The ragey Eddie Pepitone has been in the comedy business for decades, but for many stand-up nerds he seemed to emerge out of the aether on Marc Maron’s WTF podcast in 2009. Steven Feinartz’s frequently hilarious documentary The Bitter Buddha focuses on these past few years, as Pepitone’s star has risen in spite of the fact that, as friend and fan Patton Oswalt recalls a CAA agent saying, Pepitone’s “bookable years are over.” The movie follows Pepitone as he goes on about his life of obsessively cleaning his house, dominating Twitter, killing at live gigs, feeding squirrels in the park (much to Oswalt’s bemusement), and learning to enjoy his late-in-life career surge while making peace with his demons. One of those demons—his angry, unsupportive father—is at the forefront as the L.A.-based Pepitone prepares for his first headlining gig in New York, his hometown. It bears repeating that The Bitter Buddha is very funny, and for all its bitterness, Eddie Pepitone’s comedy is a taste that’s easy to acquire. What’s more, everyone else who’s bloomed later in life, loves their cats like children, and has unresolved issues about their family’s lack of interest in their artistic career stands a chance of finding a new hero.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on February 13, 2013