Eddie Izzard: Work in Progress: Culture Project 5 February 2013

This is not the first time I’ve seen Eddie Izzard in a small theater. In fact I saw him at a late show at Culture Project a few years ago. This is another of his workshops – a month of shows (two a night!) developing what will become the material for his Force Majeure world tour this spring. One show will be entirely in French. Eddie is familiar with marathons, having run 43 marathons in the UK in 51 days in 2009. So this should be cake. Or death?

There are only 300 seats surrounding a small riser. There was music – Beatles, Elton John – and as the Monkees started “I’m a Believer” Eddie quietly walked on stage. His hair is short and he still has the goatee. His eyes are an incredible blue and close up you can see the dimples when he smiles. He had on a tuxedo jacket, jeans, and cowboy boots. And his nails were spectacular – long and manicured in a deep red except for the ring fingers, which were blue.

It’s a 90-minute show and Eddie started out slow but forceful telling us that he was sure there was no god. The show proceeded like his others – there was progressive politics and history lessons. When he talked about French commercials in other countries, he was surprised to find out that we don’t have them in the US. There was a conversation about Growl because Eddie had been ignoring it when it popped on his computer and had no idea what it was and an audience member just started explaining the uses of the Mac OS X notification system. We all sat quietly while the two of them had a conversation.

There were jokes that didn’t work and Eddie made note of them and others that worked very well. I spent most of the 90 minutes laughing and when I wasn’t laughing I was staring at Eddie because he is just beautiful when you see him up close. Sometimes the jokes that don’t work are even better because it takes Eddie seconds to recover and take us back someplace funny.

You have to pay attention. Eddie takes us from human sacrifice to Charles’ beheading to Cromwell to British tai chi and Funny Face. Drift off for a second and you’ll be lost.

The show is very funny and will only get funnier as Eddie works out the kinks. Lucky for us, rtb and I have plans to see the show again later this month.

By Carene Lydia Lopez