A 007-esque figure in a timeless, black dress coat steps out from beneath a raging sky. His piercing eyes leave no doubt that he means business. The man with a licence to kill is Eddie Izzard, Britain's force majeure (superior force), the rock 'n' roll superstar of comedy--and he is on a mission to take the world by storm with his magnetic stage-presence and his thought-provoking intellectual humour.
His 2013/2014 mammoth global tour will take him from Kathmandu to Moscow--and from Zurich to Geneva. We catch up with the award-winning stand-up cum writer cum actor via skype in a London hotel room to glimpse behind the scenes and learn about his impending visit--and find ourselves baffled at just how much a professional talker can fit into a modest twenty minutes. And be funny at that.
A life less ordinary
Colorado yesterday, London today and California by the end of the week--a rather ordinary week for a man who has led no ordinary life, Even before his performing career made him a professional itinerant, Izzard was well used to waking up to an ever-changing scenery. By the age of six, he had lived in three countries--and on two different continents.
Edward John's story starts in Aden, Yemen, where he was born in 1962 as the second son of BP filing clerk Harold, "a fifties hippie with very short hair," and BP nurse Dorothy Ella. "Yemen was still a British colony then--we used to do that in Britain--go around borrowing, slash stealing, other people's countries," chuckles the 50-year-old, playfully dishing out a rift about Britain's colonial past in passing. The family left in 1963--just before the onset of the revolution--to move to a place that too was anything but quiet: Northern Ireland.
Merely a young boy, Izzard was blissfully unaware of the political conflict that was brewing all around him. For him, Bangor was a happy place, where he spent his days hanging out with local kids (throwing mud-balls at passing cars), drawing family pictures and sipping third-pints of milk at school. "It was a great time. Maybe the best," he says thoughtfully. The bliss was short-lived. In 1967, the family moved on to Skewn in Southern Wales and it was there that little Edward's perfect world fell apart.
"I knew that mum was ill, but I didn't understand. I thought you are ill; then, you get better. But one day, she was gone," Izzard says in Believe, a documentary about his life, when referring to his mother's premature...