Believe: The Eddie Izzard Story


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Believe: The Eddie Izzard Story

A documentary about comedian Eddie Izzard's rise to fame. Featuring interviews with Eddie, his family and friends, woven together with home movies and stand up shows.


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Transcript


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Eddie Izzard still letting down his fans, flogging old gags.

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Eddie and his management didn't want to comment.

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This programme contains very strong language.

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Just felt totally gutted by that.

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-There's a level of trust that's been removed.

-The safety thing had gone.

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A huge amount riding on it.

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This wasn't just one gig in front of 40 people.

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We sold 350,000 tickets across the world.

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Who's Eddie Izzard?!

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I know he's crazy.

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I think he's a British comedian.

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Ohh. The British guy?

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I've heard his name before.

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He's a very dangerous person.

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He's a famous comedian.

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A gender-bending phenomenon.

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My favourite comedian of all time is Eddie Izzard. He's fantastic.

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There's this sexiness about him that I like.

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I've seen him in a ton of movies and stuff.

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Wasn't he in Ocean's 12 with George Clooney?

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Eddie Izzard, yes.

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I've never met Eddie,

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but the people that he hires tell me

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that he is wonderful.

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He's the guy on The Riches and a British comedian.

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I saw him in Across The Universe as well. I think he's a great actor.

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I've seen him on TV and stuff.

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I've heard of him, but I didn't know much about him.

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Actor, comedian, great guy.

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I believe the actual punk pronunciation is Iz-ZARD.

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-Eddie Iz-ZARD?

-Iz-ZARD.

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I'm sure his first name's pronounced Eddie.

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I know he's really funny.

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I think his work is phenomenal, he's absolutely brilliant.

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-He's, like, hilarious.

-I'm a huge fan of his work as a...

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I don't know what he does.

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The flag sketch is really funny, I like that.

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-Cake or death.

-He does this thing about Engelbert Humperdinck.

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I don't think people even know who that is any more, but that's my era.

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That's not his real name. He's from Britain.

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There's very few Humperdincks in Britain.

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-It was great.

-His name was Gerry Dorsey.

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His managers said, "We're going to change your name. The name's the problem."

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His name changed from Gerry Dorsey to Englebert Humperdinck.

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I just wanted to be in the room when they were working that one through.

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Zinglebert Bembledack.

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Yengybert Dangleban.

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Zanglebert Bingledack.

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Slutban Walla. What?

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All right, Cringlebert Fistibuns.

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Steviebuns Butratan.

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Who've we got - Zinglebert Wembledack, Tinglebert Wangledack, Slutban Walla,

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Gerry Dorsey,

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Engelbert Humpdiback, Zanglebert Bingledack,

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Engelbert Humperdinck, Vinglebert Wingledank...

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Go back one!

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APPLAUSE

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That's it.

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# Can you see me now?

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# I'm trying to get through somehow

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# Mama, can you see me now?

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# Trying to get through somehow

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# Can you see me?

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# Can you see me? Mama, can you see me now?

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# Can you see me?

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# Can you see me?

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# Mama, can you see me now?

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# Can you see me?

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# Can you see me? Can you see me now? #

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APPLAUSE

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Can I get a little more wine?

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Thank you.

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Normally he will turn over a new tour from the previous tour.

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This time Eddie has decided to completely leave the old material alone.

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Which is a very dangerous thing.

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I'd rather the material all be fantastic...

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It's just getting your brain organised and then forgetting about it.

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-I just want to...

-What?

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I don't know.

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OK, stand by, Eddie.

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-We are about to go.

-So now we go.

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I haven't written the second half yet.

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We are still waiting on clearance.

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APPLAUSE

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Yes, so... Yes, breasts.

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I just thought... What was I going to say about breasts?

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Clop, clop, clop. What?

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AUDIENCE MUMBLES

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Oh, yes!

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There was something else I was going to say.

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Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah!

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You have to take on board

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how the audience reacts

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because that is your parameter

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of whether a joke has worked or not. That's very hard.

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You can go out on stage and tell a joke that you've told to someone who roared with laughter,

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and tell it in front of 200 people, and they sit there in absolute silence.

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Your stomach tightens on their behalf.

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I was in the Avengers as Uma Thurman's double.

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One was just a body double, just for the hell of it

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when she was wandering off and having a cigarette.

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One was a balletic double, one was a through-the-window-type double.

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Yeah, those three. One was just a double.

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They would keep taking breasts in and out saying, "Look."

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I said, "Can I have a pair?"

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They said, "Yeah."

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That wasn't very good.

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It was brilliant.

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Hmm. Not so good.

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It's just because there's no flow.

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As soon as I go back,

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I'm going, "Is that funny? Is that funny?"

