Video of Eddie Izzard talking about Ed Miliband’s campaign

Eddie Izzard talks about Ed Miliband’s campaign for a climate change deal at the Copenhagen summit. Sign up to the campaign at

Written by Momo in: Politics & Causes,video |

Seriously its the real Eddie Izzard

[from the Belfast Telegraph]

Eddie Izzard is forever reinventing himself. First, the transvestite stand-up comedian tried his hand at straight acting, with roles alongside the likes of Uma Thurman in The Avengers and George Clooney in the Ocean’s movies, as well as an acclaimed turn as Irish Traveller con artist Wayne Malloy in two seasons of FX’s The Riches.

Most recently, he could be seen as one of Tom Cruise’s fellow Nazi plotters in Valkyrie.

Now, in a move as unlikely as they come, the somewhat plump 47-year-old has turned sporting hero.

“It was a great, weird thing to do,” Eddie says of the gruelling seven-week marathon run he completed earlier this year in aid of Sport Relief.

“Toenails came off and there was blistering on the feet, and I was pulling muscles in different legs — well, you know, one side, then the other side — but it wasn’t too bad.”

The run took Eddie from London to Cardiff to Belfast to Edinburgh and back, with the comedian carrying a flag for each country in which he ran, including a specially created banner for Northern Ireland.

“The exhaustion was the main thing,” he says.

“The first three weeks were really tough, because it was raining and my feet were falling apart, sodden with rain.

“There was a lot of pain involved, but I had decided I was going to do it, so I never thought about stopping. That’s what you have to do.”

It is a mentality Eddie applies to his live performances, too. The hard-working star, who brings his box office-record-breaking Stripped tour to Belfast’s Odyssey Arena this Saturday, says he will carry on with a gig “no matter what”, adding: “It’s a bit like driving from one city to another city, and it’s really rough but you just have to keep going, because you have to get there. I think the run was a slightly separate thing. I could have given up. I could have said, ‘This is too hard,’ because it was off the scale. With the shows, no way.”

Eddie says he has now “fully recovered” from the marathon and intends to keep on running — though at first he wasn’t so sure.

“I did a five-mile run a couple of days after I finished, and then I don’t think I ran for about eight days,” he laughs. “I was a bit stiff.”

Izzard has come a long way since his early years in Northern Ireland.

The comic was raised until the age of five in Bangor, Co Down, after being born in Aden, Yemen, where his father worked as an accountant with BP.

“I left in ’67, so it was before the Troubles,” he says. “I wasn’t politically aware — I was too young — so it was a wonderful time for me.

“My mother was alive, and I used to muck about with all the kids on the housing estate. That was great fun, but it’s difficult for me to compare back. I went with my dad to Belfast, but you don’t really get a sense of what the city looks like, or how Bangor was then, except through the eyes of a four-year-old.”

Still, Izzard has always retained an affection for Northern Ireland. Soon after he and his family had moved from Bangor to Skewen in South Wales, Eddie’s mother became ill with cancer and died.

Consequently, many of the performer’s happiest childhood memories are tied to here, and he makes an effort to include Ulster in each of his tours.

“The Northern Ireland audiences have always been great,” he says.

“There’s a real vibrancy in Belfast now. I do think it’s an amazing distance that Northern Ireland has come, and it should be celebrated. South Africa and Northern Ireland are the big success stories, even though both still have their problems.”

Even at the height of the Troubles, Izzard made a point of performing in his former homeland.

He recalls a visit in the days following the October 1993 Greysteel massacre, when UFF gunmen killed eight civilians in a pub in Co Londonderry.

“My tour manager refused to come up to Northern Ireland,” reveals Eddie, “so I drove the car up myself from Dublin and played three gigs at the Arts Theatre in Belfast, and then went on to Derry, or Londonderry, and played there at the Rialto.

“I was very pleased with that, because I did have such a positive time growing up in Northern Ireland.”

Warming to the theme, he continues: “When I ran through Northern Ireland, the big thing was that people were saying, ‘We’re building with glass’.

“No one was building with glass during all the bombing, and now all these glass buildings are coming up, and that’s great. One English person I met told me: ‘I came to work over here because there’s such a great atmosphere’.”

Tomorrow’s Odyssey date comes near the end of a lengthy UK and Irish tour, Eddie’s first in six years.

Yet he is adamant that Ulster fans will see the same high-energy show as anywhere else in the world.

“This tour has been developed from last year,” he says. “I did 34 gigs with this tour in America, and I played London for five weeks, and I think if you saw it at the beginning, or if you saw it on the last gig, at Madison Square Garden (in New York City), it won’t make any difference.

