Making Their Marquee
written by Cait Hurley/picture by Steffan Hill/From "Comedy" September 1994

Coverage of the Phoenix Comedy Festival
The tent is becoming packed beyond the call of duty in anticipation of the hero of the hour, Eddie Izzard, and the faithful are treated to a grand dose of hilarious brilliance from the man for whom the word hard means he hasn't got enough milk on his weetabix. He's a Geordie and bloody proud of it, alright? The man is in complete control, and the audience are eating out of his hand within seconds. His
material ranges from having your parents stay at your house to John Wayne Bobbit. The crowd are in stitches. They love him, and as he reaches for a guitar, he invites heckles. A lone voice calls: "Your jacket's shit". What a geetar man he is, going back to Bobbit gags and a Beatles medley. He departs to a huge cheer and calls for an encore.

The cult of Eddie Izzard is near religious in it's fervour. He's still hardly been on the box, yet he sells out gigs in five minutes and is worshipped by a cross-generation audience who hang on his every genial word. More than 2,000 people are crammed in to worship, standing before the stage waiting patiently. As the curtain is pulled back, cameras flash backstage heralding the great one's appearance. He's on, and the crowd won't stop cheering.

He's looking tired, not surprisingly. He's performing in the Cryptogram, in London's West End, every other night of the week. Anyone who saw his shows earlier this year will be familiar with his current material, or "Bollocks" (his words). You can hardly expect the bloke to come up with fresh material only to perform it once, and curiously, the audience even shouts out requests for old gags. "No, no, no. Killed it" he says, laughing. He is rambling far less than usual, and only hits the "what the hell was I going to say next" wall twice. He's an observer, and he anthropomorphises anything and everything from laundry to chickens. In his eyes, the world becomes a playground, and we are innocents invited to join him for one special hour. Eddie Izzard is precious. Treasure him.