May
20
2010
0

The surreal life

[from hour.ca]

There’s something quite fetching about Eddie Izzard when he applies ruby-red lipstick, mascara and black eyeliner and wears hosiery, sequins and pumps.

Just don’t call him a drag queen.

“It’s not drag!” Izzard says. “It’s a costume! For me, I’m just wearing a dress. Women don’t say, ‘I’m wearing drag today.'”

Then, the British comedian John Cleese once dubbed the “Lost Python” and who mainstream American audiences think is just a little bit queer said, “Whether you are gay, bisexual, trans – you don’t choose it. Me, I’m a straight girl-boy. I realized the girly thing when I was four years old. And that’s my gift.”

Izzard may be famed for his transvestism on and off the stage, but you won’t find him dolled up and working the boards on his current month-long cross-Canada Stripped Too tour that brings the stream-of-consciousness surrealist to Montreal next week.

“This tour is all about going back to basics,” Izzard says. “I’m not playing Madison Square Garden.”

And thank God for that. But if you still really want to see Izzard on a video screen, then check out his acting chops in the FX television series The Riches (in which he and Minnie Driver head a travelling family of con artists and thieves) or in such big-budget Hollywood flicks as Ocean’s Twelve and Ocean’s Thirteen.

Personally, with his mug, I always thought Izzard looked more like a manager for a ’60s British rock group, kind of like an Andrew Loog Oldham, or Runaways’ svengali Kim Fowley.
Of course, Izzard’s played one too, the manipulative Jerry Divine in Todd Haynes’ magnificent glittery 1998 film Velvet Goldmine with the drop-dead gorgeous Jonathan Rhys-Meyers.

“I always wanted to act,” says Izzard, who made his West End drama debut as the lead in the world premiere of David Mamet’s The Cryptogram in 1994.

Still, Izzard, now 48, remains best known for his stand-up act in which he really rambles and segues and doubles back again. It’s pretty surreal stuff. Much like the man, whose life has also just been captured – warts and all – in the new documentary film Believe: The Eddie Izzard Story.

“Nothing was off-limits,” Izzard says. “I didn’t want a puff piece. Though there were times I said, ‘I would like that to be shown.’ But that’s pure vanity. I look like a complete mess in some scenes.”

Kind of like the day back in 1990 when a then-mostly unknown Izzard (he was a street performer in Europe in the 1980s and honed his act in the comedy clubs of Britain in the early-1990s) was hired to warm up a TV audience at a London studio taping. “I wanted to be on TV. And warm-up looks like hosting a show and I was used to doing that. But my material is too surreal. I just died on stage.”

Not that he regrets it.

So I tell Izzard the only thing I regret about my past is the length of it.

He laughs. “Good point! Regret is a useless emotion. You can’t change anything. I have learned from mistakes but I have no regrets.”

Still, there is one thing more that Izzard would love to do in Montreal one day.

“I’d really like to do a show up there in French,” Izzard says. “But I think I’d have to be sober.”

Eddie Izzard headlines Théâtre St-Denis on May 25.

Written by Momo in: Tour |
May
20
2010
0

Eddie Izzard on the run

[from straight.com]

If Eddie Izzard ever wants to quit standup comedy and acting, he could make a handsome living as a motivational speaker. The podgy Brit doesn’t quit. And he obviously has never heard the old saw about teaching old dogs new tricks. The 48-year-old comedy icon should be an inspiration to slothful middle-aged men and women everywhere.

He speaks conversational French and functional German, and wants to learn Russian and Arabic, too. “It’s good to have things to do, so I know which way I’m going,” he tells the Straight by phone from Toronto, where he started his nine-city, 13-show Stripped tour of Canada, reaching Vancouver’s Queen Elizabeth Theatre on Friday and Saturday (May 21 and 22).

