Preview: Eddie Izzard at the Liverpool Empire
With the comedy legend coming to the Liverpool Empire in November, Alan Parry takes a look at Eddie Izzard’s incredible career.
On November 7 2019, the incomparable Eddie Izzard will hit the Liverpool Empire for one night only. The gig is part of the gargantuan world tour Wunderbar, his first for five years.
In the meantime, Izzard has been a very busy bee, getting involved in just about everything else possible, including a bid to be elected to the Labour Party NEC, the running of 27 marathons in 27 days in aid of Sport Relief, and starring as Prince of Wales in Victoria and Abdul. But we are beyond excited to have this vis major back in our city doing what he does better than most; making us laugh.
Some words get banded about too readily, genius is one. But Izzard is probably as close to genius as we have seen on the comedy scene for a generation. His brilliance is there for everybody to see. It’s true that he’s often silly, but there is just so much substance and so many layers to his work that it would be ignorant to dismiss him as a clown.
Above all else, Izzard deserves his reputation as one of the greatest stand ups, not just of his generation, but of all time because of his craftsmanship, which was famously forged during a period performing as a street artist. The dude has put in the leg-work, and it tells.
Further, if you have doubts about my reliability as a source, just look at what his peers have to say about the man, he was once touted as being the ‘lost Python‘ by none other than John Cleese, high praise indeed. In 2011, as part of a comedy census ran by Dave, Izzard was named, by his peers, as the third best British stand up of all time behind only Daniel Kitson and Billy Connolly. He is true comedy royalty.
Stylistically, he is probably best defined as a surrealist. But it would be wrong to pigeon hole the man. He is both genre defining, and oh so familiar. Listening to him ramble and switch between topics at the pace at which he does without ever missing a beat, without ever losing his way is akin to the great storytelling traditions which are as old as time. But his characterisation, his authority and authenticity in terms of subject knowledge is unparalleled. Add to this his working in foreign languages and his ability to make his often high brow, elitist themes accessible to such a wide audience and it becomes easy to understand why so many hold him in such high regard.
I consider myself lucky to have seen those other two artists named in the top three of the comedian’s comedians, but to get the hat trick would be a dream come true. Despite being an older statesman now, with a plethora of up and coming, politically minded comics working across the world, there is nobody I would rather spend my November evening watching.
Putting it simply, do not miss this opportunity, because there is no telling what he will be trying his hand at next.
Eddie Izzard plays Liverpool’s Empire Theatre on Thursday 7th November 2019. Tickets are available now.