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The top 10 things we learned about Eddie Izzard from his stand-up show

Comedian Eddie Izzard in 2010.

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

The British blizzard Eddie Izzard has announced plans to stand as a candidate in the London mayoral elections in 2020, but his campaign for the designation of world's most interesting man has long been under way. We already know enough about the cross-dressing comedian to suspect that he is fit for any office – he recently completed 43 marathons in 51 days – and that his run for high office will be done at least partly in high heels. He reveals even more about himself as part of his globe-trotting Force Majeure tour, which completed a four-night stand at Toronto's Massey Hall on Saturday.

Here are the top 10 things The Globe's Brad Wheeler learned from the madcap's monologue:

10. Given his clothing accessories and the suave, dramatic music that played as he took to the stage, Izzard is a frustrated James Bond type. Dressed in a sharp suit, he quickly tossed away his umbrella and bow tie, and later spoke of his boyhood dream of becoming a transvestite and a member of the British Special Forces. (As a boy, he hid his makeup in a shoebox with a false bottom.)

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9. As with every comedian in the entire world, Izzard is aware of Toronto's embattled mayor. "Has anyone got crack?" were his first words, and he threw out "crack" willy-nilly for the rest of the night, to diminishing returns of laughter.

8. By multiplying Massey's capacity seating by four shows, one could arrive at the conclusion that there are at least 11,008 British émigrés within driving distance of downtown Toronto. Everyone in the seats around mine spoke with an Isles accent and laughed loudly at everything that came out of Izzard's mouth, humorous or not.

7. Izzard is an educated man who enjoys flaunting his knowledge of history and French-language proficiency, at the expense of what people in the business refer to as "actual comedy." Nice to know that cow, pig and sheep are beef, pork and mutton because of the Norman rule of England.

6. Izzard is not so much funny as he is fun; more jester than jokester. His brain is freely associative, and his ambitious act is often physical (such as the bit on equestrian dressage competitions). Izzard's absurdest comedy isn't for everyone, but he is a farce to be reckoned with.

5. Segues are not his way. Izzard's means of connecting unrelated segments involve "so, anyway" and, "what was I saying?"

4. He is easily distracted. During one promising bit, the occasionally hilarious Izzard pointed out that wild animals are never fat. But he never offered a suggestion as to why that might be. That the animal kingdom is a socialist one? That animals are pure and not greedy? Izzard never offered an explanation, and, so, um – what was he saying?

3. Oh, right, he was saying that most Olympic sports derive from historical functions, except for equestrian dressage, which is of no practical use. "It's non-mammalian!" postulated the exasperated Izzard.

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2. His act is a zany-brainy history lesson, peppered with pithy encapsulations such as Romans being "fascist plumbers."

1. So, anyway, during a post-show Q&A, Izzard spoke of learning a half-dozen more languages. He already uses French for his shows in France, which is just one of the many countries he'll visit during his tour Force Majeure, which translates to "superior force." Bon voyage, then, Eddie Izzard.

Eddie Izzard's Force Majeure continues to Ottawa, Thunder Bay, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Victoria and Vancouver. Full info at

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About the Author

Brad Wheeler is an arts reporter with The Globe and Mail. More


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