It has taken him 15 years to get to the point where he can perform at l’Olympia, where Edith Piaf once sang – 'un rêve’ which he has had since '******* longtemps’ – in front of an audience of 1,800 people.It’s a (literally) vintage Izzard show, covering the ascent of man, why he doesn’t believe in God, the different mentality of the PC and the Apple Mac, the impossibility of Noah’s Ark (if it were real, for one thing, all the animals would be dead except for the lions and the tigers), a giraffe signalling lion-danger through charades and a cough, and a jazz-crowing cockerel.There are nods to the French (s’il vous plaît, no more holes in the ground for WCs, they make it hard to balance your i Pad, for one thing – and how come there’s no broccoli, just endless haricots verts?), jokes in the subjunctive (for which he takes a bow), building up to a finale of a meditation on the frustrations of communicating in Latin ('quod the ****’) with reference to Hannibal’s defeat, all woven together in a typically ingenious, surreal arc.
And I told everyone I was a transvestite, and got these nails, and came out when I was 23. “Pagan” is a word that’s mongrel, that’s been demonized—and “pagan” sounds like “stupid religions.” But they were the religions that people had—the Greek and the Roman gods and all that. I didn’t get to a psychiatrist so in the end when I was coming out, I did a lot of self-analysis. So on one hand you have analysis, on the other hand you have instinct, and you try to go forward with a positive heart.
It is actually a gift because women talk to me in a different way.
If I had more makeup on and was more girly, I think I’d be more sensitive to it, but I’m able to walk around in heels and nails and not give a monkey’s blok about it. I’ll get right on that and make sure it happens.” Still nothing came through.
The show is Stripped – which he toured in the UK in 2009 – but with a difference: this is all in French, which is quite an achievement, particularly considering it’s a 90-minute show.
He spent three months living in Paris last year, polishing his French, performing in French (the young, hip French stand-ups are all fous for Izzard) and living as a Frenchman.
Eddie Izzard is as strong-willed and tenacious as a three-legged Mountain Rescue dog.