santa.jpg (30300 bytes) Expect entertaining waffle as Eddie Izzard rolls onto the stage of Nottingham's Theatre Royal this week

BY LORNE JACKSON / Nottingham Evening Post

Eddie Izzard talks a lot of nonsense — and that's just the way he likes it.

After all, talking absolute gibberish has provided him with stand-up gigs around the world (including a jam-packed performance at Wembley Arena), work on TV, and major movie acting roles. Nonsense is the fuel which drove Eddie's madmobile straight into success city. (Sorry, his loony lingo is obviously catching.)

But come on now, Edward, you're over 30 years of age — isn't it time to get seriously serious?

Eddie grins mischievously: "I could never get into all that Ben Elton kind of comedy," he says. "You know that ‘little bit of politics' stuff. If that's what people are looking for from me then they can just forget it.'

"The thing is, politics is boring. Your average person just does not care what's going on out there that much. It's too damn slow moving. The only people who really get interested in all that politics sort of stuff are the actual politicians and the newspapers."

He adds: "But with me, I just talk nonsense. That's because I love talking rubbish. I think the perfect piece of stand-up is when it's just complete tripe, but somehow you still make a point."

And the point is this: everybody loves Eddie. He may be a cross dressing, plummy voiced TV salesman for some building society or other. But not one person has a bad word to say about the bloke. Particularly women.

As I found out the day before I interviewed him. "Oooh, I adore him," crinkled some old dear I met. Tell him I think he's really sexy," simpered my next door neighbour. Yeah, yeah.

Forgot the X-Factor, Izzard has the Z factor — a whole double dose of it. Who knows? Maybe everyone just admires his shade of mascara, or the cut of that Armani frock.

But when did he discover the alchemist's ace in the hole — forging gold bullion from pure bull?

"Well obviously I wasn't always this successful," he says. "I spent a long time toughing it out in small clubs. For eight years I didn't really know where the next pay cheque was coming from. It's not that easy to be funny when you think tomorrow you could be bolstering the Big Issue trade."

The truth is, there is a good sized helping of method in Eddie's madness. He may appear to be rambling and effortless on stage, but in reality we are watching the art and artifice of a super-slick performer.

Eddie explains: "If you persevere, you get better and you start to understand what people want.

"Then when you make that breakthrough, you're ready for the public and the public's ready for you."

And is Eddie ready for Nottingham? Well, not quite. "I've not really got that much material prepared," he admits. "I'll do some of the older stuff, but really I just want to improvise. I don't get nervous even if I've got nothing planned to say.

"That's half the fun of the whole thing. It's like walking a tight rope with no net. Actually it's like walking a tight rope with no underwear — much more thrilling!

"When I'm on form hopefully it's an amazing night for the audience.

"They don't know where it's going and I don't know where it's going. We are all in the same canoe with no paddle. But even when I'm not up too much, I can still put forward some pretty entertaining waffle."