Edward John "Eddie" Izzard is an English stand-up comedian, actor and writer. His comedy style takes the form of rambling, whimsical monologue and self-referential pantomime. He had a starring role in the television series The Riches as Wayne Malloy and has appeared in many films such as Ocean's Twelve, Ocean's Thirteen, Mystery Men, Shadow of the Vampire, The Cat's Meow, Across the Universe, and Valkyrie. He has also worked as a voice actor, appearing in The Wild, Igor, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, and Cars 2. Izzard has cited his main comedy role model as Monty Python, and John Cleese once referred to him as the "Lost Python". In 2009, he completed 43 marathons in 51 days for Sport Relief in spite of having no prior history of long-distance running. He has won numerous awards including a Primetime Emmy Award for Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program for his comedy special Dress to Kill, in 2000. Izzard's website won the Yahoo People's Choice Award and earned the Webby Award. On 6 September 2012, Izzard presented the medals to the athletes who had won the 800m T54 race at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
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Hello, it's Eddie Izzard here again. I’ve just finished filming the action-drama series “POWERS” which is launching on the 10 March on Playstation network.
Saturday, I’m off Australia and New Zealand to continue my grand 'Force Majeure' World Tour. I'm claiming it's the most extensive world comedy tour ever. I’ve played 25 countries so far and no one's disagreed as yet. The tour has now been performed in Russia, South Africa, France (in French), Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Turkey, Austria, Germany (in German), Serbia, Croatia, United States, Canada and more. (Force Majeure Dates: http://www.eddieizzard.com/gigs)
This world is a fascinating place, especially the weird and interesting (and fascinating) bits, so I’ve been researching facts about Australia and New Zealand. Let me know if you have any to share.
Thank you to everyone who sent in questions, I'm sorry I couldn't answer all of them. I have to go now pack my toothbrush to get ready to fly to Australia (and New Zealand). If you are in New Zealand or Australia over the next month I hope to see you at a gig.
Thanks again, Good Night/Good Morning.
Eddie, there is nobody else on earth better suited than you to play the role of Doctor Who. How can we as fans make this happen? (Yes, I know we all love Tom Baker, but the man earned his rest.)
Edit: (Nothing against Peter Capaldi either, he's doing a fine job, but I've got to see Eddie fast-talking the Daleks into letting him escape.)
You all have to tell the BBC what you think if you want to make something happen.
Cake or Death?
Did you know that the first Australian police were chosen from the ranks of the the best behaved convicts?
What's your favourite fact about Australia? Favourite place?
No I didn't know that but that is now my favorite new bonkers fact about Australia.
Would you say that being a transvestite (and dealing with the attention that it brought to you) helped you overcome the anxiety of performing in front of an audience?
No really - it actually helped give me unbelievable confidence in real life
Who is your #1 comedic influence(s)?
Your turn in Hannibal was a marvel of understatement. The threat of unspeakable violence looming under the surface was fantastic. But it also felt like a really giving performance on your part. The interaction between you and Hugh and Mads was fantastic.
Which leads me to two questions:
1.) Keep it real. How much of that was you and how much was your direction?
2.) Are we going to get to see you in more intense dramatic roles?
Also, if a person is their work, you are a damned champion of the human race and I love you for it. Thank you.
Yes, you are going to see me in more intense dramatic roles and I think Dr. Abel Gideon is 40% me and 60% out there.
You've remarked on several occasions that transgender rights are currently at the place where gay rights were at in the 1950s, i.e. there is still a staggering amount of legal and social discrimination facing transgender and gender non-conforming individuals, compounded by fear, invective, and misinformation. However, as more and more trans people feel comfortable with coming out and living openly, public understanding of the issues they face becomes stronger and acceptance becomes easier. You've made a lasting and indelible impression on so many people for your work in comedy and film, but whether you intended to or not, you've also done so much for trans visibility.
How are things different now from when you came out, particularly in terms of challenges you might face? Are you optimistic about the progress being made in the advancement of trans equality? Where do you see things headed from here?
I think that the Trans community really 'arrived' in 2014. Having come out in 1985, I am very happy about this. But above all, LGBT must become boring. Then we have made it. I think we are finally getting there
Hello. Big fan. Will there ever be a conclusion to The Riches? Thanks.
Maybe - I can't tell that future at the moment.
You seem so fearless, understandable given all of your struggles, which were explored in "Believe". My question whether there is anything now that frightens or worries you?
In response to the spider alerts for Australia, please can the Australian government remove all spiders from Australia and blow them into outer space.
Do you have a favorite up & coming or underground comedian that people should know about?
I encourage you to watch Yacine Belhousse, a surreal French comedian who is now performing in the UK in English.
Hi Eddie! Is there any chance/way I can get in touch with you to tell you about the PhD I'm doing at UCL on how Italians perceive your humour when watching some of your sketches with Italian subtitles? (I'm carrying out an eye-tracking study)
Send me a private message on my Reddit account.
