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Eddie Pepitone – For the Masses

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Why it’s worth your time:

Eddie Pepitone – For the Masses is a fresh and outrageous stand-up comedy special that has substance to spare and is laugh-out-loud funny throughout. The 62-year-old vegan, alt-comedy cult favorite—a regular on the Los Angeles comedy club circuit—has been active for years on television and in movies, albums, videos and podcasts. But he may be the best comedian you’ve never heard of.

Pepitone is also one of those comedians that other comedians love to watch because he combines an outrageous blue-collar performing style with incisive insights and observations about the current political and sociological scene, often tied in to his personal life. “Our society is too comfortable. My father never had cuddle blankets from Sharper Image.” He funnels all this through a comedic attitude and tone that entertainingly alternates between aggressive, angry outrage and gentle, lovable, soft-spoken calmness.

Pepitone makes you laugh hard and think hard, as did George Carlin, Richard Pryor and Lily Tomlin, and what more can we ask from our finest comedians? With life and the world in such disarray, perhaps a new change of leadership and a superb comedian are just what the doctor ordered to take our minds off our current challenges.

The takeaway:

Pepitone helps us see the humor and light in all of this moment’s frightening and confusing nature. He deals head-on, in his inimitable fresh and original style, with topics that are absolutely of our country, culture and lifestyles today: short attention spans, drugs, violence, sex, the Me Too movement, climate change, Alzheimers, the Waze app, Fascism, atheists, the Alt-Right, and the corporate world.

He will often relate these topics to himself personally, and as he focuses more on himself, he treats us to his take on his father, how he was raised, his medication, acid reflux, his rescue dogs, his old car, and two of the most hilarious routines you’ll ever experience – his plea for more realistic wedding toasts, and the Seven Circles of Hell he endured in his attempt to audition for a Downy Fabric Softener commercial.

Hilariously playing against his portly physical image, Pepitone complains about being constantly sexually harassed. But he’s right up-front about his perceived limitations: “I’m neurotic, self-sabotaging. I give myself recriminations instead of affirmations… for you, this must be cathartic, but for me, it’s fucking pain, arduous. My act is a cry for help!”

He also acknowledges the dichotomy of his character:  “I’m a man of comfort—also of revolution.” And perhaps most refreshing is how he lays it on the line about how disappointed his audience might be if they’re expecting the usual comedian:  “I’m trying to deal with the truth here tonight. You’re not gonna hear a lot of shit about dating and cargo pants and how fun everything is. It’s not fun. We’re in End Times.”

Watch it with:

Anyone who appreciates topical and personal comedy. Anyone who’s feeling overwhelmed by our current life challenges and seeks an outlet for the resulting frustrations. Anyone who enjoys good jokes that are absolutely character-based, from a strong, aggressive and sensitive character. As Pepitone half-jokingly states at one point, “You’re lucky to see me.” And it’s true. As the show’s title aptly states, his comedy is truly “for the masses.”

Worth noting:

Pepitone has been doing stand-up since 1984. Much of his act is influenced by his having grown up in a working-class Brooklyn neighborhood. Parents, keep in mind there is R-rated language plus F-bombs throughout. It was taped at The Dynasty Typewriter Club in Los Angeles. Eddie’s nickname is The Bitter Buddha, which was also the title of a positively reviewed 2012 documentary about his career.

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