VideoVista covers rental and retail titles in all genres and movie or TV categories, with filmmaker interviews, auteur profiles, top 10 lists,
plus regular prize draws.
INDEX OF ALL REVIEWS
SEARCH THIS SITE
TOP 10 LISTS
INTERVIEWS & PROFILES
RETRO REVIEWS SECTION
ABOUT OUR CONTRIBUTORS
SUBSCRIBE TO NEWSLETTER
SUPPORT THIS SITE -
SHOP USING THESE LINKS
visit other Pigasus Press sites...
The ZONE - genre nonfiction
Soundchecks - music reviews
Rotary Action - helicopter movies
featuring: Eddie Izzard
director: Sarah Townsend
104 minutes (15) 2009
widescreen ratio 1.78:1
Universal DVD Region 2 retail
review by J.C. Hartley
Eddie Izzard: Stripped Live
Back in the last century it was decided that improvisational comedians were like jazz musicians, improvisational jazz musicians obviously. They
took a theme, noodled around with it, took it on flights of previously unexpected fantasy and subsequently returned more or less mysteriously to
where they started off. But noodled was what they did mostly. Eventually all stand-up comedy aspired to the condition of improv.
Paul Merton did it, and did it very well, and can still do it when the fancy takes him within the confines of Have I Got News For You. Ross
Noble certainly does it, in fact Ross Noble does it so well that the 'scripted' hook on which he may hang a routine causes the transmission to clunk
as he shifts down the gears to steer his act back towards a theme. But the undisputed master of these is Eddie Izzard.
Improvisational comedy is nothing new, Bill Hicks, Lenny Bruce, our own Peter Cook, Steven Wright, Robin Williams in his heyday, and I suppose Spike
Milligan. Izzard, although often compared to The Goons, cites as his major influence Monty Python, and the connection is there in the connections
and the notion of the stream of consciousness, although what he does and how he does it can be very far from the scripted intricacies of their work.
Izzard has lately said that he will eventually give up comedy and acting for politics. He is a committed European and can be very earnest about
politics and indeed about himself. He recently ran a whole load of marathons for Comic Relief after very little preparation and training. It may
be that what we now see as intriguing little foibles and great British eccentricity may be early signs of certifiable insanity. He may become
consumed with a great purpose, like Ozymandias in Watchmen.
I would like him to play Jerry Cornelius (in a dress if need be) in the long-overdue remake of The Final Programme.
Unfortunately this film of his stage show isn't always that funny. You may find yourself watching with a grin that you cannot explain. I defy
anyone to laugh out loud. Possibly you had to be there. The audience certainly seem to love it and are laughing out loud, many of them are women,
women fancy Izzard, it may be the frocks, and some of them have drink in the auditorium, maybe this helped. Much of it is quite good, and it is
certainly the most entertaining rambling peroration I have heard for some time. He almost threatens to take off quite often but a lot of it is
noodling, some is a bit self-regarding, and a lot depends upon the undoubted affection his audience holds for him and which, I stress, I share.
I've looked at some other reviews and some think this is the best thing ever and some like mine were a bit disappointed. Interestingly, the opening
in which he reveals that he has moved from agnosticism to atheism might have made a better kernel for a show. I'm still a bit residually agnostic
out of respect to the beliefs of family and friends so I flinched a bit at his outright 'there is no god' approach, and I guessed he doesn't do
this material in the 'States.
He moves on to express his concern with us, with humanity, and gives a brief history of human history and civilisation, dissing the notion of the
'supreme being' in the process. Perhaps religion versus humanist philosophy would have been a better hook than the random chronology he serves up?
He certainly gives the best demolition of the idea of hereditary privilege I have ever heard, and in the simplest way possible. Maybe that political
career will be a good move?
The extras are a sort of trivia subtitle commentary on the show, a marathon stills montage, and some trailers for something called Believe: The
Eddie Izzard Story, which looks quite alarming.