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-You haven't got a pocket or anything?

-For what?

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-For the paper.

-For the paper so you can pull it out rather than...

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But even just looking at the thing makes me think, "God, what am I going to say next?"

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The audience don't mind because they are just loving listening to you.

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Talk about your family, try doing something chronological. Rubbish!

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My life story, I could do.

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-Where do you start?

-I just start at nought and go all the way through.

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Here's a thing on Yemen.

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There's my home town.

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Somewhere near Aden,

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the port of Aden.

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I'm just like Lawrence of Arabia basically,

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except he was there for many years and I was there for one.

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My dad was there for eight years, though.

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My mum was there for five years. So my dad has "sand credibility" is what they call it down there.

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Cos dad spoke Arabic like a native...of Belgium.

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In eight years he picked up the Arabic for one beer, two beers, three beers and that's it.

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And if he wanted four beers he'd go, "Three beers, one beer, please."

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So one, two and three beer and then Allah willing. Inshallah.

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Inshallah. It's a good phrase.

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It sounds good.

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All my lads wanted to learn to speak English so I had to speak English to them all the time.

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No-one is bothering learning languages any more.

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I should go and learn Arabic,

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that should be one of the stupid things I say I'll do.

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I was born in Yemen in 1962, two years after my brother, Mark,

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in the city of Aden.

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There was a refinery there that British Petroleum ran. My dad worked there as an accountant.

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My mum worked there as a nurse in the BP hospital.

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In the end there was a revolution in Yemen so I had to get out of there.

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My dad said, "We are getting out of here, let's go to Northern Ireland."

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Where it was a lot calmer!

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My house is still in Ashford Drive,

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I went there.

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Bizarrely, the woman that bought it from my dad is still living there.

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It hadn't changed, it's a bungalow.

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-Hello.

-Hello and welcome, come on in.

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Very nice to meet you.

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We have the sofa there. There's a photograph taken of us all in front of a slatted blind just like that.

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A lot of this is in

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a similar place.

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But this carpet does look...

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-Identical.

-Yeah.

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This garden... All of that.

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It was green, it was still part of the countryside.

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'And my dad would start the lawnmower.

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'He'd always take three goes to start it up, I think he wanted to get a crowd.'

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One, n-n-n-n-n-n-n-n... No.

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One, n-n-n-n-n-n-n-n... Don't think so.

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One, n-n-n-n-na-n-na...

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There's all these bits to adjust.

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This kitchen is very much the same.

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I remember cooking there with my mother.

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She cooked and I just cut things up.

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And I was about this big.

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It just feels like a different life.

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My dad said I would adjust the stocking straps on my mum's stockings.

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His mother told me that she went into the bathroom on one occasion

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and he was dressing up in her clothes.

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That had no significance for me at the time.

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The idea of wearing a dress was very much a big thing

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for me and something that I wanted to experience.

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If you're a transvestite, you're actually a male tomboy.

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That's where the sexuality is.

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So, running, climbing trees, putting on make-up when you're up there, it's there.

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And I used to keep all my make-up in the squirrel hole up the tree.

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And the squirrel would keep make-up on one side and nuts on the other side.

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And sometimes I'd get up that tree, that squirrel would be covered in make-up.

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What? Fuck off.

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He seemed to say.

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Living here at 5 Ashford Drive, it's really the best part...

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..of my childhood.

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After that, it just went crap.

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If I'd continued having a mother, I wouldn't have gone to boarding schools.

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I don't remember wanting to perform before she died.

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When I was seven in Eastbourne, I saw this kid getting

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a lot of reaction off the audience and I just thought, "I want to do that."

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The only thing my mum never saw me do... No, she was probably to ill to see me do it.

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She made this raven outfit. There is a picture.

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Me in a raven outfit. Made by my mum.

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And she was very ill with cancer at this point. I played a raven.

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I remember not been terribly interested in playing a raven.

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I got a laugh, but I didn't really mean to.

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And I wasn't that bothered.

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Then, after that, she was dead and the next thing, I was desperate to be in things.

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Back in Roman times, when people died, they had professional mourners come in,

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which is a totally weird idea. My husband is dead.

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There's not enough grief in this house to warrant his death.

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I wish to beef up the grief.

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Slave, get a message off down to Mourners R Us, will you?

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Tell them I wish to beef up the grief.

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Here's 10 denarii for your trouble, and give it back,

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you're a slave, what do you think you're doing?"

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Up would come a very smooth guy. "Good afternoon, I'm Mr Marcellus, from Mourners R Us. Oh!

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"It's just a free sample there."

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On the day it happened, Dad came and took us home.

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He told us that Mum had died.

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So we sat down in the lounge and we cried

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for a long time.

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Then they went on a tour of Ireland.

