The Izzard of HAs

By Michael Benninger

Stage and screen star Eddie Izzard kicked off his Force Majeure tour in Bucharest, Romania, in 2013. Five continents and 27 countries later, he finally arrived in the United States in mid-May. In advance of his June 4 performance at downtown's Civic Theatre, the wickedly intelligent cross-dressing comic spoke with PacificSD about his show, social media and out-of-this-world aspirations.

How do you describe your act?
EDDIE IZZARD: I'm very influenced by Monty Python crossed with Richard Pryor crossed with Steve Martin stuff - a sort of amalgamation of that. Anyone who wants to know what it's like, go watch the Death Star Canteen piece [on YouTube]. It's intelligent but very silly. If you like surreal, intelligent comedy that has a point and is kind of off-the-wall, then that's great. If you like your mainstream stuff and just want packaged, simple stuff, then you're going to hate my stuff.

Will your act change a lot for the U.S. audience?
No. What I want to do is have a show that the entire world gets. So, I feel that, if I go to San Diego and I do a different show than the one I did in the Moscow or St. Petersberg, that's not going to bring the world together. In fact, I do this whole joke about Martin Luther, the Catholic priest who wrote 95 theses against the pope and nailed them to the door of the church back in Germany. So I talk about that, but I do the scene in German. I thought it would work in English, but it didn't, so I do it in German. When I do it in San Diego, I'll do it in German, knowing that the kids in Berlin laughed at it, the kids in Moscow laughed at it, as they did in St. Petersburg and in Johannesburg and Cape Town and Reykjavik and Istanbul. So, I think it's a unifying thing. And I assume the intelligence of my audience, so the kids in San Diego will get it the same way the people of Moscow got it.

You've have a huge online following. What are your views on social media?
I must admit that I see it as being a valuable thing that can go negative or positive. You can learn how to save a life online and you can learn how to build a bomb online. This is the problem with all new inventions as we move forward. I like it; I use it. I can do pop-up gigs; that's what's wonderful. I announced a gig at 12 noon and I played it the same day at 8 p.m. in a 500-seater in the northwest of England. I love doing that. And you can get messages out there. As a UNICEF ambassador, I can put forth more positive ideas politically.

Is there a dream role or gig you'd like to land one day?
Richard III, I want to do at a certain point. And I always said that I'd like to do a gig on the moon, if NASA were going to put pods up there, but I think that's cost prohibitive. Once I've learned Russian, I'd like to do a gig in the International Space Station, a very intimate gig. Maybe just go up there and hang out with everyone. So, I will be performing in Russian within the next two years.

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6/4 Eddie Izzard @ San Diego Civic Theatre
1100 Third Ave., Downtown
619.570.1100, sandiegotheatres.org

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