Friday, February 15, 2008

Eddie Izzard (Union Square Theatre)

BOTTOM LINE: British humor...I mean its finest.

Ok you caught me, Eddie Izzard is a comedian and Theatre is Easy doesn't cover comedy... but we're making an exception because Izzard is playing a whopping 3 week run in New York and well, he's really funny. We would feel bad not letting you know about it. So why is Eddie Izzard so funny? His schtick is simply the rambling, rehashing of facts and references, in a dry and unabashedly sarcastic British way. But somehow Izzard's interpretation of giraffes conversing makes me laugh so hard I cry.

If you're not familiar with Izzard, that's probably because he's somewhat of a cult comedian favorite with an eclectic following. His comedy career began in Britain in the early 90s and according to his Wikipedia page his US breakthrough came in 1999 when his act 'Dress to Kill" was shown on HBO. (By the way, I feel totally okay citing Wikipedia as a source because a large part of Izzard's show involves his reverance for the website.) Izzard is also an actor and he's done a lot on stage and on film. He starred in last year's FX drama "The Riches" with Minnie Driver and also played Mr. Kite in Julie Taymor's Beatles love-fest "Across the Universe."

Izzard's comedy style is everything that's good about British wit. It has a Monty Python feel, but without the slapstick, although a lot of it is visual (i.e. snakes on speedboats in the Garden of Eden). His subject matter is relatable, but not in that cultural, self-depricating way like those redneck American comedians. It's relatable on a grander scale, referring to pop-culture, religion, human history and other topics that are common among all of us. And Izzard is a personal library of random facts...either that or he's an amazing bullshitter...maybe a little of both. Either way, he turns Stonehenge and ancient Greece into fodder for fantastic comedy. Izzard's act is mostly improv comedy and he lets his snarky British pretention drive his subject matter. I'm not sure how much the show varies from night to night, but I'm pretty familiar with Izzard's past shows and almost all of what I heard this time was new.

If you are already an Eddie Izzard fan, you owe it to yourself to check out his new show, especially while he's here in New York (where he rarely plays, although he performs a lot in L.A.). If you're not familiar with his work but you like British comedy, you're probably a big fan and you just don't know it yet.

(Eddie Izzard performs at the Union Square Theatre from now through March 8, Monday through Saturday at 10:30pm. Tickets are $40, available at


molly said...

"The Riches" is back! (thanks, Season 2 Premiere is March 18th at 10pm on FX.

Anonymous said...

i LOVE Eddie Izzard! Glorious might be my favorite DVD ever. Plus his role in the Ocean's movie is great. Love this review.