Eddie Izzard’s Comedy of Belief

[from Killing the Buddah]

“As the progeny of a hippie college professor/Episcopal priest who dropped acid with Timothy Leary, I received an admittedly eclectic religious education. How many nine year olds can recite the Lord’s Prayer along with the lyrics to “The Vatican Rag” and “Plastic Jesus?” While other kids were watching the Three Stooges and other classic American fare, my tastes drew me across the pond where I got hooked on Monty Python’s Flying Circus and The Goodies.

My Pythonesque journey took me to the religious universes of Lenny Bruce and George Carlin, two comedians who helped me to deconstruct the world of organized religion during that period when my home life detonated. When I first started writing satire, I got turned on to the religious rants of Bill Hicks, an American comic with a definite British sensibility. By the time I caught Eddie Izzard’s HBO performance Dressed to Kill (1999), I had become a full-blown comedy junkie, devouring the likes of Jonathan Swift, Richard Pryor, P.J. O’Rourke, Molly Ivins, and Steve Allen.

Given how much Izzard’s astute observations of religion and politics helped inform my own development as a satirist, I eagerly picked up a copy of the Eddie Izzard documentary Believe, thinking I might glean some insights as to the formation of his religious beliefs. At the very least, I was hoping this surrealist might explore how he inhabited the body of satirist Lenny Bruce during a 1999 limited run production of Julian Barry’s 1971 play Lenny…”


Written by Momo in: News |

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