The Global Domination of Eddie Izzard

[from nbcmiami.com]

Eddie Izzard doesn’t just give voice to an international tycoon in “Cars 2,” he IS one. Or at least he’s getting there.
Izzard, who provides the voice of uber-wealthy motorized magnate Sir Miles Axelrood in the Pixar sequel, tells PopcornBiz that he’s an admirer of the colorful, visionary, larger-than-life style of globetrotting billionaires like Sir Richard Branson. “I do like Richard Branson’s style, which is also, I’d say, Ben and Jerry’s style, the Pixar style, the Google style, the Apple style: positive and fun things, design, thinking out of the box. I love all that.”

And, after a long, ongoing stint as one of the most popular standup comedy draws on the planet, Izzard’s getting a whiff of that rarefied air himself. “I think I’m living the European dream which is similar, but slightly different, than the American Dream,” he says. “It has more people on mopeds amid the sound of the Mediterranean coast saying ‘Ciao’ to each other. If I was just a pure businessman – which I could’ve done because I did accounting and financial management in college – I think it’d be quite similar to what [my career] is now, because I do sell my comedy around the world.”
Already one of the most quoted-back-to-himself comics (nary a day goes by without him receiving a “cake or death” reference), Izzard’s now getting his punchlines parroted back to him in unexpected accents. “I had a French guy doing it to me in English and he said to me, ‘You did this bit.’ I said, ‘Oh, yes, yes. That’s a fun bit, that bit,’ and he was doing the whole thing and he’d learned it all in English. I thought, ‘F**king hell!’”
Izzard calls his global brand expansion just prep work for achieving a singular goal: “It’s a warm up for the Hollywood Bowl on the 20th of July,” he says. “No comedian has done it as a solo act. Richard Pryor has played there, [Monty] Python did three nights as a group, but no soloist, we think – we’re checking on it.”

Izzard’s certainly doing things his way: despite a plethora of offers to translate his specific style of comedy into on-screen parts, he continues to save it for the stage and focus on roles that define him as a dramatic actor instead – his next role will see him tackling a “realistic” take on the Snow White fairy tale “Snow White and the Huntsman” (Izzard plays one of the seven dwarfs).

“Part of my reason of not doing comedy on television very much and not doing any comedy series or hardly any comedy films, really, is because I wanted to do dramatic roles,” he says. “I like doing dramas, and drama is what I wanted to do in the first place, when I was seven. So it’s this schizophrenic thing with surreal comedy, drama and I keep pushing them up. The comedy is going nice and the drama is getting better and better.”

Written by Momo in: Interview |

Just for Laughs 2011: Will Montreal pardon Eddie Izzard’s French?

[from the montrealgazette.com]

MONTREAL – “Can we do the interview in French?” Eddie Izzard asked on the phone from London recently. “How about a bit of both?” I answered. “It’s for Montreal’s English newspaper, so I’d like some English quotes as well.” Izzard obliged, but by the tone in his voice, I’d say somewhat reluctantly.

The brilliant Brit stand-up comedian and actor, best known for his transvestism, rambling monologues and Monty Python-esque style, is on a bit of a French kick these days.

Having just completed 71 gigs in Paris, he was looking forward to Monday’s shows in Montreal at the Gesù – the first at 7 p.m. in English, the second at 9:30 in French. (He performs again at the same venue Tuesday and Wednesday at 7 p.m.)

For a comedian who fills stadiums in Britain, a show in a 425-seat venue seems a step back. So why the challenge? “The world is a melting pot and I try to mix things up,” Izzard said.

The show he’s performing, Stripped, debuted in 2009, so fans have probably already caught the best bits on YouTube. Yet Izzard keeps it fresh by ad-libbing as much as possible – a talent no doubt diminished in French, which he speaks well but sometimes too quickly, and with an accent reminiscent of the Brit tourist holidaying in Normandy.

Izzard has been quoted as saying he’d like to eventually perform his stand-up in three languages he does not speak: German, Russian and Arabic. Considering the challenge he faces in French, a language he learned in high school and is still trying to master, that seems a tall order.

