Watching Eddie Izzard perform a live stand up set is like watching a long, witty, silly, and intelligent story about humanity unfold before you. On this hot, humid May evening Izzard, stunning in full makeup, black, red satin lined tails, tight dark jeans, and knee-high black leather heeled boots, from his very first announcement that his show was going to cover the entirety of human history with a focus on his theory that God does not exist you knew that this is a performer that never disappoints.
The story began with the creation of the Earth and the observation as to why God took so long to do it to move through Izzard's theories and notions about human evolution. He stopped the insanity long enough to state that obviously dinosaurs were not very intelligent as there were not any dinosaur poets and question why the fish that we humans evolved from could fly and why we cannot if we are supposed to be the superior form of life.
On this evening over the 2 hours of the show (there is even a 15 minute intermission) he held us in the palm of his hand with stories about Darwin, trumpet-lipped chickens, the Spartans, the Nazis, Moses, the Romans, and even giraffes. Izzard is alternatively informative, historically inaccurate (on purpose), wide-ranging, and hysterical. Somehow he loosely ties together all these different subjects. How he chooses to link everything is through his humanist atheistic view of the history of the world.
The man is so good at what he does that he doesn't even need words or language to earn a laugh. His skits about the evolution of language, giraffes coughing to warn each other about an approaching tiger and then his non-verbal piece-de-resistance about the complexities of the Latin language told through a Roman soldier trying to warn people about the approach of Hannibal's army.
A large part of his intelligence is his ability to speak of his belief that God does not exist without getting killed. In certain parts of the world this would be very dangerous, but Izzard is able to get away with his liberalism because he does not tackle issues head on, rather comes at them from all different angles. He gets away with saying that God must have been smoking crack when he created certain things or that proof that he doesn't exist is that he did not flick off Hitler's head because the humour renders the underlying controversial opinion less threatening.
Eddie Izzard is a natural onstage and of an intelligence that sometimes astounds. Behind all the funny voices and silly imitations of dinosaurs, baboons and bees he does there are some so smart statements made that they almost get forgotten amidst all the laughter. There is always whimsy and sophistication in his shows. Despite the fact that he spices things up with a few well chosen curse worse every so often.
Besides his way with words and intelligence the man has an impeccable sense of timing. He knows just when to break off from his story to astound you with an equally funny ad-lib and then jump back to it when that has run its course. Then when you begin to believe that everything he has said has been made up on the spot he begins to bring back elements from the beginning of the show to intertwine all the stories he has told. Masterful!
From the rousing applause that greeted him walking onstage to the standing ovation that accompanied his leave, the audience was hanging on his every word. From busting a gut laughing to applauding ( to which he said he does not do comedy for as Izzard jokes that he is in it for the money) to shaking your head at the brilliance of what he has just said, everyone was completely involved in his show. His gift to us was humour and on this evening he was able to bring together an entire room despite our differences in sex, language, culture or religion.