There aren’t many stand-up comics who are beloved international superstars, perform in four languages, run marathons for charity, and have become a poster boy for transvestites.
OK, there’s only one.
He’s Eddie Izzard, the British comedian who will play the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts in Santa Rosa on June 17, beginning a six-day dash through the Bay Area. Izzard arrives as part of a world tour that has taken him from Cardiff to Katmandu. While Izzard has sold out New York’s massive Madison Square Garden, he’s coming to Wine Country to play the more intimate, 1,600-seat Wells Fargo theater.
Izzard’s act is a joy ride of free-associating absurdist humor, so much so that John Cleese, the legendary comedian from Monty Python’s Flying Circus, calls Izzard the “Lost Python.” His narratives skip like a stone across a pond, bouncing from the predictability of British movies (“They usually involve a room with a view, and a staircase, and a pond”), to using Monterey Jack cheese as a weapon, or the relationship between fake breasts and jellyfish. Then he’ll admire the cleverness of the average pear, which is only ripe for a half-hour, often when you’ve just left the room.
It’s all served with crooked smiles, eye rolls, quick stops and self-deprecating warmth. “Must not do that joke again,” he’ll say as he pretends to write on his hand after a joke bombs.
Wrap all this in stage garb that can often be, well, lively. Izzard is a handsome man, all beefy and blond, but he’s performed in boots, nail polish and red lipstick, with fishnet stockings and a slit skirt — a look he describes as “male lesbian.”
While some of his peers spend their off-hours collecting Porsches or engaging in Twitter feuds, the 53-year-old Izzard pushes himself, mentally and physically. His life slogan is, “We Can All Do More Than We Think We Can Do.” Izzard has certainly proved that. He loves language and has done shows in English, French, German and Spanish. Izzard once ran 43 marathons in 52 days, raising money for the Sport Relief charity.
Izzard also has a keen interest in current events and plans to run for mayor of London in 2020. “Being a transvestite has toughened me for politics,” he said.