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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Eddie Izzard Stripped

I interviewed Eddie Izzard a few weeks ago. He was in Toronto at the start of his cross-Canada tour. The last time we spoke was ten years ago. Both times he was an engaging interview, which is surprising because he does tons of press. But maybe that isn't so surprising. Professionals like him who spend hours and hours with the media answering the same questions over and over treat it like a job. But not a job they hate. They actually try to connect to the interviewer. Makes sense if your goal is to sell tickets. Give a lousy interview and who knows how the writer will interpret it in the story.

When we first spoke ten years ago, I wasn't what you'd call an Izzard fan. I saw his show, though, and quite liked it. Then he came through town a few years ago (I can't keep the names of the tours straight) and I really disliked him again. Then this time his show charmed me. So I'm hot and cold with him.

The feature story on him I wrote is at the Georgia Straight website and you can read it here. I decided not to mention anything about his clothing. (Izzard, as we all know, is a transvestite.) I just thought, why bother? It has nothing to do with his comedy and we all know about it anyway. A note I got from an editor suggested adding a reference to it. I told them that would have to be an editorial decision. I didn't really care all that much, but I explained my reasoning. And to their great credit, they left it out. Does it matter? Not really. But it's interesting noting that in all the preview pieces I read about his Canadian tour, all the writers asked him about it and dutifully reported that he'd be in "boy mode". Well, at the show on Friday, and from what I've read about other shows in Canada and the States, he wore jeans, T-shirt, jacket with tails, lipstick and eye shadow, red nail polish and pumps.

Cut to: Row 3 of the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. I'm sitting there scribbling notes in the dark. I do this with my notebook at or below my knees, with my left thumb moving down to guide the pen so I don't come back to a garbled mess. I don't look down when writing. No point since it's dark and I can't see anyway. The guy sitting to my right was writing on his iPhone, with his head down the whole time. I figured he was either blogging, tweeting or reviewing. When he finally stopped writing and looked up, it was 10 p.m. so I concluded he must have been on deadline with the dailies. Since the Province doesn't run on Saturdays, I therefore concluded he wrote for the Sun. I should have been a detective. I found a review there by music writer Graeme McRanor, who told us "he's not in drag for this one". Well, he wasn't wearing a dress, but I'd say he was definitely in "girl mode". Did he just read all the previews where Izzard said he was in boy mode and repeat it? And then he ended his review with, "Although, to be perfectly honest, he's sexier in heels." If he had lifted his nose from his electronic gadget once, he would have seen Izzard was in heels. Still, I give him full marks for writing a full review on deadline with his thumbs. I wouldn't want to do that.

My review is in and will be posted at no later than Tuesday. Once it's up, I'll link to it here. I'll also get the full transcript of the interview I did up on Comedy Couch sometime. There's also a Brian Regan one coming your way very soon.

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