Big fan. What are some of your favorite movies? Also, can you give an example of how you think like an American?
I think like an American because I decided I wanted to go and perform stand up all across America and play Madison Square Garden and Hollywood Bowl. That 'lets go do it / lets go build it' quality I've always thought of as being American. It's really an economic migrant/entrepreneurial spirit, but I think America distilled that very well.
And here are two of my ten favorite films:
1. Blade Runner
2. Robin and Marian
Eddie!! Just a quick note: The first night my husband and I met, we both discovered we loved you! One of our most romantic dates was seeing you in NYC in some super small venue where you were trying out new stuff. You were amazing and even walked by us a few times after the show. I was too shy to say hi :(
Anyway, my question is what made you start running? I feel like I was out of touch with your work for a few years and all of a sudden you pop up running marathons!
I started running to get back in touch with the health I had when i was six years old. And it was an adventure. And it helped raise money for charities around the world. So i just thought I'd go for it.
What would you consider one of your most peaceful moments? What do you do to unwind and relax amidst all the chaos and hubbub that is living in this crazy, beautiful, tiring world? :)
I like looking at mountains from other mountains.
Hey Eddie, thanks for being here tonight!
What do you considered your greatest accomplishment in life - personal or professional?
So excited to have you with us, and hope you enjoy the AMA!
Touring in French and German
Dear Mr. Izzard, for a language learning “addict” like me, following your experience performing in different languages has been really interesting. My question: Did you ever consider the ultimate challenge of learning sign language and performing stand-up for a deaf audience?
Some of my shows have been signed for deaf audiences but I can only do so much and I have decided to learn French, German, Spanish, Russian, and Arabic. I'm afraid I will have my hands full with those five.
The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, or David Bowie?
Blade Runner is showing on the big screen in Cambridge, MA this weekend. I mean, you could just skip the whole Australia/New Zealand thing.
That's a crazy idea. I'm afraid I can't
A friend once told me you narrated a GPS' audio directions for Tom Tom. Is this true??? Is it really you?? I love you by the way you're amazing dont ever change
Yes, that is me.
Eddie, what is your favourite language? & what sparked your interest in languages?
I do love speaking French but eventually I hope all the languages I speak are my favourite languages.
I have no idea idea what sparked off my interest in languages, but my language consultant, my brother, Mark Izzard, is also fascinated by languages and is way better than me. He translates all my shows in to French, German and Spanish.
Hi Eddie! Huge fan. Being a man of unrestricted fashion sense, how do you decide what to wear when you wake up in the morning?
There used to be more stress about choosing clothes when i was in girl mode as opposed to boy mode, but now that stress has just about gone. So I can really choose to wear whatever I want to wear, but if I really can't decide what mode to be in, I can always flip a coin.
Hi Eddie, I caught your performance last year in Columbus and I loved it. Are there any plans for releasing it as a special for distribution through Netflix or the like?
Yes - not sure exactly when but hopefully soon
Do you like bread?
Yes, but it is the devil.
Hi Eddie! Love from Virginia! My question is: What do you predict will be your biggest struggle when running for Mayor of London in 2020?
My biggest challenge will be just to ensure that I do something useful and positive, if the people of London decide to vote me in as their Mayor
1. What has shaped your moral and ethical compass?
2. As an educator, what would you suggest to me revolutionize my maths and science classrooms?
I lied, one more, what colour/brand is that red polish?
1 My Parents
2 Make learning fun
3 Red Baroness by Shellac
Mr. Izzard, I am such an unbelievable huge fan and have been for many many years. I find your personal story so inspiring. The political aspirations and the marathons are all things I greatly admire, not to mention your hilarious comedy career, and all the wonderful movies you have been in. I am so delightfully happy that you are kind enough to do this AMA.
What was your greatest personal victory of 2014?
Also, and this one is a bit morbid, but, given your level of fame, it is a distinct possibility that a hundred years from now some one will claim that you “haunt” a place. Where would you like to be known to “haunt”?
Two months performing stand-up in German in Berlin and Hamburg
I won't be doing any haunting.
If you could be any historical figure for a day on a day of your choosing, who would it be and when?
Ben Franklin flying a kite in stormy weather.
Have you ever found people (widely or in small groups) in a particular country (whether expected based on tropes of national behavioural norms) to be particularly hostile to your performing there, whether due to your atheism, politics, or transvesticism?
What do you think happened to the Riches after the end of the show? I waited for it to come back on for ages; I loved the familial chemistry.
They started a cooking program on local cable TV.
Who is the most inspirational person you have worked with?
Nelson Mandela but I didn't work with him. I just raised some money for his charity.
Thank you for joining us this evening. Thanks to you every time I find myself going 53 in a 45 zone I pretend I'm a raptor. With a bazooka.
Anyway, my question is about your many appearances on the Craig Ferguson show. Was there anytime you and Craig sketched out the basics of what was going to happen? Or was it all just completely improvised?
