Good Karma

bitter_buddha_1

Eddie Pepitone, above, is the definition of “a comic’s comic.” At 54, he’s beloved and respected by his peers (names like Patton Oswalt, Marc Maron and Sarah Silverman) yet remains somewhat unknown outside of Los Angeles’ insular alt-comedy scene.

But with the release this week of “The Bitter Buddha,” a documentary about Pepitone’s life (available on iTunes and Video-on-Demand), he might finally reach the mainstream audiences that, in his own words, “tend to be a little freaked out by me.”

Perhaps it’s because Pepitone looks like a clown without makeup and dresses one step above homeless. His stand-up is best described as rage-induced existential angst. He shouts — a lot — about the things that annoy him. “I live by one rule: When I see something I don’t understand I get hostile,” reads one of his tweets.

The main thing holding Pepitone back is exposure: He’s never had a hit TV or film role (though he’s had bit parts in many) and doesn’t tour nearly enough. That’s why “The Bitter Buddha” could be the best thing to happen to Pepitone’s career yet: It’s a starring role made just for him.

Rudi Greenberg is Express' Weekend Pass editor and comedy columnist.

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Shauna Miller · February 19, 2013