And when not exercising the agile mind he’s known for, he has become a born-again jock. Last July, with only five weeks’ training, Izzard took off on the experience of a lifetime, running north from London through to Scotland, then through Northern Ireland, then back over to Scotland and south through England and Wales back to London all in the space of 53 days. That’s over 1,100 miles, or to put it another way, 43 marathons. Wrap your head around that.

“You’re not supposed to be able to do that at 47,” he says. “I do think that we put our own restrictions on ourselves.” His goal is to be at the peak of everything by the age of 100. And he’s not being facetious. He really believes it. “I think as soon as you start thinking you’re slowing down, you start slowing down. I think there’s a psychological thing to it. I just think you’ve got to be on an adventure. I saw a guy who’s 80 doing the Hawaiian Iron Man. And that’s the way to live. One life, live it. Keep planning things. When you’re 90 you should think, ‘Now I’ve got to do this and that and the other.’ If you keep forging your way upwards, then I think everything will stay alert.”

Izzard ran for the charity Sport Relief, but one gets the impression he’d have done it anyway, just because. He claims he didn’t even get any material for his famously rambling act on the long, lone journeys.

“There’s nothing particularly about the run that has got into my material,” he says. “I like talking about the world and how it fits together. I think at some point it will come up as a diagonal. It will feed into the thing as a diagonal, the fact of how I discovered how people were and what they were like and how they behaved and how people are all the same in a good way. That I think will come out of it. But I haven’t noticed anything in particular that’s jumped into the material.”

Rather, he just soaked it all in.

“When you’re running on an adventure, a big sort of Lord of the Rings without any hawks, you really get at one with the landscape, with the road, with the towns, with some people asking you what you’re doing or waving to people that know what you’re doing,” he says. “I never got bored. And in fact, I really liked it when I was on my own. If you meet someone, that’s great, because they come running with you and you can talk with them and the miles do zip by. It takes your mind off things. But if not, if you’ve got a good vista to look out at, if you got to a place where you’d look down over the countryside—I like that because of the thousands or millions of years the countryside’s been developing. I ran past the place where the Battle of Naseby happened, which was this English Civil War battle site. I was imagining Cromwell and Roundheads clip-clopping up that street with the cavalry and cavaliers coming down the other way. I like history. I’m interested and fascinated, so it all fed my imagination. It was like running through a documentary about the country that is mine, the United Kingdom.”

So if we can’t expect tales from the trek on this Stripped tour, what then? A bit of everything else, it turns out. “It’s God and Darwin and the Romans and Greeks, ancient Egyptians, and Moses and giraffes and tigers and everything in between,” he says. Trying to weigh in on meatier subjects, Izzard has made his musings on religion a major chunk of the act. “I’ve decided I don’t think God exists. I was an agnostic. I think a lot of people are agnostics but they don’t go to atheist just in case God does turn up and go, ‘It was me all the time and now you can’t come.’ So I’ve decided, no, I’m fed up with this. I don’t think there’s anyone there. So I thought, let’s talk about it, let’s look at it.…I’m happy for there to be a God, but I’ve just decided there isn’t. So that’s, like, a heavier subject to go into. And that’s what I should do. I should talk about that, about human politics, about where the world has come from. That’s what I do, hopefully, just to try to up my game and make it better.”

Written by Momo in: Interview,Politics & Causes,Tour |
May
10
2010
0

Eddie Izzard: Stripped to the funny bone

[from canada.com]

Will he perform in girl mode? Or will it be boy mode?

“For the tour, Stripped, I’m doing it in boy mode,” Eddie Izzard said from Toronto. “The Sexy tour was very much in girl mode. I’m going to keep changing it around now.”

If you’re a fan, you know exactly what he’s on about. For the uninitiated, Izzard is a celebrated U.K. comic and actor who happens to be a transvestite. So the 48-year-old sometimes dresses onstage as a woman: skirts, heels, lipstick … the whole she-bang.

This might seem more British eccentricity than anything else, although Izzard (who identifies himself as straight) says transvestism is an urge he has harboured since the age of four. In any case, his outfits – be they masculine or feminine – are almost forgotten after he starts speaking.

