Eddie Izzard earns his gold

[from Ottawa Citizen]

The World According to Eddie Izzard is furnished with its own comedic logic.

It is a linguistic playground where he juggles with words and groups of words.

Occasionally, he meanders aimlessly to a dead end and finds there is nothing either meaningful or funny left to say. Whoops. He mimes the writing of a note to himself on the palm of his hand: “Don’t go there again, Eddie — at least not until you can find a punch line.”

Izzard graced the stage of the National Arts Centre on Friday dressed in jeans and tails — stiletto heels on his feet, extravagant makeup on his face and bright red polish on his nails; a drag queen without the dress, hair and other accoutrement.

The drag/transvestite shtick has served him well, but lately, he has been appearing sans dress — one stiletto in, one stiletto out, perhaps a deliberate weaning process for the segment of his loyal audience who prefer to see him in gowns.

He says repeatedly that he’s a transvestite but like many Englishmen who have made handsome livings dressing up onstage as flamboyant women, he has borrowed from a theatrical tradition that dates back to when Shakespeare was a lad.

He has been deliberately vague about his sexuality, referring to himself as a straight transvestite or male lesbian or a complete boy plus half a girl — it’s all on his Wikipedia page. He is what he is; whatever he is.

Most important, of course, he can be very funny.

Like all skilled and seasoned stand-up comedians, Izzard tethers himself to a theme and floats on a stream of free association.

Sometimes he’s brilliant, buoyant and side-splittingly hilarious; at other times he struggles and sags.

He was trying out some new material.

“That’ll be funny in a couple of days,” he said, after one of his riffs petered out.

When it didn’t work, he did the “note to self” thing, made a joke of it and everybody laughed. A smart safety net to save a wounded gag from death

Izzard’s theme on this short Canadian tour is ‘Eddie’s History of the World’ from start to where we’re at now. As a warm-up he digs weakly at the Royal Family — an easy target in the colonies — and moves on to God before delving into creationism and Darwinism.

He got into his stride and seemed more comfortable after the intermission. He was at his funniest and smartest during a 15-minute or so ramble about the evolution of language, replete with pidgin Latin –pidgin everything really.

The capacity crowd greeted him with a rapturous standing ovation and bid him farewell with equal enthusiasm.

That’s gold for any performer and Eddie’s earned it.

Written by Momo in: Tour Reviews |

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