“The shows are exactly the same in French and English,” Izzard said. “For the first 10 in Paris, I was sticking closely to the script. But as I got on, I developed more ‘abilité,’ though some nights I was only half as good as my best gag. But by the end of the run, I was improvising five or six times during the show. The better my language skills, the more I can talk rubbish like I do in English.”

Izzard makes a huge effort to avoid slipping into English during his French performances – save for the occasional “absof—inglument” – which is a far cry from his early French performances back in the late ’90s in Paris, when laughter was sparse and he had a tendency to slide in sentences like “Tout le monde est très pissed off,” and “Je ne apologize pas.”

One assumes French audiences laugh at a different style of joke, with a more deadpan delivery or Jerry Lewis-like gestures. Not so, says Izzard. “If your French is good enough, you don’t have to be more physical.” As for the culture-crossing laughs, Izzard points to The Simpsons. “That show is shown all around the world in different languages and it appeals to a variety of different senses of humour.”

Izzard’s French show is different, though, in that it’s a half-hour shorter. “It’s all the same stuff English and French speakers can deal with,” said Izzard, who takes on universal topics like God, atheism, Wikipedia, dyslexia, dinosaurs and PC vs. Mac computers. Having seen many of the same clips in both languages, there’s no denying the English set is funnier, yet the French performances of today are far superior to the nervous sets of the ’90s.

The Izzard style of today is also far less flamboyant than in past shows like Dress to Kill and Sexie. Gone is the man with Shelley Winters hair, kohl-lined eyes, nail polish and chunky heels. He’s playing down what he refers to as his “girl mode,” in favour of jeans, leather jacket and well-groomed goatee. Izzard 2011 is a cool guest on Chelsea Lately, a Hollywood actor in such movies as Ocean’s Twelve and Thirteen, and an activist who has made no secret of his political aspirations and strong support of Britain’s Labour Party.

He’s even become something of an athlete, having run 43 marathons in 51 days last year to support Sport Relief, a charity in the U.K. One of his goals during his Montreal stay is to run to the top of Mount Royal.

Watching the evolution of this comic, whose inspiration comes from the likes of Python as well as Richard Pryor and Billy Connolly, you see several contrasting personalities: male/female, English/French and most recently comedian/politician. Yet for Izzard, all these facets of himself are one and the same.

“I don’t have different personalities,” he said. “Yes, the politics are more serious, and the dramatic acting is more serious. But in the end, it’s all just me trying to be creative.”

Eddie Izzard: Stripped is at the Gesù, 1200 Bleury St., Monday to Wednesday at 7 p.m. in English and Monday at 9:30 p.m. in French. For tickets and more information, visit hahaha.com or call 514-845-2322.

Written by Momo in: Interview |

Eddie Izzard talks to the Herts Advertiser

[from hertsad.co.uk]

The second giggle-fest that is Laughs in the Park is due to take place later this month and this week Eddie Izzard shared with the Herts Advertiser’s reporter Laura Roberts just what it is that makes St Albans the location of choice for the comedy festival of the year.

THE KING of comedy, Eddie Izzard, is returning to St Albans this month for three nights to headline the unique outdoor comedy festival that is Laughs in the Park.

It’s the second year for the St Albans-based festival and in an interview with the Herts Advertiser, the internationally renowned comedian said he was looking forward to repeating the success of last year’s event.

He said: “We liked it and it seemed like St Albans enjoyed it but we’ve moved it to a more normal time for a festival, July rather than September.”

The crowds, the stands, the atmosphere normally associated with music festivals are all part of the fun for Eddie who says the biggest thrill of last year’s event was being able to participate in it as well as perform.

He said: “In theatres and arenas, it’s just a bit too obvious. But last year there were other acts on and this time the BBC are bringing a whole load of up-and-coming acts as well so there will be another tent to visit. I really enjoyed wandering around before I was on, watching great comedy because I used to love and still love going down to the Comedy Store and watching people do their stuff.”