The New York Times deems Izzard the most brilliant standup comedian of his generation. John Cleese calls him the “Lost Python.” No surprise: Izzard’s whimsical, sophisticated and often bizarre monologues do delve deeply into Monty-Python-like absurdity.

In one routine, Izzard pretends to be a smooth-talking bee-keeper who makes advances on women – unsuccessfully, as it turns out, because, “I’m covered in bees!” In another, he postulates Britain did well as a colonizing country, simply because of its “cunning use of flags.” And elsewhere: “They went to the moon and they brought back rock. Trouble is, we’ve got rock. That was the one thing we didn’t need, wasn’t it?”

During his current Stripped tour, taking him across Canada, Izzard promises to cover the waterfront.

“I talk about everything that ever happened, with gaps,” he said in a phone interview. “Everything in the world, from God to Darwin to the Romans to the Greeks to the Egyptians to Moses to giraffes and cave men.”

Izzard is less known in Canada than in the U.S., where he sold out Madison Square Garden in January. If you’re unfamiliar with his standup, you might know him from the TV series The Riches, about a couple of con artists who assume the identities of an affluent American family. Izzard has also acted in such films as Ocean’s Twelve, Ocean’s Thirteen and Valkyrie (in the latter, he’s a German officer running Hitler’s communications network). His best role was starring as Charlie Chaplin in the 2001 movie, The Cat’s Meow.

If they ever decide on a remake of Marathon Man, Izzard might be a good choice – or, at least, a literal-minded one. In September 2009, he ran 43 marathons (1,770 kilometres) in 51 days. This remarkable feat raised more than $2.8 million for the charity, Sports Relief. Izzard trained only five weeks before undertaking the runs in Britain.

Not surprisingly, Izzard identified tenacity as one of his defining characteristics – something that has stood him in good stead over his showbiz trajectory. It took a decade of woodshedding, from 1981 to 1991, before his career truly began to take off. Izzard honed his skills in comedy clubs, live sketch shows and busking the streets of London.

“I don’t think I have the gift of anything creative.” he said. “But I did want to do creative stuff. I do have the gift of determination. If there’s anything I’ve been given, it’s that.”

Born in Yemen, Izzard spent his early years in Northern Ireland and Wales.

He recalls being thrilled as a 12-year-old when, during a class skit, he made someone laugh. “I thought, ‘Oh, that sounds pretty good.’ ”

Izzard became a class clown at age 16. A chemistry teacher used to write on the blackboard, then, after a long pause, repeat aloud what he had just written. Young Izzard would fill these silences with funny quips.

“I just used, quite consciously, two years of chemistry lessons to increase my ability to ad lib into these gaps.”

As a young man, he dreamt of stardom. And he wanted it fast. Izzard’s early goal was to land a recurring role in a Monty Python-style television series by the time he was 25 years old. When this didn’t happen, he re-thought his priorities.

“I realized speed wasn’t important. No one’s ever going to say, ‘This guy, his creative stuff was rubbish. But look how fast he did it.’ ”

Complicating the issue was Izzard’s transvestism. Relatively early on, after becoming a performer in Britain, he leaked his secret to the press. Although there has been the occasional ugly incident (he was once beaten by thugs in Cambridge), Izzard’s proclivity is mostly accepted by audiences.

Whether it’s understood is another matter. For instance, some believed he was dressing “in drag” as comedy shtick. Others wondered if Izzard was gay, bisexual or transsexual. He said he’s none of those. And the women’s clothing is no gimmick. It’s just who he is.

“It has nothing to do with comedy,” Izzard said. “It’s like a woman turning up wearing a dress or wearing trousers. No one would bat a eyelid over that.”

For the neophyte, the notion of a straight transvestite might be confusing. Izzard counters by suggesting heterosexuality can be equally complex and befuddling. For instance, what about the woman with a preference for the “bad boy” who’s “a bit of a bastard?”

