“An antidote to apathy.” Tony Bartolone digs deep into the underbelly of society in this laugh-out-loud funny exploration of self. Telling tales of sleeping on the street and encounters he’s had with an array of colorful characters, the comedian digs deep into the trauma that lead him to such an unconventional life. While he was stuck in a cycle of unhealthy and unsustainable living situations, he continued finding his voice as a standup comedian. Many of the stories featured in the show were first told at open mics in dive bars in front of a few uninterested drunks and unimpressed comedians. It was in those dark rooms talking to strangers that Tony sowed the seeds of what would become Homeless Romantic. He continued to follow his dreams even without a place to sleep.
Hilarious and heartbreaking, we join Tony as he rides the bus with no certain destination, analyzes the state of mind of the extremely impoverished and finds strength in the dark alleys and hidden corners of Los Angeles. In this dirty journey of self-discovery, we are confronted with the ills of our modern world, both systemic and personal. He explores a part of society most look away from while confronting his own struggles with mental illness, relationships and grief. The subject matter is heavy, but the performance is blissfully optimistic. Tony joyfully tears off layer after layer until finally we are staring at the center of his being, the pit of his soul, the naked truth of our own existence. Peppered with clever turns of phrase and amusing observations, this marriage of standup and storytelling paints a wonderfully rich portrait. Equally entertaining and harrowing, Homeless Romantic ultimately injects the audience with empathy and inspires hope in the hearts of cynics. $20