Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Eddie Izzard - Stripped

Last night Melissa and I went to see Eddie Izzard with our friends Matt and Julie at Jones Hall here in Houston. We got awesome seats for the show on the fourth row in the center of the stage. Izzard was about twenty feet from us on stage and looked comfortable in blue jeans, a blue shirt and a vintage tux jacket with tails.

I've been a fan of Izzard's stand-up since seeing his Dressed to Kill show years ago. His offbeat, stream-of-consciousness delivery is engaging and exciting to watch, and even more so live. As an amateur stand-up comic myself, I also marvel at the dense material of his shows; Izzard packs a good three hours of material into his ninety minute set. Delivering ten minutes of material on stage is hard enough; this guy is amazing.

The new show, Stripped, is a both lot more political and (ir)religious. Izzard spent the first ten or fifteen minutes talking about how the ROW (rest-of-world) is looking at America these days. His suggestion; electing Barak Obama as President will show the world that the USA is back on track and a 'third melliumn' country. I couldn't agree more; it is because of that message that I support Obama. Forget hope, we need to let the world know that we as a people are through with idiots like Bush.

What I found interesting about his comments on Obama was the chorus of boo's that were mixed in with the loud applauds from the audience. As Izzard put it "There are some interesting sounds coming from this crowd." I don't know if the people booing were republicans, Hillary supporters, racists or all three. In Houston it's hard to tell. In any case, Izzard took time twice in his act to urge support for Barak Obama which Melissa and I enjoyed and agreed with.

Another part of the act that I enjoyed was Izzard's reference of the iPhone throughout the act. The first reference to the iPhone was when he suggested that American's look at the ROW by opening Google Maps and 'flicking to the left' (which he pantomimed). Later he pulled his iPhone out to look up the Wikipedia (which he claimed was started by Mr. and Mrs. Wikipedia with the note 'if you know something, write it down here') page for dyslexia. He needed to access the page to get the names of the people who discovered and named dyslexia (because he was sure they were Nazis).

Later in the act he had us all laughing when he used an act-out to demonstrate how and Indian tiger would figure out where in Africa the giraffes spoke French. Acting like the tiger he mimed zooming in on the iPhone as he muttered about being in India, then Africa then France.

The Apple jokes didn't stop there either. According to Izzard the dividing line between the Old Stone Age and the New Stone Age was when Steve came up with flint. "Oh, Steve just introduced flint. You can make it into arrowheads or start fires with it," Izzard attested to the right. To the left he said "Fires? I've never owned a rock that could start fires." Then back to the right "And it's got a GPS." Obviously there was a Steve Jobs back in the Stone Ages.

Izzard had a lot of positive things to say about Apple. He called the Mac vs. PC commercials "documentaries" and assured the audience that you could have sex with any Apple product. He also used the downloading time remaining progress bar, which jumps from three minutes to go to two minutes to five minutes to eight minutes to three minutes to go, to make a joke about confusing Einstein.

The main gist of the act was not all about Apple products. Izzard's main thrust was the absurdity of religion in the face of science. Making fun of religion in Houston is never a good idea, but Izzard found enough people willing to laugh at the God of the Bible to keep the audience in stitches. The creation story, Noah and his Ark and the Exodus were all poked with Izzard's stick of humor.

We left the show in great spirits and made our way over to Chris and Lisa's place (where we parked the spare cars). Lisa was still up and she shared the awesome photos that she and Chris took on their cruise to Cozumel. We stayed for a short while and then piled into to car to return home. If you have a chance to see Izzard's latest show, I highly recommend it. He is a very gifted story-teller with a great eye for the absurd.