“The material will be somewhat different — I like changing it, and moving it, and ad-libbing — but if you see it in Belfast, Dublin or Nottingham it won’t make any difference.

“If I’m playing it in Paris, or Moscow, or New Zealand, or Iceland, in a 10,000-seater, in a 15,000-seater, or in a 100-seater, it’ll be exactly the same show.”

Certainly, Izzard, who claims to be entirely comfortable with the arena format (“I’m playing Madison Square Garden, so I must be, mustn’t I?”), is one of the few British comics with truly international appeal. He attributes this in part to the universal nature of his material. “I design my stuff so that it will work anywhere,” he says.

“I will talk about Romans, cavemen, the whole history of the world, religion, sexuality, Moses, Darwin? I tend not to talk about what’s on Britain’s Got Talent, or the 159 bus to Streatham.”

Despite his success as a comedian — he was voted number three in Channel 4’s list of the 100 Greatest Stand-ups — Eddie says his “first true love” was acting.

“Stand-up is actually the scariest thing you can think of,” he explains. “Bands can rehearse. Actors can rehearse. If you’re a stand-up there is no rehearsal.

“You can do it in front of your mirror — that’s no good. You can do it in front of an invited audience of friends — that’s not really any good either, because they’ll probably laugh anyway, even when it’s not funny.

“The only real rehearsal is in front of a paying audience and that’s what makes it so bloody hard at the beginning. It’s tough as hell.”

Izzard’s success in the USA, along with that of Monty Python’s Flying Circus decades earlier, pours cold water on the idea that the Yanks don’t ‘get’ surreal or offbeat humour. “They do get it,” says Eddie. “They love surreal; they are great with surreal. There’s a lot of very surreal stuff in The Simpsons. If you look at The Simpsons Movie, they’ve got a big, bloody Perspex dome over Springfield, and Homer’s going up and down it on a motorbike.

“Surrealism wasn’t a British movement; surrealism came out of Europe, with Dada. Human beings around the world could get that, and Python’s already proved this.

“The key thing about America is you have to go there and push away. I went over and pushed my way in — specifically in New York.

“Sacha Baron Cohen went over there and worked it as well. U2 — the same principle.

“You go there and you play and you play and you play, and eventually they give in — hopefully.

“The American dream is actually a world dream — go for it, go shoot for your dream. I wasn’t supposed to go and break America, but I did that.

“I wasn’t supposed to go and run 34 marathons, but I did that.

“I just like going for things that seem off the charts, and hopefully it’ll inspire some kid somewhere, and we’ll all be going for our dreams: ‘We’ll shoot for the stars, and could get to the moon.’ That’s what I always thought.”

Written by Momo in: Interview |

The Day Of The Triffids: Eddie Izzard Interview

[from BBC One Blog]

In The Day Of The Triffids, Eddie Izzard takes on the role of Torrence. He survives a plane crash and ends up as one of the few humans who escapes blinding by the solar storm. However, the others survivors soon realise that Torrence is using the disaster for his own, sinister ends.

Have you seen this video yet?

Eddie, who has another, highly-successful career as one of Britain’s leading stand-up comedians, and can sell out massive arenas at the drop of a hat, says he was drawn to the complexity of his character inThe Day Of The Triffids.

The actor, who has also starred in such major movies as Valkyrie, Ocean’s Twelve and Thirteen and The Chronicles Of Narnia, begins by explaining Torrence’s background.

“He’s disconnected from everyone else. They left it up to us to fill in our characters’ back stories. So I’ve decided that maybe Torrence was orphaned. I think he also has a military background. I was a cadet myself, so I’m using that for this character.”

Forty-seven-year-old Eddie, who has also enjoyed a very well-regarded run as the lead in the US drama series The Riches, goes on to emphasise that he was not interested in making Torrence a cardboard cut-out villain.

“I didn’t want him to be just a bad guy – that’s too obvious. I wanted him to be ambiguous, so other people could never quite tell what they’d encountered.

“Hitchcock said that all villains have got to be charming. The most serious sociopaths often have a magnetic, avuncular thing going on. So I put lots of different colours into the character of Torrence. I made him cute and flirty. At first he is rather likable – he reveals his darker side only gradually.”

Eddie, whose hit stand-up shows have included Dress To Kill, Glorious and, more recently, Stripped goes on to stress the classic qualities of John Wyndham’s novel, which continues to strike a chord some 58 years after it was first published.

