One Word Improv: Albery Theatre, London, 1995
Eddie Izzard: Definite Article: Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, 1997
Eddie Izzard: Force Majeure Reloaded: Palace Theatre, London, 2016
Eddie Izzard: Wunderbar (WIP): Angel Comedy, The Bill Murray pub, Islington, London, 2019
Eddie Izzard: Expectations of Great Expectations (WIP): Assembly George Square Studios, Edinburgh, 2019
Stand Up for Jeremy Hardy: Hammersmith Apollo, London, 2022
I first saw Eddie Izzard appear in London’s West End on stage in the show One Word Improv alongside Neil Mullarkey, Suki Webster and Stephen Frost. As the title suggested, the group acted out improvisational scenes based on one word given by a member of the audience. It was clear then that Izzard had an exceptional comic brain and shone that night easily making the audience laugh at any given situation.
I next saw the comedian two years later in Manchester performing a solo show Definite Article. The comic was by now a clear comic force and the rambling whimsical monologues were off the scale. The routine involving French language classes was worth the price of admission alone.
I saw Izzard again performing a sell-out run of Force Majeure Reloaded at the Palace Theatre in London in 2016. The comedian had finished a world tour with the show and was fluent in several languages performing it in French and German among others. Izzard seemed to be in total control of the audience and was astonishingly funny on everything from ancient civilizations to mythical creatures not forgetting an incredible feat of running 43 marathons n 51 days in aid for charity.
Getting across London from South to North in a snowstorm to get to the Bill Murray pub to see one of Britain’s most popular comedians, I was exhausted on arrival to the venue, as I opened the door, I saw beaming comedian Hattie Hayridge. Hayridge was queueing to get in to see the record-breaking comedy superstar Izzard perform a try out show in January 2019 for the new tour Wunderbar. I chatted with Heyridge for a while who was as ever lovely before taking my seat. Izzard is one of the greatest story tellers and improvisers and his confidence on stage always appears to be staggering. For an hour and half, the audience were in the palm of his hand as he recounted hilarious stories and created successful work-in-progress routines that included subjects such as animals becoming superheroes to his utterly charming and unique comic take on history, love and life.
Towards the end of the show, Izzard talked tenderly and lovingly about the passing of father and how the comedian had spoken along with brother at the funeral. The congregation was told dad’s favourite joke involving a rabbit and his struggle to ask for a carrot in a shop. My aunt sadly passed away at Christmas and my brother and myself spoke separately at her funeral. My brother talked about my aunt’s favourite joke which was almost identical to Izzard’s only this time involving a man struggling to ask a shop keeper for a bun to go with his drink. I have been telling this joke (to anyone who is willing to listen) for over forty years since my dearly departed Aunt told it to me when I was four years old. Admittedly, it is not the greatest joke, but I hold it very dear to my heart. As Izzard told the joke with similar circumstances to his very excited audience, I sat amazed and overwhelmed at what had happened. Izzard delivered the closing intelligent monologue and wrapped the show up brilliantly.
The comedy actor returned to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August 2019 where I saw Izzard perform a work in progress show based on Charles Dicken’s famous novel Great Expectations. Following in Dicken’s path, the warm-up show saw Izzard combine comedy and acting skills where a variety of comic accents became characters with enactment and interpretation of the classic author’s much-loved story. It was great to have the chance to see the comedy star perform such great work in an intimate atmosphere.
Izzard made a special guest appearance at the memorial show Stand Up for Jeremy Hardy at the Hammersmith Apollo, London in January 2022. Describing a tiger’s anxiety created a blisteringly funny routine and the comedian was loved by the audience.
Izzard’s stamina and ambition is incredible. The longevity of the comedian has become one of the deserved greats of modern comedy.