Now, I like Eddie Izzard. I do. Like you, I watched his tapes (yes, they were tapes then) at college while doing things I can't tell my parents or any potential employers about, and his sheer commitment to ridiculousness endeared me to him in a way it did with few other comedians. Always seemingly on the verge of forgetting the entire show, always dancing to cover gaps, creating just insane stand-alone worlds in five minutes that become in-jokes between him and the audience and folded into other worlds, he's a comedian like no other.
Thing was, the last few years, he's gone pretty serious. I saw him a couple of times in that period, and aside from a notable section that involved monkeys serenading the Pope, there was a great deal more weightiness to his thoughts. I don't begrudge a comedian that, obviously, it just detracted from the insanity that made previous shows so enjoyable.
So I approached last night's show at the Majestic with a little bit of caution. Since becoming more active in UK politics, I feared maybe Eddie's whimsy had gone. Thankfully, I was very wrong.
Last night Izzard looked like he was enjoying stand-up again. Delivering a sprawling two hour-plus show, there was barely a break in the whimsy and silliness, the mime was out in full force, characters (mostly named Steve) were created and killed again, and where Izzard had maybe seemed more wary of his extensive joke back catalogue on previous tours, this time round he positively embraced it, to the extent where a few of the bits were more of a greatest hits remix. God, who sounded exactly like Darth Vader, was added to the Death Star Cantina alongside a confused Darth Vader, before a show-stopping bizarre musical number brought a standing ovation from the Majestic.
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Before the slight career dip a lot of Izzard's silliness was historically based, and thankfully this too has returned, with an enjoyable explanation of Charles I (Charlie One, the Dickhead King), and the recurring character of Ghenghis Khan, played by Sean Connery. Izzard gleefully skewers his own ego as a performer and is more physically active than he's been for years.
The show culminates in a bizarre interpretation of Lord of the Rings that involves a chicken that's meant to be Marc Anthony, a dinner tray-wielding Mr. Stevens, Liam Neeson as Zeus, intense mathematical calculations, and moles in search of ice cream. It means absolutely nothing whatsoever, and that's when Izzard's at his best.
I don't want to spoil a lot of the content if you're going tonight, but if you don't have a ticket and you're a fan of the earlier, classic Izzard stand-up, you need to beg, borrow, or steal one for his last night at the Majestic. Eddie's back.