“It’s a classic tale. In this version, the Triffids offer a solution to our energy problems, and that makes it a very topical way to update the story. If you come up with a cure for anything, people always go mad for it. Look at I Am Legend – in that film, they find a cure for cancer and everyone goes wild. Humans are hardwired for that story.”

The actor, who also has a considerable career as a stage actor, enthuses that The Day Of The Triffids also works on a more visceral level.

“It’s a brilliant thriller, which taps into the survivalist instinct within us all. Like 28 Days Later, it shows what could happen if the structure of society disintegrated.”

Eddie concludes by wondering: “What if law and order breaks down and you’re forced to get a gun and go feral? How would you react? That’s a universal question. We can ask it of ourselves. And that’s what makesThe Day Of The Triffids such a riveting piece of television.”

Written by Momo in: Interview |

Eddie Izzard, The 02, London

[from the Independent]


It’s six years since Eddie Izzard’s last full national tour. At his peak, his tours were never more than three years apart so it is a testimony to his following that this prolonged hiatus has not prevented him from stepping out as a stadium comic. In fact, in line with the burgeoning popularity of comedy, quite the reverse has happened and next month, Izzard is to become only the fourth comedian to play the monolithic Madison Square Garden in New York, the other three being Americans, Chris Rock, Andrew “Dice” Clay and Dane Cook.

In New York, Izzard’s show is billed as The Big Intimacy Tour: Stripped Too, a concept that the comedian admits he has tried to sell to critics who have pointed out that playing cavernous venues takes away from the intimacy of his warm ramblings. Certainly the most marked development of this show from its West End run last year is that the venue and the amplification have made an impact on the coherence, rather like a super-woofer might do to a song as it pumps out from a car.

Of course Izzard is all about woofers, barkers, growlers and just about any other animal noise you can think of. He is a kind of Doctor Dolittle, giving voice to a cast of animals. The man who gave us dogs who talk back to human owners when they appear to have dropped their stick, tonight brought his audience raptors stopped for speeding, jazz chickens and squids unhappy at the level of towel provision on Noah’s Ark.

The debunking of the Ark (a theme echoed in Ricky Gervais’ show and a long-standing comedy piñata) is part of the atheistic undertone to the show, again more prevalent in the West End outing and here diluted by extended mimes and soundscapes, including a Roman soldier gleefully but protractedly advancing on his Greek enemy along a phalanx that pierces through the middle of his body.

Despite having the backdrop of talking about “everything that ever happened” it seems that Izzard’s surrealism is even more superficial than it has been hitherto. The comedy doodles are gentle and elicit pools of laughter and applause that ebb and flow in the vast ocean-like room, with Izzard, dressed in jeans, a striped shirt and a ringmaster’s jacket, stroking rather than stoking his audience.

Slight though much of Stripped is, it is consistent. When Izzard’s vagueness grapples with the ludicrousness of perceived wisdoms and formalities he’s at his best. Taking on the endless agreements that are required to be made with iTunes and other online services he suggests that the customer would agree to be called “Mr Bingo” just so long as he could get to the goods more quickly. Elsewhere this contrast is used against opera that he describes as “rich people watching large people being shaken by small people” and that occasionally operatic verse could do with a “doing word”.

Ironically, of course, while Izzard may consider opera lofty, he has no small ambition himself when it comes to playing on the big stages of life, be that chasing a Hollywood career, a political career, completing 43 marathons in 51 days or gigging across the globe, occasionally in other languages. It was recently pointed out that he appears to want to be a “world comedian” – and the all-encompassing theme of Stripped and its reliance on physicality certainly point in that direction.

All this grandstanding may arguably lead to a dumbing-down of content and a reliance on some old tricks. In the case of the latter, for example, he imagines tonight how God’s voice might sound if he did exist, a routine very reminiscent of a past one about the gap between perception and supposed reality in the case of the Romans.

Still, there is no doubt that the themes of Stripped are epic, even if the show itself is not a blockbuster.

Written by Momo in: Tour Reviews |

Eddie Izzard bids for Ironman glory as event is confirmed for 2010


THE Ironman UK Triathlon is returning to Bolton in 2010, organisers have confirmed.

But the route which competitors will follow will undergo a redesign after swimmers were banned from Rivington Reservoir.

The reservoir’s owners, United Utilities, have said allowing it to be used sends mixed safety messages.

The contest — a gruelling race featuring a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile cycle ride and a marathon — will be held on August 1, 2010.

This year’s event brought more than £4.2 million into the local economy.

Cllr Cliff Morris, leader of Bolton Council, said: “We’re delighted that the decision to bring the Ironman event to Bolton has brought a real boost to the economy.

