Thursday, June 19, 2008

eddie izzard, stripped

I traveled down to Tampa on the 17th to see Eddie Izzard's show "Stripped." I have very mixed feelings about the show. For the first 30-45 minutes (I have no idea how long), Izzard was on an improv-high and joked about Tampa's name and how hot it is. He pulled out his iPhone and, while waiting for Wikipedia to load, he said Tampa was discovered by Captain Tampa... which was false but everyone believed him anyway. (I wonder how many people get this historical facts from Izzard?) Then he told us we were used to the hot weather, to which a resounding "NOOOO" came his way. Then he went on a clever bit about worshipping air conditioning, and he created a scenario where AC was like heroin and that it can be handed out on shady corners of the street. "I need to get my AC fix." Then out of nowhere, he says, "By the way, the show hasn't actually started yet." The improv bit was funny, but scattered, as improv tends to be.

But then his show officially began and he went through the history of civilization. He talked about Egyptians ("who then all died in a car crash"), then moved on to the Greeks ("who then all died in a car crash"). Then he went on a rather long riff about God... which surprisingly didn't make too many people uncomfortable. He pretty much said he doesn't believe in God - certainly not the Judeo-Christian God, and perhaps I have been soaking in conservative American ideology for so long that I forgot being non-Christian is not a taboo everywhere. He joked, "I have two problems with Intelligent Design. The intelligent part, and... the design." Then, a bit later, he pretended to be an agitated Appendix: "Hello. Intelligent Design? This is the appendix. (pause) What the fuck?" Pretty much sums up Intelligent Design's problems to me. It also covers evolution. We humans have evolved so that we no longer need an appendix. And then Izzard brought up monkeys and the Monkey Trial (not referring to the Scopes Trial, btw), which lead to thoughts on evolution. "And Charles Darwin of course wrote the book, as you know, entitled Monkey Monkey Monkey Monkey You." I clapped really loud and hard on that joke.

But he did recycle a giraffe charades bit from two years ago, but since he hasn't been on tour in five years, the material is actually new. But it makes me wonder how much of this is fresh to him? Why do a tour unless it's to keep you fresh and new?

Because I've seen Circle and Dress to Kill enough times to incorporate the jokes into my everyday life (you wouldn't believe how often "I'm covered in BEEEEES" and comes up), I kind of felt like his material was borrowed... from himself. He's already talked about the Greeks and God. Or perhaps I wanted more coverage of the history of civilization... he could've made jokes about the Renaissance, certainly. I haven't heard a good da Vinci joke in a while (...or ever). My thoughts are also mixed because his stand-up is a bit like a coversation. He tends to reference moments in history but forget the name, and you want to shout out, "No, Claudius killed Hamlet's dad!" (Although, Izzard did a seat-of-the-pants 60-second version of Hamlet that was AMAZING. But I suspect that some audience members haven't read/seen the play... so the name Polonius was lost on them, which is unfortunate because he has the most ridiculous death in the history of fictional deaths.) So... yeah. I want him to be my friend. I want to watch The History Channel with him and make fun of how absurd the world is, and how the absurdities actually make it interesting. I'd want him to be my history teacher, rather than the guy I had who only called British people "pissants" which took me three weeks to figure out! And because of his casual demeanor on stage, sometimes his insanely clever jokes weren't laugh-out-loud funny. Cleverness requires chuckles... but not necessarily gut-busting laughter, unlike - and it doesn't matter where you go, they will always find you - this woman 300 people away from me who laughed at every major and minor joke like she was fueling the city on her cackle alone. (And it was a cackle.) Has no one told her how obnoxious her laugh is? How has she gotten this far in life, laughing like that?

My favorite joke of the evening came from a bit where he talked about God creating the world in six days... and how the Bible portrays it. He said, "If I were God, my first line in the Bible would've been, 'By the way, it's round...'"

I would still marry him in a heartbeat, and, now that I think of it, he's exactly the type of man I would want to marry.

And just for fun... here're some Lego reenactments of some of his popular sketches:
Guns don't kill people - but they certainly help!
Cake or death? - Death... no wait, CAKE!
Cunning use of flags - No flag, no country!
And the greatest sketch EVER - Deathstar Canteen - This is a star?

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