Eddie, who will perform at the Hollywood Bowl – a 17,000 seater – just two days before he comes to St Albans, believes last year’s open-air inaugural festival was the first in the world and hopes comedy festivals will become as synonymous with summer as music festivals currently are.

“People don’t want to go inside rooms and watch gigs in the summer. This is a massive outdoor area. Nobody ever seems to think putting comedy outside would be a good idea but it is a great idea. We’ve been the poor relation to music festivals and I just thought, ‘stuff that’ and here we are. It was the same with the arena tours – I was the first to do it and now there are about 10 comedians doing it.”

St Albans holds particular significance to Eddie whose father was evacuated to the city when he was a child. “When Mick Perrin, who set the whole thing up and promotes all my shows, came up with the idea I was right behind it. I said, let’s do it around my father’s 82nd birthday. It was wonderful. My dad was up enjoying it all until three in the morning at 82 years old. Amazing.”

The award-winning comedian and actor is currently performing his stand-up routine in French and will go to Montreal to perform in English and French for his 13-week stint in Paris. He says it’s the perfect preparation for the festival. “Of course, there will be a few adjustments before I come to St Albans. I probably won’t come back and do it in French. I’ll be adding things to my set, but it will be the usual insane weird stuff that I usually do.”

Ross Noble and Tommy Tiernan will share the billing with Eddie and he is full of admiration for them. “They both do phenomenal stuff. Ross improvises more than anyone I’ve ever known. His comedy is on fire. And Tommy and I, our styles cross over. We’re both surreal and bonkers.”

Laughs in the Park will take place from Friday, July 22, to Sunday, July 24. A spectacular firework display is planned for the end of each evening at around 10.30pm.

Gates open at 4pm and BBC Comedy presents will have its own stage each day. The main stage show will start at 7pm.

Tickets can be purchased via the HMV ticket hotline on 0843 221 0977 and start at £20 (plus booking fee).

Written by Momo in: Interview,video |

The id of Eddie Izzard

[from metro.us]

Eddie Izzard has quite the crowded business card these days: actor, stand-up comedian, political activist, marathon-runner, avid Twitterer. And with “Cars 2,” he joins the ranks of Pixar voice actors as Miles Axelrod, a Range Rover-ish entrepreneur who’s designed a new, environmentally friendly fuel, Allinol. The incredibly busy Mr. Izzard sat down with Metro just hours after arriving in L.A. from Paris, where he’s doing a series of stand-up shows. In French.

So, you’ve never really considered yourself a big car person?

I do like cars, but I’m not a car nut. I always thought, “Well I’m doing OK, I’ve got a bit of money, let’s get a stupid car, a crazy car.” And I started hiring a few, and nothing really grabbed me. I kept coming back to the Beetle or a Mini because they’re kind of cool, and they didn’t separate me. I wasn’t saying, “Hey, look how good I’m doing.” But having said that, I’d go for any type Jag, or an Aston Martin DB5 or 6 — there’s a five and a six, and I keep looking at them going, “What’s the difference?”

In this you’re playing what looks like a Range Rover.

I’m playing Sir Miles Axelrod, the … am I a millionaire or a billionaire? I can’t remember. All the positive side of Miles Axelrod has something Richard Branson-esque — or me-esque, because I was at some point studying accounting and financial management. And I am someone that, I suppose I have been taking my comedy around the world, and I’ve tried to do that in a very positive way.

You’ve definitely become something of a do-gooder in real life.

Yes, we’ve raised some money on the marathons. The positive attitude I like about business is like the Pixar model. You don’t have to be a rape-and-pillage business. You know, you can still make a profit. You don’t have to be an ogre. Just you have to work a bit harder at it.

How have you found balancing all the different work you do?

It’s tricky. I think if you just had a lot of films going — film after film after film — then you would just have to juggle those together. Instead I have a film, and then do France in French, and then maybe run some marathons, and then do something political in an election campaign. So it’s mixing things together that I want to do.

