Because I’m obsessively subscribed to most of the theater mailing lists in Manhattan, I was fortunate enough to get a heads up that one Eddie Izzard (comedian, actor, documentarian, tv star, marathon runner and goodness knows what else) was coming to 45 Bleecker Street for a one night engagement. His next appearance here will be in January at Madison Square Garden, will cost a mint and be in a smelly arena…. so naturally I lept at the chance to see him in a 199-person venue for $25, and off we went.
What I love most about him, besides his ability to conceive and pull off looks like the following:
is how smart he is. This performance was basically a trial run for his American tour, so he was putting "scenes" together (where lesser comics have jokes, he has scenes complete with multiple characters and pantomime and awesomeness) and improvising and even taking callouts from the audience when he needed to think of a "B" animal or something. The last show of his I watched on DVD (where the above still comes from) was Dressed to Kill and as I recall had lots of material about relationships and love and such. This one is about being an atheist, so he spends a lot of time dissecting the Bible with logic in a very silly way, and also about the History of the World, so he’s delving into evolution and Greco-Roman history and then there was talk of animals and…
His shows really take you places – at once point he was doing a bit about the Stone Age and pantomimed the first guy who killed a bison with a rock, or something, and then mimed skinning it, and then a few minute later when he’d moved on into a different scene, he still stepped around where the bison had fallen. And we all knew exactly why he’d sidestepped without his breaking into a laugh and explaining himself.
In between bouts of absolute silliness (possibly my very favorite thing), he messed about with language, and at one point during a Noah’s Ark story ("Well there must have been a canteen") managed to segue into one of his best known routines about Darth Vader at the canteen on the Death Star. Instead of proceeding with the scene people were begging for, he pulled out his iPhone and played an mp3 into the mike!
Anyway, I had lots more to say when I started this entry this morning but it’s all gone now and I can only say that it made me sublimely happy to be at an exclusive-ish event (where John Leguizamo also was!!), laughing nearly constantly for 2.5 hours, and never once having to stop and cringe because the humor had gone to a vulgar or a sexist or a homophobic place like it so often does with the stand-up I see in the city.
In two weeks I’ll be seeing Mike Birbiglia, who is an American comic and story teller, also smart, and cute, and very clever.
Moar like dese, plz.