You'd never believe who called yesterday. None other than Tom Bruso, AKA Epic Beard Man. When we last visited "EBM" at the conclusion of last week's SF Weekly cover feature
, the man who became an internet celebrity for kicking a dude's ass on an AC Transit
bus was mired in a deep depression. He'd squandered all the money he made off a contract with producers in Los Angeles, and faced eviction from his senior home in Oakland at the end of the month.
But within seconds of hearing his gruff voice raving about how he was going to buy me panties at Victoria's Secret, I realized that Epic Beard Man was back. Tony Turino, the Beard Man fan who created a now-defunct donation website for Bruso, got on the phone and said they were live streaming on Ustream
. "He's back! He's just back!" Turino said. "He's had enough of feeling bad and feeling down and he's back. He's out of his funk and he's rich."
Where the money came from, we don't quite know. Beard Man's manager, Matt Loughran, said he will probably be going down to Los Angeles with Bruso next week to talk about the pending Bruso internet movie. But whatever was happening with the movie, Bruso put on a good show for the internet fans that numbered 500 within 10 minutes.
He took hits off a bong, brandished $100 bills at the camera, and said hello to anyone who wrote in requesting it. "Say hi to Tanner; say you hate gingers
," Turino's brother read to Bruso. "Hi Tanner, hate gingers," Bruso replied. He said he was going to be the best man in Turino's wedding, and that he'll soon be going to Michigan to pick up the car his deceased mother left him.
Bruso finally came clean publicly about never having gone to 'Nam, a claim that led him to be known as Vietnam Tom around North Beach. "It's all in my head. I've never been there. It's all in my head. It's part of my PTSD. They kicked me out for mental problems. They took my glory away! I wanted to kill and die in Vietnam."
Then a fan wrote in "TAKE YOUR SHIRT OFF." Bruso not only stripped off his shirt, he mooned the camera.
While we were glad to see Bruso back to his old manic self, his managers know it's probably just a phase. "He seems ready to take on the world again," Loughran said. "As much as he's back, we know it's just a cycle he goes through."
If anything, the man showed he still has what it takes to bring in the internet masses. "Look at all this love for you," Turino's brother said as the fans sent paragraphs of hearts -- along with some esoteric requests, such as "Put the bong on your head."