Written by Momo in: Interview,Movies |

“Cars 2” star Eddie Izzard plans political career

[from reuters canada]

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Since breaking out of Britain’s comedy ranks, Eddie Izzard has carved out a strong career in Hollywood movies and TV. His HBO comedy special, “Eddie Izzard: Dress to Kill” earned him two Emmy Awards, and his movie credits include the two “Ocean’s Eleven” sequels.

Izzard, 49, a transvestite, is now voicing a role in animated movie “Cars 2,” which opens in U.S. movie theaters on Friday. He sat down with Reuters to talk about his role in the film and his plans for a new career — in politics.

Q: Sir Axlerod is a former oil baron who puts on a race to show off his new clean-burning fuel. Relate to him much?

A: “My dad worked for an oil company and I do like business. I’m into retail. I like good merchandise and I like good ideas, so that’s what I channeled in to Sir Miles Axlerod. He (represents) all the positive businesses like Google and Apple who try to do something different in a good way. Except he has a slight twist and an interesting aftertaste.”

Q: You had your own series “The Riches” on U.S. cable network FX and this past year appeared on the Showtime series “United States of Tara.” Any plans for more television?

A: “I’m developing a political drama with FX. We’re working toward shooting a pilot. There are hoops you have to jump through before it gets to series but I’m a determined bastard. I’m a transvestite that’s got this far.”

Q: Beyond that — films, TV, stand-up — any other long-term career goals?

A: “Films are my first love. But I’m not going to back off stand-up now. And I’m going into politics in nine years.”

Q: A cross-dressing politician? Gay or straight?

A: “I’m not gay. I’m not even bisexual. I’m a straight transvestite. A wannabe lesbian. I wanted to be (actress) Carrie Ann Moss in ‘The Matrix.’ That was my thing. If I was a woman, I’d want to be an action transvestite, a kind of feisty girl.”

Q: So, what office would lesbian transvestite politician Eddie Izzard run for?

A: “I’ll be mayor of London or MEP (Member of the European Parliament) or MP (Member of Parliament).”

Q: Why politics?

A: “I’m a radical centrist. I think most of the world is around the center of politics and that’s where I want to be. I like people setting up businesses and creating wealth. I distrust the right wing and I don’t like fascists. They keep rearing their heads and we fought a war to get rid of them. It should be about the people, about having a safety net and fighting to have health care for people.”

Q: You’ve performed your stand-up shows in French. Any plans to tackle other languages in foreign countries?

A: “I will do it in German, Russian and Arabic. Languages are a case of hard work and repetition. For Russia, I’ll spend two months learning the language before I start the shows. I’ll be in deep immersion, speaking Russian morning, noon and night, 24-7. It will be a hellish first two weeks but after that, you cannot but get better.”

Q: Why Arabic?

A: “I was born in an Arabic country so I have to go back to my home town — Aden, Yemen — where my parents met, where my brother was born and I was born. I think it’s my duty at this time, with this world, to learn the languages of countries who maybe feel a little bit separate or are having a tough time.”

Q: Do you identify with the Arabic culture?

A: “Yes. A lot. And I want to identify with it more. I want to be in there. I want to get immersed with it. Because I don’t believe in a God. I’m a spiritual atheist. I believe in us. I believe in humans. I believe the God and the devil fight is in everybody’s heart and mind. Heaven and hell are on Earth and we all know people who have lived through it over the years.”

Q: Why is this your belief?

A: “I can’t afford to believe in something that I don’t think is happening. I would love to think God is organizing stuff but how can you take my mother when she was 40 (years old), of cancer, when she never smoked and worked as a nurse — and let Hitler live to 56? People do good works and then they get taken. People do evil works and they live.”

Written by Momo in: Interview,Politics & Causes |

Eddie Izzard

[from hertfordshiremercury.co.uk]

AHEAD of his appearance in St Albans, globetrotter Eddie Izzard tells JAMES BURTON that despite his acting successes on screen and stage, and his incredible marathon feat, after nearly 20 years he is still first and foremost a comedian.

FROM the Hollywood Bowl to St Albans – it’s an unlikely step, but it’s all part of Eddie Izzard’s latest globe-trotting itinerary.

