
Read on to learn what else Oswalt revealed about The 1% Club, game shows, and feeling smart.

Did you do a lot of improvisation when bantering with contestants?

Nothing was really scripted. I knew little factoids about them on my screen, but nothing that I said was scripted, you know? A couple of the little jokes I say, as they're doing the countdown, those are scripted. But everything else when I talked to contestants, you can't script that, because I don't know what they're going to say.

Was there ever the fear of angering a contestant or a joke falling flat?

Well, I’ve also been in showbiz long enough to know that that’s what the editing bay is for. They can always cut it to make me look good.
Image of Prime Video 1% Club.

Some of the questions are designed to make you feel smart and others will stump you in embarrassing ways. Did you feel the same way? Were there questions that stumped you, too?

There were 80% questions that stumped me. And then we would get to a 5% question and I knew the answer. It all depends. You don't know how your brain is going to work in each situation.

How do you approach that with contestants? Are any jokes off limits?

I don't want to make fun of something that somebody can't control. But if somebody makes an honest mistake, I also don't want to make fun of people's mistakes and treat them like an idiot. It's more of, “We've all been there.” It's more of that kind of thing. But yeah, I don't think anything's off limits. It's just how you approach it.
Image of Prime Video 1% Club.

Game shows are also fun because it’s something the whole family can watch. Did that aspect attract you to The 1% Club because you’re also a dad?

Oh, yeah. When the producers sent me the original British version, and we watched together as a family—my wife and our 14-year-old daughter—our daughter was getting into it and having a lot of fun. So that was really cool. It'd be really interesting to do a special, either a teen version of this or a college-student version. I feel like a lot of them would be really, really good at sussing out these answers and putting it together. I love Jeopardy. Love it. Jeopardy is great. Right? And I love watching the college and teen ones because I didn't realize I knew all this stuff. And, by the way, I did CelebrityJeopardy, and the questions on teen Jeopardy are way harder than the ones on Celebrity Jeopardy.