“We are looking forward to next year’s event and we will be working closely with all our partners to make the event grow from strength to strength.”

Changes to the route have been made and the swim will now take place at the Pennington Flash lake in Leigh.

The cycle race will loop from Pennington Flash to Rivington, through Blackrod and back to the reservoir, where the run will start and go into Bolton town centre, following much of last year’s route from Rivington, ending in Victoria Square. A spokesman for United Utilities said of the Rivington decision: “Over the last year we have been reviewing our policy on swimming in reservoirs.

“We have now taken the difficult decision to ban all swimming activities, even well-organised events such as Ironman UK.

“Eight people have drowned in our reservoirs in the last four years, two this year alone and we cannot risk giving out mixed safety messages.”

Registration is now open and more than 8,000 competitors have already registered an interest in taking part, including comedian Eddie Izzard.

Fresh from his 43 marathons in 51 days in aid of Sport Relief, Izzard said at the weekend that he was aiming to take part in next summer’s Ironman contest.

He said: “I’ve just started taking up swimming because I want to do an Ironman now. I have become fascinated with fitness because there’s no point in throwing away all that training. I just want to keep up and get more healthy.”

Athletes interested in taking part in the 2010 Ironman UK Triathlon can register their interest at www.ironmanuk.

Written by Momo in: News |

The Day of the Triffids

The BBC is bringing The Day Of The Triffids to screens again over Christmas (December 28 and 29). Eddie photos HERE.

Written by Momo in: TV |

Eddie @Old Vic TONIGHT (12/08)

[via JoJo059 on Twitter]

“FYI via K Spacey-Eddie performs impomptu fundraiser Old Vic-11pm Tonight. Box Off opens 8pm. All tickets £25/cash only in person.”

Written by Momo in: News |

Fast Eddie gets the last laugh


eddieizzardFor a funny man, Eddie Izzard takes himself incredibly seriously.

Case in point: when I suggest that being a self-confessed “straight transvestite” is no way to get ahead with the gay mafia that is said – by the bitter, and once very powerful Hollywood agent and manager, Michael Ovitz, for one — to rule Hollywood, Izzard takes the question, well, seriously.

“No, I don’t think it’s about that,” he answers, flatly. “I’ve chosen not to chase the starring roles, as such, but concentrate instead on finding good work. And that’s been working out pretty well for me — I’ve won Tony awards, Emmy awards, and many others, by taking that particular route. And I am a straight transvestite — I can’t change that. So, that’s the end of that one.

“I actually don’t think the gay mafia would really approach me any differently, because what they’re really trying to do with everything is sell it to middle America. I’m not going to be the person to plug into that big mainstream audience. I’ve got to carve out a niche where people will go: ‘Well, that was an interesting thing. I was affected by what happened there.’ I’ve been analysing this for years — Where’s the place I can go? What’s the place I can push into? — I’ve had to take whatever work I’ve been offered and drive it into that place. And I can’t be Tom Cruise — I just can’t be him. It’s not for me. I do enough of the action hero stuff, fighting the fights that I fight in my real life.”

There was a time when Eddie Izzard was the funniest man on the planet. Back in the late 1990s, he was as good as Richard Pryor in his prime. Or Eddie Murphy in his. Monty Python elected this surrealist, stream-of-consciousness Billy Connolly as their natural successor, and honorary member. And then, as Izzard set about conquering America, and the rest of the world, through not only his stand-up but with his increasing forays into his childhood passion, acting, that edge just seemed to get buried amid all that rampant ambition.

The sort of ambition that has led Izzard into politics (he’s staunchly pro-Europe, and is considering becoming an MP), a Hollywood career (starring in the Ocean’s movies and Valkyrie, and headlining the recent TV comedy The Riches), to doing entire gigs in a foreign language (French and German so far, with Russian on the horizon), a “manifest destiny to wear a dress on all seven continents”, and, earlier this year, running a 1,100-mile marathon in seven weeks for Sport Relief.

“The first three weeks were the toughest,” he says of his charity run. “The pain was really rough, but it was an adventure. And adventures can’t always be plain sailing — that’s really boring. I was never going to give up. I was worried about injuries, especially when it came to kerbs or steps. Just the idea of twisting my ankle like that, something so small and pathetic, that really concerned me — that something stupid like that would happen. But that didn’t happen, and my body held up pretty well.”


Izzard has a documentary about his life, Believe: The Eddie Izzard Story, heading our way, which is directed by his ex-girlfriend, Sarah Townsend, and produced by his own Ella Communications. It’s not a puff piece, is it?