Eddie Izzard
The arch-surrealist, who next month is headlining the city’s comedy extravaganza, Laughs in the Park, is halfway through a 13-week residency in Paris – and when that finishes, he’s jetting off for two gigs in Los Angeles before returning to the UK.

On the weekend of July 22-24, the 49-year-old is joining fellow funnymen Ross Noble and Tommy Tiernan on the festival’s main stage at Verulamium Park. Now in its second year, the event will be covered by the BBC for TV, radio and its website.

Since his live debut almost two decades ago, Izzard’s horizons have expanded no end. On top of releasing nine stand-up DVDs, including Emmy winner Dress To Kill, he’s branched out into a successful film and stage acting career.

And most famously, in 2009, he ran a staggering 43 marathons in 51 days for Comic Relief. Before signing up for the challenge, he had never taken part in a long-distance run.

Yet despite starting out with ambitions to tread the boards, comedy remains his first love. Famed for his rambling, off-the-wall yet shrewdly-observed monologues on everything from religion to beekeeping, Eddie’s still passionately committed to what he does best.
He said: “The acting is actually what I wanted to do in the first place – ever since I was seven I wanted to be a dramatic actor. I didn’t realise that comedy even existed as a job option.

“It was about 1993 when I got an acting agent, so I’ve been pushing that for almost 18 years, but I try to separate it from the surreal comedy, which is quite a tricky thing to do.”

While his whimsical stream-of-consciousness style may look improvised, Eddie says “only five to 10 per cent” of his shows are made up on the spot – but there’s enough space to perform certain routines differently each night.
He said: “I like to have a set ‘journey’ because I think it makes it stronger; the most I’ve ever improvised is half an hour. Sometimes I’ll go off at a tangent and just won’t remember where I was – it’s like turning off the motorway onto a B-road and not being able to carry on until you find your way.
“Way back when I was on the club circuit, I thought ‘Why not improvise the order that I do subjects in?’ and that threw me because it got to the point where I couldn’t remember what I wanted to say next, so I decided not to do that again. You need that safety net so you can go back if people aren’t looking interested, because you’re just one person up there, essentially talking to people for money. It’s an incredibly weird thing when you think about it.”
Not content with becoming one of the biggest names in his native UK, Eddie has become a massive hit on the Continent, where he regularly performs in fluent French and German. He’s even cracked the notoriously tough nut that is the American market, filming hit tour videos Dress To Kill and Circle in San Francisco and New York respectively.

Our Stateside chums are often caricatured as right-wing religious wingnuts, but Eddie – a self-professed “spiritual atheist” with distinctly left-leaning views – said he’d had no trouble winning hearts and minds.

“I don’t know if I was surprised to do well in the States, although I was certainly pleased, but Monty Python had already proven you could take that kind of humour out there,” he said.

“Most of my ideas are more progressive than the extreme right-wingers’ and I’m obviously not trying to appeal to them, but then that’s not America. I believe the America of Obama and Clinton is the ‘real’ America, the one that the American Dream always aspired to – it’s just unfortunate that there’s also been the America of George W Bush.”
His runaway success as a comedian shows no signs of slowing down – but since Eddie’s early days, when he famously performed in make-up and women’s clothing, his public image has taken on a more masculine mantle.

He explained: “When I started doing stand-up, things began building up and I thought it would be best to tell the press I was a transvestite. I’d already told my friends, but I didn’t want it to become a secret I couldn’t tell. When I first announced it no-one believed me, so I went out on stage in a dress and make-up. But the comedy is the comedy and I just happen to be a transvestite – I don’t want to be pigeonholed, so that’s what I’m doing at the moment.”
Beneath the silliness and irreverence, Eddie’s schtick belies a razor-sharp wit, boundless creativity and a vast knowledge of both highbrow and popular culture. Referencing everything from ancient Greek philosophy and Pavlov’s behavioural conditioning experiments to Star Wars villain Darth Vader, his sketches leap wildly between topics in a way that somehow makes perfect sense. But where do such wonderfully mad ideas come from?

