Eddie Izzard has been doing standup since the 1980s. He’s performed in French, German, Spanish, Russian and Arabic, has worked with Monty Python and has won Emmy’s for his comedy. In 2007, he was listed as #3 in the Top 100 Greatest British Comedians.
Would you believe me if I told you that this was only a part of his amazing story?
Born in Yemen to English parents, he and his brother grew up in Aden, then Northern Ireland, and finally England. His other passed away when he was young, which has always weighed heavily on him. He started acting in school theater, then came back to it in over thirty films. In his most recent film, Victoria and Abdul, he starred opposite Dame Judy Dench.
He has been active in UK politics, encouraging a true melting pot in Europe, has run 43 marathons in 51 days, and ran 27 marathons in 27 days in South Africa—27 being the number of years that Nelson Mandela spent in prison.
He has done all these things, yet the thing he talked about most at the Blanche Touhill Performing Arts Center was his mother. The sharp memories he had of walking to the store to get popsicles with her. Holding her hand in the street. Adjusting to the realization that she was gone. His father, with whom he was also close, passed away last year. He shared with us that he and his brother had interred his dad’s ashes the day before with his mom—so this parents were together for the first time in fifty years.
There were comedic parts to his presentation, but I felt like they were happenstance. I don’t think he can help being funny. Izzard showed the audience pictures from his entire life, and narrated the photos for us all. The stories followed the arc of his new book, Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death, and Jazz Chickens, out now from Blue Rider Press.
Even though the stories were told just for us, and some of them made me cry, I feel like all of it—the book, the tour, the stories—was for his mom and dad. I’m sure they’d be so proud of him and whatever he decides to do next. | Melissa Cynova
Upcoming Eddie Izzard tour dates:
10.10.18 Jacksonville, FL | Florida Theatre
10.11.18 Sarasota, FL | Van Wezel PAC
10.12.18 Miami, FL | Artsch Center
10.14.18 Clearwater, FL | Ruth Eckerd Hall