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Comedian Eddie Pepitone taping new special in Chicago

Comedian Eddie Pepitone taping new special in Chicago
Comedian Eddie Pepitone taping new special in Chicago 00:54

CHICAGO (CBS) – The Bitter Buddha is returning to the Windy City.

Comedian, character actor, and podcast host Eddie Pepitone got that nickname from his dark humor, powerful rants, and ability to intertwine existential themes with the silliness and absurdity of everyday life.

He is set to film his new special live in Chicago at Lincoln Hall on May 31. Although he performs regularly, Pepitone told CBS 2 that the build-up to the special has been nerve-wracking.

"I get so neurotic. This is gonna be part of my legacy. People are gonna see what I do," he said.

On his podcast, "Apocalypse Soon," he also described his specials as "time capsules" of his introspections on his personal life and current events.

Pepitone's last special, "For The Masses," was named the funniest special by The New York Times's "Best Comedy of 2020." Early into the special, he shouts, "You're not going to hear a lot of s— about dating or how fun everything is!"

Van Corona

When it comes to Pepitone, small talk is never the main course. Overall, he said that most comedians don't tackle what he calls the "breakdown of society," citing the climate catastrophe, the concentration of wealth, and military campaigns. 

"With the world really falling apart, it is kind of like me just talking about how I'm falling apart," he said. 

Pepitone switches between social rage and self-doubt, or what he calls blue-collar angst and sardonic enlightenment. 

"I have a line somewhere in the special where I say, I don't know if it's the fact that three corporations own everything and the ruling class is destroying us that's f—---  me up, or is it the fact that I'm really lazy and don't like myself?" he said with a laugh. 

Although he was born and raised in Brooklyn and now lives in Los Angeles, he knew Chicago was where he wanted to tape this special. 

"I love Chicago, and I love Chicago audiences," he said. "Every time I've performed in Chicago, I leave the show going, 'They're really good comedy audiences.' "

The "Bitter" part of his nickname is covered, but what about the "Buddha?"

"I realize that this special is an introspection about myself and the battle I have toward being a free soul," he said.

Pepitone shared he also covers his abusive relationship with his father and how he has been working through a lot of childhood trauma. When he asked a friend whether the bit was too vicious, the friend replied that it was liberating to talk about because many people have complicated relationships with their parents. 

"I've realized the ugliness in me helps people with the s— they're going through," he said."Plus, as a comedian, I feel like the only way to get better is to stay honest with yourself and to have the courage to put yourself out there."

A comedy club might not be the go-to place for most people to be confronted with heavy topics and politics.

"There are definitely people who are not ready for it," Pepitone said.

For the ones who are, it is arguably an art to make light out of dark times. 

He said he makes the "ugly truths" laughable by making fun of himself.

"Anything dark you have to make palatable by showing your own humanity, how you are scared and not above it all," he said.

Catch Eddie Pepitone live at Lincon Hall, 2424 N. Lincoln Ave., on Friday, May 31, at 7:15 p.m. or for the late show taping at 9:45 p.m. Tickets are still on sale for $25. 

Van Corona
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