He said: “I never used to sit down and have brainstorming sessions; in the early days, anything I could think of I’d just write down as soon as it came to mind. A lot of ideas come to me on stage. I’ll just be wandering through something and I’ll suddenly think, ‘Hey, why did this or that happen?’ or whatever, and if I like this new angle I’ll just go on and talk more and more on it.

“When I set up a new show, after about five gigs I just start mucking about and changing things over. I sort of just do it in a blitz on stage – that seems to be when I can get ideas and mould them into something. It’s kind of hard-working and lazy at the same time!”

Eddie Izzard is appearing at Laughs in the Park in St Albans on July 22, 23 and 24. Tickets start at £20. To book, see www.laughsinthepark.com or phone 0843 221 0977.

Written by Momo in: Interview |

Owen Wilson & Eddie Izzard Get Their Engines Running In ‘Cars 2’

Owen Wilson and Eddie Izzard chat about the sequel to the Disney hit, “Cars.” So, what do they think draws audiences to watch Pixar’s latest animated movies?


Written by Momo in: Interview,video |

Eddie Izzard on his tour and the end of ‘Tara’

[from OrlandoSentinel.com]

A colleague wanted me to ask “What are you WEARING?”

Yes, Eddie Izzard was calling and yes he’s a hilarious comic and a transvestite, but we were going to talk about cars for this little story I am doing. And “Cars 2,” the new Pixar movie in which Eddie I. lends his dulcet tones.

What he’s wearing is off topic. Funny, but off-topic.

I also asked for reader comment questions, which were off that auto topic as well. They won’t make the main story, but “Ramona,” and “Gina” and others, here’s what he had to say on his tour schedule.

“It’s a mini-tour, and I think the dates are already up there,” he said (website here). “Shoreline (Amphitheatre) is on sale, Hollywood Bowl is the 20th of July, just a day after my mother’s birthday (his DVD/music website is here, if you don’t get the irony). There’s Laughs in the Park, the outdoor comedy festival in St. Albans, that mini-Woodstock of comedy, thousands of people, all day and all night sets of comedy in a field with comedians and fireworks. Just like Woodstock. Except for the fireworks.

“I don’t know if the Montreal festival dates are up yet (they aren’t), but I’m doing French and English gigs there, having just come over from Paris.

“Paris, I’m doing something like twelve weeks of gigs in French in Paris. Are those dates up? (not yet). The only thing I know for sure isn’t on there yet are the Bexhill-on-Sea dates, my hometown, which are SECRET gigs and I won’t tell you about!”

“The United States of Tara” ended this week, the Toni Collette multiple personality disorder show on which Izzard played her psychology professor, Dr. Hattaras (like the Cape, funny). Was he sad to see it end?

“Very sorry to see that go. Great to be a part of some very good work that Toni was doing, a great team to work with. But unfortunately, these things come to an end. And one never knows how they do or don’t work out these things when it comes time to renew them. Happy to do it, LOVE that people liked the show, too.”

Written by Momo in: Interview |

Eddie on Loose Women

[thanks Jean!]

Part 1:

Part 2:

Written by Momo in: Interview,video |

HitFix Interview: Eddie Izzard talks ‘United States of Tara’ and more

Talking to Eddie Izzard is a good way to feel lazy.

An Emmy-winning stand-up comic, stage veteran, TV/movie actor, political activist and occasional marathoner, Izzard can currently be seen on Showtime’s “United States of Tara” playing skeptical psychology professor Dr. Hattaras opposite Toni Collette. He’s already finished starring in a TV production of “Treasure Island” ticketed for Syfy. He’s developing a political-themed drama for FX. He’ll become the first solo stand-up act to play the Hollywood Bowl later this summer.

And, as I caught up with Izzard two weeks ago, he was in the early stages of performing his show “Stripped” in Paris. In French. Because he wanted to.

That gave us a lot of room to cover. Full interview HERE.

Written by Momo in: Interview,TV |


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