Pain is funny

Eddie Pepitone's comedy favourites

Watching other comedians bomb

There is nothing quite like the tension and human drama of watching a funny person go down in flames. It's so fascinating to watch all the survival techniques that are implored: screaming, pleading, dancing, nausea. All the masks one by one fall off until we say what comedy is all about: the transformation of terror into laughter. I always root for the comedian but love to watch the dissolution of bravado. (It's happened to me many times).

The In-Laws

Made many years ago this is my favourite movie comedy. I have never seen better comedic point/counterpoint than between Alan Arkin and Peter Falk. Arkin is a dentist, the average man, drawn into a world of spies and violence. Falk’s son is marrying Atkins’ daughter so they are thrown together. Falk’s performance as a CIA agent who casually couldn’t care less if Arkin gets killed or not. Serpentine she!

The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy

When this book first came out, I was blown away. I have never enjoyed science fiction and have always considered it silly and abstract to my life. So when Douglas Adams made Marvin The Paranoid Android with the biggest brain in the world I was in heaven. ‘The largest brain in the world and I'm stuck for centuries parking cars.’ Sublime.

Richard Pryor, particularly Live On The Sunset Strip.

Wow I was thinking about getting into stand-up when I saw this concert film. Pryor had just gotten out of the hospital for setting himself alight in a drug-fuelled fit of rage involving his ex-wife. The pure honest rage combined with a brilliant absurd take on life that Pryor exhibits inspired me to be a comedian. Pain IS funny.

Monty Python’s Flying Circus

Wow. When I was younger, seeing these guys blend smart with absurd really turned me on. John Cleese made me want to be funny. The sense of

fun these guys were having was so intense, so contagious, that I didn't want to be in my drab parental surroundings. I was so into silly walks and seeing Lenin and Marx and Mao on game shows trying to answer questions about football.

A bit of politics...

Lastly, I think the funniest thing is watching multinational corporations lying to us that they aren't insane butchers who support war and the destruction of the ecosystem. Corporate lying in the form of adverts is now one of my deepest sources of comedy. They are like children who say they didn't break the vase but meanwhile they are killing us all and we are supposed to just play on our phones with the latest apps and have fun!


  • Eddie Pepitone’s Electrified is on at The Soho Theatre, London, from May 6 to 25. Details 

Published: 24 Apr 2013

Today's comedy-on demand picks


Australian comic Yianni Agisilaou takes a romp through the glory days of the animated comedy. Previously performed at festivals, and now streamed via Zoom, the show asks whether an obsessive knowledge of the world's longest running cartoon embiggen one's understanding or is that unpossible?

Click for more suggestions
... including the latest Mark Thomas show and the next Marcel Lucont's Cabaret Domestique.

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