Eddie Izzard – The Original Executive Transvestite
Born on February 7, 1962, to British parents who were in Yemin on business, Eddie Izzard has lead a life less ordinary and he’s done it with his own sense of style.
Yes, he is/was a transvestite, and he has been known to dress in drag on many occasions (although not as much lately). He is not gay. He describes himself essentially, as a male lesbian. When he’s been asked why he wear’s dresses or skirts, he has said that women can wear pants whenever they want (for heaven’s sake, the GAP actually advertised “boyfriend” pants for women), so he can wear a dress when he wants. Fair clothing for all! I can hang with that.
Eddie first appeared on the stage in London’s West End in 1993. Now, 14 years later, Eddie Izzard has had three Emmy nominations (two of which he won, which was a surprise to Chris Rock as well as David Letterman’s writers, who lost to Izzard), An Oliver Award nomination, two British Comedy Awards, a Tony Award nomination and best of all, John Cleese declared Eddie to be the “Lost Python”, which, I personally feel, is the highest praise any comedian could ever attain.
While Eddie virgins might be a bit stunned by Eddie’s appearance, he has a knack for putting people at ease in very short order. The first time I ever saw him was on Dress To Kill and when I saw him I immediately prejudged him and was expecting nothing but gay and drag queen jokes. Eddie flushed that notion rather quickly. After informing us that he is an Executive Transvestite, straight, and shares where he kept his makeup hidden when he was a kid, he then proceeds to teach us about world leaders, puberty, losing his virginity, the Bible, history, and even gave us a French lesson. I don’t speak French, but he did a whole chunk of his act in French and I understood it, not only that, but I actually laughed.
Eddie is wonderfully accessible, highly educational and just flat out fun. There is a fearlessness in the way he carries himself, and in the movie and stage roles that he chooses, as well as the topics that he covers in his stand-up acts. He is amazingly relatable.
Presently, Eddie has a TV show on TNT called The Riches, where he and his family of modern day gypsies are in the process of literally stealing the American dream. The humor of the show is dry, but quite present, and the performances by Eddie and Minnie Driver, not to mention the actors who play their children, are solid and compelling. I love that the TV audience is giving this show the chance to succeed because the story potential is practically unlimited. And Eddie’s ability to play a con is absolutely seamless and beautiful to watch. If watching The Riches is your first introduction to Eddie, then his stand-up routines will stun you. His intelligence is ever-present in everything he does…no matter how different the characters may be from one project to the next.
His movie credits include Ocean’s 12, Ocean’s 13, My Super Ex-Girlfriend, The Wild (where he brilliantly gave his comedic talents to a Koala Bear (and he stole the movie in much the same way that the Penguins stole the show in Madagascar), and currently you can catch him as Reepicheep in The Chronicles Of Narnia: Prince Caspian. For more on his list of credits, check him out on http://www.imdb.com/.
Eddie Izzard is a man who is not above taking chances by any means, and his execution of those chances makes him nothing short of radiant. His approach to life, being who he really is, the state of the world, and acting are a bright example of what embracing your own individuality can do for you. Eddie simply is who he is, and if you don’t like him, he will still go on being exactly who he is. And the fact that he is so comfortable in his own skin gives him a great deal of credibility, and makes his performances resonate with authority, open humor and a matter-of-factness that keeps you coming back time and again. Where else are you going to find someone who refers to certain fruits like oranges and pears, as “Stalinist”.
My two favorite performances are “Dress To Kill” and “Definite Article”. I have all of his concerts on DVD except for Sexie. Get them. Watch them, Learn from them. He’s the only person I know of who noticed that the empires of old took over entire countries with the “cunning use of flags” and explained the process perfectly. Just to give you a taste of what’s been on Eddie’s mind over the years, here are some of my favorite quotes.
“If you've never seen an elephant ski, you've never been on acid.”
“I grew up in Europe, where the history comes from.”
“So in Europe, we had empires. Everyone had them - France and Spain and Britain and Turkey… The Ottoman Empire… full of furniture for some reason. And the Austro-Hungarian Empire, famous for $@ck all! Yes, all they did was slowly collapse like a flan in a cupboard.”
“So the American government lied to the Native Americans for many, many years, and then President Clinton lied about a relationship, and everyone was surprised! A little naïve, I feel!”
Pol Pot killed one point seven million Cambodians, died under house arrest, well done there. Stalin killed many millions, died in his bed, aged seventy-two… well done indeed. And the reason we let them get away with it is they killed their own people. And we're sort of fine with that. Hitler killed people next door. Oh, stupid man. After a couple of years we won't stand for that, will we!?”
“"Every free citizen of the world is a citizen of Berlin and so I say to you all 'ich bin ien Berliner'".. and the crowd went $@ckin' wild. Trouble is.. “ich bin ien Berliner” means “I am a donut.”.”
“I like my coffee like I like my women. In a plastic cup.”
“I'm an action transvestite really, so it's running, jumping, climbing trees... putting on make-up when you're up there!”
“Never put a sock in a toaster.”
“Who has ever heard of an evil giraffe? “I am an evil herbivore. I shall eat more leaves from this tree than I should. I will eat all of the leaves from this tree, so that other giraffes may die”.
“How’s that maneuver coming along Dr. Heimlich?”
“Well, not so well at the moment... it’s more of a gesture.”
“I’m Robin Hood! I rob from the rich and give to the poor! Are you Rich?”
“No…no, I’m comfortable”.
“Well that won’t do. I can’t steal from the comfortable and give to the moderately impoverished.”
Eddie just proves to me that stand-up comedians like himself are the true modern philosophers of our times. Like Plato, Aristotle and Socrates, the look at the way the world works and how everything functions in it, and they manage to smile wryly and take note and deliver a verbal shrug that makes us laugh at the insanity, and in some cases, the stupidity of it all. Thanks to people like him, the old adage of “If you can laugh at it, you can live with it” holds.
Want more Eddie? Try these links!
Dress to Kill
The Riches - Season 1
Eddie Izzard - Glorious
Eddie Izzard - Definite Article
Eddie Izzard - Circle
Eddie Izzard - Unrepeatable
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