The Hippo


Jul 22, 2019








Eddie Izzard. Courtesy photo.

Eddie Izzard – Force Majeure Tour

When: Sunday, July 31, 8 p.m.
Where: Capitol Center for the Arts, 44 South Main Street, Concord 
Tickets: $48 & $58 at

Marathon man
Comedian Izzard comes to Concord

By Michael Witthaus

The late James Brown may be remembered as the hardest-working man in show business, but Eddie Izzard is a living and breathing embodiment of the title. For the past three-plus years, the comic has toured constantly with his Force Majeure one-man show. He’s performed it in 28 countries — so far.
The title of his tour is aptly chosen; it translates to “Superior Force.” This year, he played a five-week run in London’s West End, and later campaigned against the Brexit initiative in his home country. Openly transgender since the 1980s, he donned a dress and heels and visited 31 cities. Back in 2009, he ran 43 marathons in 51 days, with a bare amount of training and no prior running experience. 
In a recent phone interview; Izzard claimed his globetrotting could last indefinitely. 
“After a while you don’t know if there are any rules for how long a tour can be,” he said. “I’m going to do it in China eventually.”
Izzard is a world comic, well beyond his many passport stamps. Born in Yemen and raised in the U.K., he claims to think like an American and has done his entire act in German, Spanish and French. The latter performance happened in Paris, a memorable stop on the tour. 
“The Olympia Theatre, where Jacques Brel, Edit Piaf and David Bowie all played, and it was sold out; that was a good thing.”
He claimed that the only experiences topping the moment for him were performing in Moscow and selling out the Hollywood Bowl — he’s the only comic to do that.
Izzard stops in Concord on Sunday, July 31, part of an East Coast jaunt stopping in seven states. 
“I’m hoping to play all 50 states, which I’m told will be the first time a comedian has done that with one show,” Izzard said. 
Actually, Henry Rollins did that during the 2012 election, also playing the Capitol Center, but technically he’s not a comic. 
“I am very happy to be following in Henry’s footsteps,” Izzard said. “I know him, and he’s great; so well done to Henry.”
What does working in front of so many diverse audiences reveal to him about the world’s condition? 
“What I’ll be playing in New Hampshire is the same stuff that the kids laughed at in Moscow, Nuremberg, Istanbul, France and Berlin,” he said. “It’s beautiful the way they respond. ... They’re not heading backward, but toward the 21st century.”
His rapid-fire show challenges conventional wisdom, dissects religion — Izzard is an agnostic turned atheist — and drops plenty of logic bombs. Audiences can get breathless trying to keep up, but he steadfastly avoids politics in his act. That’s something of a feat for a man who plans to run for Parliament in 2020.
“Well, my material isn’t topical. I’m never like ‘Oh, Trump’s here,’ because if you watched it five years from now you’d go, what’s that about,” he said. “But I do change and move it around. I’m constantly distilling it and refining it down to a better material.”
In public life, however, he’s vocal about his causes. He came out as transgender at a time when most people had no idea what the term meant. Izzard views his recent unsuccessful campaign merely as an opening salvo; while the Brexit vote is disappointing, he’s not deterred. 
“There are a lot of young people who want their future, so we carry on fighting,” he said. “I came out 31 years ago and it hasn’t been an easy fight for me [but] I will fight to my last dying breath for humanity. Live and let live and head towards a world where everyone has a fair chance. That’s how it works.”
If that sounds like a speech that’s because it’s an articulation of something that will ultimately launch him, Al Franken style, into politics. 
“I believe it and it’s true,” Izzard said. “I met a guy with a degree who was selling things from a cart, and he said, ‘I have no hope’ and I said, ‘You’ve got to.’ People that think about these things know it but others don’t want to and they vote with their gut if someone says we’re going to make this place great again. Trump said we’re going make Britain great again right after the vote — what? No, we need to make the world great again. The only way it’s going to survive is if everyone has a fair chance. Extremists want people to be in despair.”  

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