“Bitter Buddha” Eddie Pepitone Sees Comedy as a Way of “Subverting Life”

Comedian Eddie Pepitone is a Brooklyn-born teakettle who boils over with fear, anxiety, and dread. His frenzied reactions to American society and culture, and to the minutiae of his own daily existence, spring from his willingness to confront and pull apart exactly what is bothering him in clear, unequivocal terms. Pepitone's act does not rely on comedy clichés, nor does he ever use pedestrian transitions to keep an audience with him. His stream-of-consciousness style is carried forward by incredible energy (not to mention volume), the likes of which Californians truly do not get to experience often enough.

Pepitone stars in the “single panel web comic” Puddin' (new episodes posted daily, Monday through Friday), and his first stand-up album A Great Stillness was released in December.

He is coming to San Francisco twice this month: Tonight (Friday, March 9), he's at the Dark Room as a part of the Snob Theater show. On March 23-24 he headlines the Punch Line.

Pepitone spoke with us by phone earlier this week.

When did you first know you wanted to be a comic, and how did you initially start to pursue it?

I just knew, when I was a teenager, I was a born comic in the sense that the only thing I had an interest in doing in life was subverting life. One of the first things that happened was I took a play-writing course in college and I had a play produced. It was about a blind thief going into the wrong apartment. It was a huge thing for me. I started taking acting classes, but every time I did a scene in acting class, people would laugh. If it was Death of a Salesman, people were laughing. I knew I had comedy in my bones. I was always an absurd person. [laughter] I always coped with life by using humor. Anyway, then I started dabbling in stand-up. And in my 20s I wound up doing every type of comedy: sketch comedy, improv. I dropped stand-up for a while, because it can be really scary.

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