Apr
08
2010

Eddie Izzard And The Nature Of Believing

[from Huffington Post]

Why do we believe?

Is it a learned skill?

Or is it a gift, like faith or joy or grace?

Can we lose the ability to believe, or never have it to begin with, depending on the hand life deals us?

I’ve been ruminating on the nature of believing since watching and re-watching the new documentary film, Believe: The Eddie Izzard Story. The 90-minute film, released on DVD last month, deconstructs the career of comedian Eddie Izzard, a man who is, perhaps, the funniest person alive.

Izzard has been a favorite of mine for years. His seemingly stream-of-consciousness ramblings on everything from jam to Jesus are infectiously funny and imminently smart. I’ve seen Izzard perform live and watched, I believe, everything he’s ever committed to film — from comedy stand-up and feature-film roles (such as the voice of Reepicheep in Prince Caspian) to his virtuoso turn in the (sadly) short-lived TV series The Riches.

He is, in a word, brilliant.

Izzard, who is a transvestite and often performs in women’s clothing and full makeup, first won my heart when I watched his 1999 stand-up film, Dress to Kill. It was his mercilessly funny (and frighteningly astute) take on religion and faith that grabbed my attention and my funny bone.

Jesus: “Look Dad, I went down there, I taught ’em to hang out, be groovy, drink a bit of wine, they split into different groups! You’ve got the Catholics, the Protestants, the Jesuits, the Methodists, the Evangelicals, the free Presbyterians, the locked up Presbyterians … the Quakers, the Bakers, the Candlestick Makers … The Mormons are from Mars, Dad, we’ve had that checked out.”

God (in the voice of James Mason): “And what does the Holy Ghost think of all this?”

Jesus: “Oh, he’s useless, Dad. Got a sheet over his head these days.”

(God, in Izzard’s acts, is always Mason. And Moses — and sometimes also King Henry VIII — sounds like Sean Connery.)

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Written by Momo in: News |

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