“Not at all. Initially, I asked Sarah to film the show, but she said she’d rather do a documentary, because she comes from the world of directing, and I thought that might be interesting because I don’t think my life has been plain sailing. And Sarah went through different edits to try and find the right story, because no one’s life reads like a drama. I look a mess in a lot of the shots, and I think it’s pretty honest. The LA Times gave it a really good review.”

Having met Izzard many times down through the years, he always struck me as a man with a plan, and a huge amount of self-belief. Has he ever had doubts?

“When I was seven, I wanted to act, and when I was 30, I started getting a career going. I was really pushing at school, trying to get into acting — I didn’t really think that child acting was on the cards — and I met someone last night who said they were in my first production. A play I wrote when I was 16, that I don’t think we ever produced. She was coming to rehearsals. I’m a relentless idiot — I will just keep pushing away. And Believe sort of reflects that.

“The journey has to be the point. I actually achieved my goal as soon as I went solo and started earning money in some form. I’ve really been quite content since then. My end goal, I would think that, stand-up wise, I’m already there. I just need to keep making that better. I have to keep twisting it. As long as it’s a challenge, the audience respond to that.”

Eddie Izzard Stripped is at the O2 on December 14

Written by Momo in: Interview |

Eddie Izzard has a good run

[from the Evening Standard]

EDDIE-IZZARDIt was no surprise that the biggest roar Eddie Izzard got last night was when he mentioned his “run” earlier this year. It takes gargantuan modesty to call 43 marathons in 51 days a “run”. And then the tailcoated comedian explained how he did it. He imagined he was being constantly chased by a bear.

The same vivid imagination powers Stripped, a supersized arena version of the theatrical set premiered last year. Izzard’s themes are evolution, religion and ancient history — nothing modest there — and he effortlessly imposes his exquisite Eddie the-eccentric perspective on things: squids use their ink to write diaries, elephant trunks wrap around necks like scarves and chickens play jazz.

Some of his topics have unexpectedly become common currency on the circuit recently. His deconstruction of Noah’s Ark — the lions would have eaten everything before it set sail — is very similar to a current Ricky Gervais routine.

His discussion of the non-existence of an omnicient diety — “if there is a God surely he would have flicked Hitler’s head off” — is positively de rigueur in post-Richard Dawkins circles.

Yet Izzard has such a wonderfully idiosyncratic style, all mimes, grimaces and umming, that he makes even familiar observations about slothful cats and energetic dogs feel fresh. And elsewhere it is exciting to see a mainstream star push intellectual boundaries. It is not every day you get gags about the battle of Thermopylae or hear the suggestion that the Bayeaux tapestry’s creators were the world’s first photojournalists.

While some asides fell flat there were also vintage moments. It is just a shame that they were a little lost in such a cavernous venue. It is fantastic to see stand-up becoming this popular but I am still not entirely convinced that it works in such a big space. Even eyes in plum position were drawn to the giant video screens and those at the back might as well have been watching the recently-released DVD version.

Of course, it is churlish to blame this aspiring politician and film star for being so popular. If he was not so good at comedy he could keep playing smaller theatres. But never mind running marathons, with his devoted fanbase he’d have to do a marathon run in the West End to satisfy everyone.

Written by Momo in: Tour Reviews |

Izzard to tackle Ironman Triathlon


EDDIE IZZARD is determined to push himself to his peak fitness after recently finishing 43 consecutive marathons – he’s now undergoing training to compete in a triathlon.

The Valkyrie star has become obsessed with exercise after finishing a mammoth seven-week run in September (09) as part of a fundraising campaign.

And Izzard has already plotted his next challenge – he’s set to swim, sprint and cycle in a long-distance triathlon race.

He says, “I’ve just started up swimming because I want to do Ironman now. It’s where you swim for five kilometres, then cycle for 180 kilometres and then you run a marathon after that – all in one go.

“I have (become fascinated with fitness) because there’s no point in throwing away all that training. Swimming is really good upper-body (training) so I’ve been taking lessons. They teach you how to swim properly and that’s great. I just want to keep up and get more healthy. Peak fitness at 90 – that’s my idea!”

And the funnyman is urging his fellow Britons to get active so they can inspire homegrown athletes who are participating in the London 2012 Olympic Games.

He adds, “We’ve got the Olympics less than a thousand days ahead and I want to encourage people to take something they used to do when they were a kid and start doing it again. We’re all living to about 100 now – unless you want the last 30 years of your life to be going really downhill, get healthy, get fit. Then we can encourage our athletes going into the Olympics to be able to have the fittest country (supporting them).”

Written by Momo in: News |


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