Posted by: lucylastic | July 18, 2011

All about Eddie Izzard……..

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the BBC seem to be making much more of an effort to really push certain artists or events in a cohesive way these days. For example, Eddie Izzard – long one of my very favourite comedians – was on the Graham Norton show a couple of weeks ago, then he was on another chat show, there was a documentary about him called ‘Believe’, (more of which later) and a showing of his concert ‘Stripped’ which was highly entertaining. Eddie is wonderful in his approach to audiences – he starts from the premise that you are every bit as clever and classically educated as he is – woe betide you if you have no idea who Persephone is, or have no idea who the main players in Ancient Greek history were – or the weapons they use. I can’t claim to get every reference, but I thank the wonderful ‘Faithful Companions of Jesus’ from Holt Hill Convent in Birkenhead for forcing me to do Latin and Classical Studies.

But back to ‘Believe’ a documentary that pulls together Eddie’s story from the very beginning – he started dressing up in women’s clothing at age 4 and always knew he ‘was different’ but wasn’t sure why or what to do about it. He lost his mother at a young age and his father, though loving, didn’t know what to do with two young boys, (Eddie has an older brother) except send them to boarding school. Eddie quickly realised that the way to make friends and elude the bullies was to be funny – and therein stated a long determination to be a performer.

I shan’t relate the whole tale – much easier to do that on catch-up or iPlayer if you’re interested. But I did want to highlight one issue that I was outraged by………….. a few years back, the Watchdog programme decided to make an example out of Eddie for ‘recycling his jokes’. When I first saw this, I thought it was some sort of April Fool’s or other ‘fake’, but it appears to have been genuine, (if anyone knows differently and I have been duped, please do let me know)!!!!

In essence, Eddie was ‘accused’ of re-using old material and therefore ‘cheating’ audiences on a ‘£ per gag’ basis. Eddie acknowledged readily that his shows contained old material – and said very clearly, ‘I usually start off with some of the best stuff from my previous shows, then introduce the new material – over time, the new material becomes familiar and it all moves on’. This sounds fair enough to me. As a regular attendee at stand-up shows, I have seen people in the audience beg Bill Bailey to do a certain piece or song………… And as Eddie also pointed out – if you went to see the Rolling Stones, you wouldn’t complain because they performed ‘Brown Sugar’ – you want to hear their greatest hits. On the basis that the attack on Eddie was genuine, I am puzzled by a) what prompted it and b) why a more balanced inclusion of other performers wasn’t made – take out a Michael McIntyre DVD or two – he has exactly the same approach. I feel incredibly miffed on Eddie’s behalf, not least because he’s clearly a sensitive man who takes criticism and feedback very much to heart and because he doesn’t deserve to be singled out in such a horrible way. One concludes that the attack was personally motivated, which is even more horrible to contemplate.

So, hobby horse over. I shall certainly be buying tickets at the very next opportunity to see Eddie and will happily re-watch ‘Stripped’, (which I purchased after watching it for the first time on TV). Am I the only person who re-watches comedy? I love Peter Kay’s ‘Live from the Bolton Albert Halls’ – and even though I know it virtually off by heart, it makes me laugh out loud. Surely a test of the truly comedic is that it makes you laugh more than once? Let me know what you think.



  1. The Watchdog prog is a joke, forever doing “exposes” when they’ve had just a handful of people complain about something.
    I’ve never been a big fan of Eddie’s but to be honest, haven’t seen much of his stuff. I love Peter Kay (who also re-uses his material a lot), Dara O’Briaian and Sarah Millican.

  2. I have the Stripped DVD amongst my rather hefty pile of stand-up DVDs and I love them all. Sunday nights are usually when I flick through the pile, single out one that suits my mood and whizz it on to the jokes that truly make me fall off the sofa with mirth. If I’m feeling silly – Stephen K Amos, feeling tipsy – Ed Byrne, feeling quirky – Izzard, and for those moments when I simply don’t want to have to think too hard – McIntyre!

    A few of Eddie’s really great classics (Death Star Canteen, Death or Cake etc) are on youtube to the cartoon accompaniment of lego people. Exceptionally funny!

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