“It does get very confusing. So I think that all sexuality is confusing,” he said. “I’ve got all the boy stuff. Plus this extra girlie bit. I don’t know why. I’ve just been given those genetics.”

Written by Momo in: Interview,Tour |
Apr
08
2010
1

New Toronto Dates Added

Due to popular demand two shows have been added in TORONTO – MAY 30 & 31

Presale Now! Password: BEES
Public On-sale April 10 @ 1.00pm EST

Written by Momo in: Tour |
Mar
15
2010
0

Pre-Sale Password for Toronto and Winnipeg

Internet Presale Password – BEES worked for Toronto and Winnipeg

>> TIX HERE

Written by Momo in: News,Tour |
Mar
13
2010
1

Upcoming Stripped Dates for Canada

[from winnipegfreepress.com]

BRITISH comic Eddie Izzard is bringing his one-man show, Eddie Izzard: Stripped, to the Burton Cummings Theatre on Monday, May 10. Izzard, known for his outrageous and occasionally cross-dressed stage persona, also has a list of film and TV acting credits that includes The Riches, Ocean’s Thirteen and Across the Universe. Tickets for the show are $58.80 and $69.30, on sale March 20 at Ticketmaster.

[from edmontonjournal.com]

Cross-dressing comedian Eddie Izzard will bare it all on Monday, May 17 at the Jubilee Auditorium. Tickets are $50.95 to $71.95 (including service charges) at Ticketmaster. On sale: Saturday, March 20.

The date is part of his Stripped Tour across western Canada. The British actor, who has appeared in The Avengers, Mystery Men, Valkyrie and The Riches, will also perform in Winnipeg (May 10), Calgary (May 14) and Vancouver (May 21, 22).

>> MORE DATES/TICKET INFO HERE

Written by Momo in: Tour |
Mar
04
2010
0

Eddie in Vancouver: May 21-22

[thanks Beth! | from straight.com]

Eddie Izzard
(May 21 and 22 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre)
The cross-dressing Brit brings his Stripped tour to Vancouver, seven years after his last appearance. No word yet on whether Izzard, who ran 43 marathons in 51 days last year, will make his way across the Dominion on foot.

The Draw: Izzard’s comedy is a marathon in itself. He takes long meandering journeys with tangents aplenty. Will he talk about his runs through England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland? Did he wear sensible shoes? Inquiring minds want to know.

Target Audience: Transvestite athletic anglophiles. And anyone else who likes absurdist humour.

NOTE: Ticket info not yet available

Written by Momo in: Tour |
Jan
17
2010
1

Stripped Fan Photos!

Thanks Kathryn for sharing your awesome photos!

>> MORE HERE

Jan
15
2010
0

Eddie Izzard: Stripped, Too, Taking America By Wit

[from jimsullivanink.com | thanks Virginia]

Listen to British comic Eddie Izzard and you’ll find him riffing Heon Hitler, Stonehenge, the history of the Catholic Church, Pol Pot, attack badgers, as well as a few more current affairs. He’d often start a joke, gleefully veer off course and wander down a side road, ending up, perhaps, at the intended punch line. Truth is, there’s many a punch line, and you never know quite when it’s coming. Izzard, 47, relishes pauses, delays, real or apparent improvisation.

Izzard – whose “The Big Intimacy Tour: Stripped Too” lands at TD Bank Garden JaEddie Izzardn. 12 – has also developed a parallel career as a serious stage, TV and film actor, but remains committed to stand up. And committed to doing in on the grandest scale possible: In arenas. We did an interview with the Boston Phoenix that’s on newstands now or accessible on line at www.thephoenix.com . We thought we’d provide some of the expansive out-takes. A half-hour of Eddie doesn’t 800 words and just about everything he says has entertainment value. Sometimes educational. And, when you get to the end of this, you’ll find, very emotional. There’s also a comprehensive, warts-and-all documentary out called “Believe” which should be available at your finest video stores and is well worth a rental. The TD Banknorth Garden show is 8. Tickets: $75-$45.

