Eddie Izzard in NYT

My favorite comedian is featured today in The New York Times. Best article about him I’ve seen since he was interviewed by Bono for The Independent.

Great to learn that Izzard’s going on tour again. He’s the only standup comic I’ve ever paid big money to see in concert. Dress to Kill is the most extraordinary standup comedy act I’ve ever seen, and if I had to look for anything close to it, I’d end up pointing at other Izzard shows. I usually describe him by saying that the voices in the heads of Monty Python, the 70s-era Steve Martin, and the glory days of Robin Williams standup have *all* moved into Izzard’s head, and while he’s on stage, they all play inspired improvisational jazz.

Here’s what the Times says:

His humor reflects the scattershot lunacy of Monty Python, but with flashes of Robin Williams’s manic energy and a sophisticated silliness that is entirely his own. Walk into a room, say ‚”Cake? Or death,”and some people will fall on the floor laughing at the phrase from one of the most uproarious and sharpest parts of Dress to Kill. He imagined what it would have been like if the Church of England, instead of the Romans, had tried to conquer the world. It might have resembled a polite invitation to tea with the vicar, he said in the act. “Cake? Or death?”

Describing Mr. Izzard’s humor, Mr. Williams said by e-mail: “It sounds like a contradiction, but his comedy is gentle cutting edge. Kind of like a velvet razor.”

Part of this edge comes from walking onstage not knowing exactly where he’ll begin, in performances that have a sense of direction rather than a script. I saw two workshop shows a few nights apart at the Union Square Theater, and the second began with a completely fresh, high-energy rush of material, a dazzling little prologue: he danced out as though he were on Broadway, raced through a snippet about Hamlet (“Dad is dead?”), did Christopher Walken as George Bush, and said he is clueless about Broadway shows because “I’m a straight transvestite; I know nothing about musicals.”

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About Jeffrey Overstreet

Jeffrey Overstreet has two passions: writing fiction, and celebrating art — music, cinema, photography, literature — through writing and teaching. He is the author of a “memoir of dangerous moviegoing” — Through a Screen Darkly. And his four-novel fantasy series, The Auralia Thread, which begins with Auralia's Colors, was published by Random House. He speaks at universities and conferences around the world about understanding art through eyes of faith. He is earning his MFA in Creative Writing at Seattle Pacific University, where he has worked for 11 years as an editor, writer, and communications project manager. His work has been recognized in The New Yorker, TIME, The Seattle Times, IMAGE, Ravi Zacharias International — and Christianity Today, where he served as a film journalist for more than a decade. He recently began a weekly column called "Listening Closer" for Christ and Pop Culture.