Caro Meets Comedy Interview

Eddie Pepitone: Bitter Buddha

By | Published on Monday 13 May 2013


Award winning US comedian Eddie Pepitone, nicknamed the Bitter Buddha, made his UK debut at the Edinburgh Festival last year and garnered fistfuls of complimentary reviews. Luckily for you London types, he’s just begun a run at Soho Theatre, and will be there for most of the month. We sent some questions over, and he answered them. Result.

CM: How did you get the nickname ‘Bitter Buddha’?
EP: The nickname was given to me by long-time comedy buddy Sean Conroy, who said that even though I meditate and have aspirations to be like the Buddha, I am awfully angry. Hence the Bitter Buddha.

CM: What made you become a performer?
EP: I blossomed into a performer in my teens when I had no other way of surviving or getting people’s attention. I just realised that I was great at being funny. My despair and angst as a kid got translated into an intense manic energy that was comedy.

CM: What job do you think you’d be doing if you didn’t work in comedy?
EP: I can’t imagine what job I would have. All my forays into the corporate world have been a disaster. I was fired from every one. I made a foray into waiting tables and that was also a terrible failure. I guess I would be making a living being a funny assasin.

CM: You’ve done quite a lot of TV and film work in the US – how does this compare to live performance, and which do you prefer?
EP: I love doing TV and film but the immediacy of a live audience is unbeatable. I need the live laughter, the immediate gratification. To me TV and film is a nice pay day and pay-off for the hard work done in live theatre.

CM: Why don’t you like sitcoms and game shows?
EP: I find sitcoms to actually be quite challenging as an actor. The scripts are usually boring but it’s a certain skill set that is kind of fun to do. As for game shows, I think they are for idiots; they never have Noam Chomsky as a guest.

CM: You made your Edinburgh Festival debut last summer – how did that go? Did you enjoy it, and will you return?
EP: I really loved it, but found it gruelling. By the fourth week I thought it was more of a hostage crisis than a festival. All the comics were like kids in camp who wanted to go home. For me it was my first foray into the UK and I loved meeting other comics from all over the world, couldn’t believe I hadn’t heard of these guys and gals. The festival removed me from my provincial American comfort. I will return to Edinburgh but not until next year!

CM: You’ll be in London for most of May. Do you know the city well? Are you planning to go sight-seeing?
EP: I am so excited to see London. And the answer is no, I have never spent time in London. I want to see as much as I can. I know a couple of people there, the great comic Sean Hughes is one and he’s promised to show me the town! Can’t wait.

CM: What’s next for you after your Soho Theatre run?
EP: After Soho I do Dublin then Galway then return to LA to continue my illustrious TV and film career – which has picked up recently!

‘Eddie Pepitone: Electrified’ is on at Soho Theatre until 25 May. Details and tickets from the venue website here

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