(sorry I have no information on Australia or New Zealand beyond what I read on Reddit...)
It was 98% completely improvised. 2% was highly scripted.
Did you know that Kangaroos and other marsupials got to Australia via South America when the lands were both connected to Antartica in the supercontinent Gondwana 80 million years ago?
No, but thanks for that, that is very interesting.
When did toy confirm to yourself you were a transvestite and how has your life changed since? I know you've spoken about it in your standup but it's been a while. Do you still get misgendered?
I knew I was a transvestite when I was four. I came out in 1985 when I was 23 and I feel the world has been slowly catching up with all of us in LGBT land.
What's your favourite thing about Wellington? Is it the bucket fountain in Cuba Mall?
No it's running up Mount Victoria and looking at the view.
When are you doing a show in Seattle again?
Hi Eddie! Been a really big, longtime fan of yours and I’m really looking forward to seeing you in Powers!
My question to you is this: How does one get funnier? I love comedy, but watching and performing, and I can grasp how one can improve acting ability, choreography, and the like. But there doesn’t seem to be much literature or theory available (that I can find) on improving one’s comedy. As a well accomplished comedian, and one whose humor I very much enjoy, I was hoping you might be able to share a little about what you have done over the years to hone your craft. Thanks!
I got funnier by initially saying as many funny things as I could think of in class at school, and then doing as many comedy gigs as I possibly could on stage. I've always tried to make myself laugh and I'm the only one who has seen all my shows. So you just need to hone your instincts by doing as much comedy as you can.
Did you do those nails yourself? They're amazing!
Sometimes its me. Sometimes its an expert.
Mr. Izzard do you have a favorite soundtrack that inspires you and cheers you up?
The soundtrack from "Out of Africa" by John Barry
Did you enjoy your time working on The United States of Tara? I loved watching you and Toni Collette working alongside one another.
Yes, it was great and she was great to work with again.
Did you ever hanglididided?
No, but I'd like to.
When you're touring, what do you do on days when you don't have a performance scheduled?
I practice alchemy
Hello Eddie. My question for you is this. June 11th of last year you brought Force Majeure to the Pabst Theater in Milwaukee Wisconsin. I got to ask you a question in the Q&A but I was at the back of the room and couldn't see you. What did you say and or do to have the crowd part so you and I could see each other for a brief instant?
All I think I said was "can everyone get out the bloody way"
Hiii, Eddie! I share your video of speaking Old English to a Frisian farmer all the time in my language class. Did you ever get that brown coo? You're awesome, and thanks for being you!
I'm glad you liked the documentary
Hey Mr. Izzard, Thanks for the AMA!
My question: Would you ever direct anything you're in? Or take up directing in any medium? Even if it's just a stand up special or a TV episode or movie?
Yes, but not yet.
If you could go back in time to any of the historical times you talk about in your shows, which would you choose and why? Who would you like to talk to there?
I'd go back to the industrial revolution in Britain and I'd like to hang out and chat with Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
Of all British comedians Thou art my favorite. What is the one inner thought that you have that inspires you to keep going as a executive travesite stand up comedian? Is there some private speech you give yourself to get pumped up before you hit the stage?
Seriously i was like 12 in rural lousiana when my mom recorded dressed to kill I have watched it sooo many times and physically forced so many people to watch it in French and English. You are inspiring and walk so much better in heels than I could ever hope to. How do you walk in those things?
What memories do you have of your first appearance doing standup?
For my first stand-up appearance I wasn't prepared so I just drank a pint of beer and tried to be funny - it didn't really work. But my first ever show in America was a street performing show in Overton Square, Memphis, at the Memphis in May Festival in 1987 - which wasn't too far from where you were.
Hi Eddie! Huge fan. If you could have dinner with any historical figure, who would it be?
Bonjour Eddie! Big fan from Poland here, the Achilles hoover skit always makes me cry from laughter. Two questions; which of your skits is your personal favorite and how did you like working on the set of Hannibal?
I really like the new scene that I am doing in Force Majeure. It is a fight between Darth Vader and God over spaghetti carbonara back in the good old canteen.
Working on Hannibal is great, but rather scary.
Who's your favorite Python?
Hello Eddie! I saw you on The Talk the other day and you were in full bloke mode. Do you feel that you must adjust how you dress for the audience?
Hey Eddie! I've been a huge fan for a while, and was just recently in New Zealand. How do you make all of those special effect noises when you are acting things out?
I blow air out of my mouth
Can you stop by Singapore sometime?
I am definitely planning to.
I loved your Force Majeure performance in Minneapolis this past summer. Do you find some venues are harder to perform in than others? Also, besides PSN where will we be able to find POWERS upon release? Looking forward to it!!!
At this stage in my career every venue I play in is pretty damn good, but when you're starting off some venues can be terrible. The first episode of POWERS will be available free at Playstation.com and then the others will be available through the Playstation Store. Google that to find the URL