>> READ THE ENTIRE INTERVIEW HERE

Jan
01
2010
0

Eddie Izzard in Chicago: Izzard’s Chicago stages just get bigger and bigger

[from the chicago tribune]

Back in 1998, I went to the tiny Westbeth Arts Center in downtown New York to see a hilarious little show called “Dressed to Kill.” It featured a mostly unknown English comedian called Eddie Izzard, who maintained he “fancied girls” (not boys), but whose calling card was a love of dressing up in sparkly women’s clothing.

The audience was dominated by besuited Britishers, many clearly letting off steam from their day on Wall Street. Izzard may have been a part-time transvestite, but he was both sweet and safe for international bankers. And, as I wrote at the time, there is a noble tradition of “Anglo showbiz curiosities.”

Well, Izzard is no longer a curiosity. He is a major international star with a mainstream following and a very serious acting career (he is currently attracting U.K. attention for his role in a new TV version of “The Day of the Triffids”).

On Friday Jan. 8, Izzard plays solo in Chicago. At the United Center.

Izzard’s 12-year rise can be aptly charted through his appearances in Chicago. Following that Westbeth show, he got some valuable exposure on HBO. By 2000, he had a small U.S. tour put together for a new show called “Circle,” with a key Chicago appearance at the Royal George Theatre. His audience will still dominated by Europeans, but stateside hipsters were clued in by now. The show was hilarious. And the two-week gig sold out. Already Izzard was revealing himself to be a shrewd fellow. He was (and is) essentially a stand-up comic with a partly improvised act. But he has never played bars or comedy clubs. He has always played theaters. With sets and costumes. Where people shut up and listen.

In Chicago, the venues just became bigger and bigger.

By 2003, Izzard was playing the Shubert Theatre (now the Bank of America Theatre), with Lisa Marie Presley sitting in the front row. “Izzard,” I wrote in this paper, after praising his John Cleese-like peacock-strut, Pythonesque absurdist digressions, Jackie Mason twitter, and Musical Hall love of verbiage, “maintains a popular web log.” Once again, he was an early adopter.

By 2008, Mr. Internet was at the Chicago Theatre, riding the U.S. success of his TV dramedy “The Riches” (and the popularity of the DVDs and downloads of his earlier live shows). The sparkly dresses were gone. Much of the material was about God and the European Union. “Eddie Izzard: Stripped” wasn’t intend to imply nudity but seriousness.

Still, despite that progression of larger and larger venues, the gig at the United Center is still highly unusual. Solo performers of the non-singing kind rarely play arenas. Izzard is unfazed.

“I really feel like we area raising the bar for stand-up comedians,” he said in a post-Christmas interview from his temporary residence in the Alps. “Rock ‘n’ roll acts never worry about playing stadiums. The Beatles played Shea Stadium even in the early days. I think we stand-ups have to prove we can do it. We can. As long as we don’t chuck out rubbish.”

Izzard has rarely chucked out rubbish—his material has always been intellectual and cerebral. But his longtime fans in Chicago might reasonably be concerned that their man won’t be the same in such a colossal hall. “The trick I’ve learned is to play the arenas like you are actually playing a 1,000-seater,” he says. “You have to have really good screens and really good sound. It’s like when Barack Obama spoke to 100,000 people. I’m calling this ‘The Big Intimacy Tour.'”

As Izzard points out, very few of his comedic peers want to play joints like the United Center. The likes of Chris Rock and Jerry Seinfeld have backed off huge venues in favor of mid-sized theaters. Only Dane Cook is, like Izzard, still trying to make ’em laugh live by the tens of thousands. Clearly, Izzard sees it as a natural progression.

So what’s next for Izzard in Chicago? Soldier Field?

He laughs at that. “I still do muck about, you know?”

Written by Momo in: Tour |

 


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