SINGAPORE — We’re seven minutes into the interview and already British comedian Eddie Izzard has issued a disclaimer about his coming show, Force Majeure, which will be performed on two nights in Singapore at the University Cultural Centre at the National University of Singapore.
“Mainstream audiences will not like my show. And I’m not talking about Singapore audiences. I mean, audiences around the world — in the United States, in Europe, you know. So if you like mainstream comedy, you probably won’t like this,” he said over the phone.
His show on Feb 27 has sold, and tickets are selling fast for his second show on March 5.
Indeed, Izzard said Force Majeure tackles topics that aren’t your standard laugh-out-loud pratfalls or japes.
“I mean, it begins with a bit about human sacrifices, which is quite a ridiculous concept, that people believed that in order to improve your circumstances or ward off bad luck or to make your crops grow better, all you had to do was sacrifice somebody to the gods,” he said.
“’Oh, this year’s crops are bad, what are we going to do — I know, let’s kill Steve’. It amazing to think that we’d kill a human just because the crops are bad — but yet we did that many, many years ago.”
That segment, he said, kicks off “the surreal journey through Eddie Izzard’s brain”.
Interestingly, Izzard, initially didn’t want to do comedy (“I really wanted to do dramatic acting”); however, he loved the comic antics of Monty Python and surreal comedy and began to toy with comedy in University will his friend, and the pair would often perform on the streets.
Even as he gained fame as a stand-up comedian, he took on acting roles in theatre and the movies, both dramatic and comedic, such as General Erich Fellgiebel in Valkyrie, Mr Kite in Across The Universe, Roman Nagel in Ocean’s Twelve and voiced the talking rodent warrior Reepicheep in Prince Caspian.
However, Izzard has also became known for his activism in the political field (he supports the British Labour Party and made a bid for a post on the National Executive Committee) and social communities for his stance on transvestism. He has been open about being a transvestite since the early 1990s.
Last November, for example, Izzard appeared in court to give evidence after a man of hurled homophobic abuse at him.
“I came out (as a transvestite) 31 years ago, and while there are those who say ‘Oh, he’s transgender’ and leave it like that, there are others who will attack you. And (if someone does that to me) I will call the police and do something about it. I will stand my ground.
“I mean, treat others like how you want to be treated. All the major religions have that philosophy, right? Hopefully, there will be a time when this kind of thing won’t happen.”
But right now, Izzard is focusing on his tour to Asia — he is also performing in Hong Kong and Bangkok — and he promised to pull out all the stops. “I want to give the best show,” he said. “No, I don’t change the show to suit the different countries. It’s the same show all over the world. It’s like a good movie, you want to see the same movie all over the world.”
Eddie Izzard performs on Feb 27 and March 5, at the University Cultural Centre. Tickets from Sistic.