Slamdance Film Review: The Bitter Buddha

Posted January 21, 2013 in
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The Bitter Buddha

Slamdance Film Festival

Director: Steven Feinartz

Although he has been doing stand-up comedy for 30 years, Eddie Pepitone is still largely unknown to the general public. But to fellow comedians, he is regarded as one of the best in the business. His signature style of yelling in an angry, raspy voice can be overwhelming and obnoxious at times, but in The Bitter Buddha, director Steven Feinartz pulls back the tattered curtains on Pepitone’s life. The film not only documents Pepitone’s rollercoaster career, but also shows the buildup to his headlining show at the Gotham Comedy Club in New York. Along with intimate interviews from Pepitone himself, Feinartz also gets feedback about Pepitone from many of today’s most well known comedians, including Marc Maron, Patton Oswalt, Sarah Silverman, and Zach Galifinakis. What we learn about Pepitone, and the lifestyle of a comic, is that it is not for the faint of heart. Just days before his show at the 300-seat Gotham, only 63 tickets have been sold. But one of the things that make this film truly heartfelt are the scenes with Pepitone’s father, who reveals his lack of enthusiasm for his son’s career choice. Feinartz also uses animated scenes with Pepitone talking to Maron on his WTF podcast, as well as screenshots of Pepitone’s humorous tweets. Even if you’re not a fan of stand-up comedy, this fascinating doc takes you inside the complicated mind of Pepitone and breaks down the uphill battle that is his career.