We picked up a commemorative “Stripped” program at the Eddie Izzard show Saturday night in Austin. Most of the 18 pages in the oversize booklet were dedicated to Lorenzo Aguis’ slick and sexy photos of Izzard (love that goatee) and William Smith’s rather revealing interview with the comic.
Some interesting factoids Izzard shared in his lengthy interview with Smith:
- He doesn’t play a character in his stand-up routines; that’s just him in a “really switched on state.” His often-proclaimed interest in joining the army when he was a kid motivated him to take a “military” approach to his career, and part of that was to start playing himself when he became a street performer, his first step toward his career in stand-up and acting.
- He takes inspiration fellow Brit Hugh Laurie, who started out in English comedy and now is acclaimed for his dramatic role in the American TV series “House.” But Izzard says he thinks it’s easier for people to be introduced to him through his dramatic work in TV and films and then accept him as a comic, rather than for them to discover him through stand-up and then accept him in dramas.
- For the FX series “The Riches,” in which he plays the lead role of Wayne Malloy, the cast (including fellow Brit Minnie Driver who plays Wayne’s wife) shoots a 45-minute drama in just seven days. He said working on the drama has been “great Ninja training” for his stand-up; he feels his acting experience has given him a better work ethic and more confidence onstage.
- He says the character of Wayne, an American grifter, is about 60 percent him, 40 percent “other.” The main trait they share: The ability to improvise.
- If it sounds like Izzard is adlibbing through his stand-up, that’s because he is. Through the years – he’s in his 20th as a comic – he’s developed the concept of “molten material.” Basically, he comes up with broad ideas and then just riffs on them onstage.
- He decision on this tour to drop the girly outfits – he referred to himself in the show as an “off-duty transvestite” – was not just because he is “in blokey mode” with his character on “The Riches.” It also came about because some people thought he was wearing a costume rather than just a dress and believed that “the clothing was an important thing for the comedy, which it isn’t.”
“So now I’m going to tour without make-up. … Well, maybe a bit of eye-liner, but less than Keith Richards,” he told Smith.
- A documentary about Izzard’s work to cross over from Britain to America is close to being completed.
- Izzard plays German Gen. Erich Fellgiebel in Bryan Singer’s upcoming World War II period film “Valkyrie,” which also stars Tom Cruise, Kenneth Branagh and Tom Wilkinson. Smith’s story reveals a little more about who is character is: the general in charge of all communications for Nazi Germany.
- Before he traveled to Texas for a show in Dallas and three shows in Austin, Izzard performed June 3 at the Orpheum Theatre in Memphis, Tenn. That’s the same city where he did his first American gig in 1986. Instead of playing big, sold-out theaters as on the “Stripped” tour, he was working as a street performer back then.