Eddie Izzard on His Force Majeure World Tour: “I Have to Be My Own Force of Nature”
"Cake or death?"
Photo by Amanda Searle
Eddie Izzard is a difficult man to keep up with. Both on- and offstage, the 53-year-old British comedian has always seemed to be ahead of everyone else, roguishly and cleverly defying expectations and surprising the public on a regular basis.
Izzard is regarded as one of the brightest minds in the business, and that is clear during the first few minutes of our interview. His rapid, stream-of-consciousness style of comedy isn't an act reserved just for paying customers. His mouth can hardly match the speed of his brain as he answers questions, sometimes before they're even asked. Several times, he's prescient in his responses, understanding in which direction the conversation needs go. It's the same perceptiveness that's shaped his views on the world and given him the confidence to accomplish so much.
In 2013, the comedian began an ambitious tour that eventually led him to visit 28 countries on five continents and all 50 states. The Force Majeure World Tour continues when Izzard makes a stop in Miami this weekend. The French term force majeure means “superior force.” Izzard explains he came up with the name because he's “doing this thing that's sort of off the scale that no one's really done,” and that for his purposes, it means “force of nature.”
He elaborates, “You gotta be your own force of nature... If you let life live you, it doesn't work. It's like a river: It could dash you against the rocks. It's a complete roll of the dice. I have to be my own force of nature. I encourage other people too with a positive heart.”
Indeed, Izzard is a force of nature: a tornado, really. He's a vortex of spinning ideas and whips himself into a frenzy, powering through a multitude of topics in his standup, often shattering hypocrisy and human ignorance. In 2009, he used that same energy to, out of the blue, run 43 marathons in 51 days, with only five weeks of training and no real background in running. He raised funds for
Born in Yemen and raised in the UK, Izzard understands the tricky nature of British colonialism. He says this informed his decision to do comedy in other languages. In addition, “I thought, by learning these other things, it's a good business idea. I do believe in good business — positive, open-armed, ethical business — but it's also got a political statement of open-ended politics, saying, 'Hi. How are you? How are you getting on? I hate your extremists, if you've got any, 'cause we've all got them in every country, but I like the majority of it [your country].' Dead center, right of center, left, that's where the majority of the world is, where 90 percent of the world is. But it's not overtly political in the show. The show is talking about chickens with guns and all sorts of Python-esque, crazy stuff, but underlying it is a message of live and let live.”
One thing Izzard says he is dead serious about is running for political office one day. With all the good he already does, why would Izzard want the headaches of a political career?
“I'm probably going to get into it, and at some point people are gonna be saying, 'I bet he regrets it now!' But I do, I have a lot of energy. I'm a quite logical, analytical person. I came out as transgender 30 years ago. Now people are turning around and going, 'Hey, maybe we should be more positive towards transgender people; maybe we should chill the hell out.' I said years ago I was doing it. That seems to be the positive direction for myself and for anyone who's transgender. I wasn't going to be an activist, marching in the streets... So through my analysis of things, I like developing systems, I like people, I like working with people.”
Whether it's via standup comedy or his eventual stint as a politician, Eddie Izzard is and will always be a positive and undeniable force majeure.
Eddie Izzard's Force Majeure World Tour
8 p.m. Saturday, November 28, at the Fillmore Miami Beach. Tickets start at $57.25. Visit livenation.com.
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