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We'd been happy in Ireland.

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But now that Mum was no longer there, I could sit in the front seat for the first time.

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I had bad travel sickness.

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I just sang the theme to White Horses over and over again.

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HE HUMS

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# On white horses

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# Snowy white horses

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# Let me ride away away

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# Away

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# Away

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# Away. #

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I'm like someone who can hear several radio channels going through ssh-h-h...

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-You've got five minutes.

-How long is it?

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-Five minutes.

-Three in reality.

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Normally, I'd start with the old tour.

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At the moment, I'm trying to start without doing the old tour.

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Start with the old tour and then you can just

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have that material, then you improvise during some good, solid material,

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people laugh, they've heard the good, solid material, but you keep the improvise off it.

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You keep the improv, you dump all the old stuff gradually and have a lot of new stuff.

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But this is like not having the back-up of something.

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Even though I should

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try and do it.

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I don't know.

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This is going to be weird.

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It's going to be crap.

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If this is crap, let's just say, "Hey, it's crap on tour.

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"Work in progress." Has this got work in progress on the advertising?

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Me? Hang on.

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APPLAUSE

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I remember his father coming in to see us and explaining the family situation.

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The mother had indeed died.

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The father's only answer

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seemed to be a boarding school.

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The boys were very young, but it did seem a reasonable answer.

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I used to cry a lot. I would have fights as well because I was an angry kid.

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And I had a fight and I started crying first.

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And I realised you can't get out of crying once

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you've started because it all starts to come down your face.

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So I thought crying = losing in arguments, therefore do not cry.

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So I didn't cry from then on.

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I had sort of no emotions. That's what a lot of kids from boarding school are like.

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They have no emotions. No feelings.

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Because that's your survival technique.

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He had a collection of teddies that he was very close to

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that used to keep on his bed. Seven or eight of them.

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And he used to re-enact tales, theatre, with these teddies.

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And actually he was a marvellous mimic.

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What do you want, little kid?

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I'm going to be in the school play.

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No you're not. You're crap.

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-No, I'm not. Yes, you are.

-He did it in front of his friends, fine.

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And then he summoned up courage

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and Matron was brought into the picture.

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And she was quite a strict lady, and to get Matron sitting down and watching,

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and then, yes, headmaster and wife, and we had some lovely little theatricals.

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When I was seven, I wanted to act. And I auditioned for all school things, but no, I was relegated

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to playing clarinet in the school orchestra.

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I played third clarinet

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in the school band. First clarinets play the melody.

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you know what you're going.

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Second clarinets play harmonies that back-up the melody and link.

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Third clarinets play the notes that are left over.

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We were just going na na na na.

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Na na na na.

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It's boring. The only exciting way of doing was really blowing it loud...

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NA NA NA NA.

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Teacher's going, "Piano, piano." You're going, "It's not a fucking piano.

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"It's a clarinet." Very soon after that,

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they did Beauty And The Beast and I didn't get any of the good parts.

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I was playing a street urchin with all the rest of the bozos in the class who couldn't do anything.

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And we had a collective line that was, "Oh, Beauty, don't go."

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And I worked out that when I came to our line, if I went, "Oh, Beauty, don't go,"

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really fast then it became my line and all other kids were going,

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"Oh, he's already said it. Forget about it."

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At 11, I played Trebonius, who is the one conspirator

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who doesn't stab Caesar, so that's no good.

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You take Mark Antony to one side and stand

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in the wings while the kids with plastic daggers have fun.

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I think it was Andrew Boxer who said, "What kind of role are you looking for?"

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I thought this a bizarre question.

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Being the huge lead role that gets off with the women

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and a big ego-waving, on-all-the-time kind of role.

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He said, "What about jailer?"

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And I thought, "No, that doesn't quite sound right."

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My abiding memory of St Bede's was the South Downs.

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The first team had to run up and down a very steep slope.

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And I used to run and I used to think, "It's cold and wet and this is pointless."

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I remember the teacher going,

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"That's why Izzard's in the team because he just pushes so hard to run."

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People live their lives, they retire, they move to Eastbourne.

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Then they live a little bit longer.

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Then they die.

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And then they move to Bexhill.

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There was no-one to play with when I was growing up.

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I played with Mrs Stevens, who was 76, you know?

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The English Channel, 1941.

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Any questions?

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Yes. Where are my legs?

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You couldn't escape from the military background here

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because, in my last year, my school set year of 1944-5,

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we had regular doodlebugs.

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They were a flying bomb. They had no pilot. And they were very fast.

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All you did was get under the desk, but we had hundreds

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and hundreds and hundreds of doodlebugs across Bexhill.

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One morning, there has a huge explosion and we learned at breakfast that an unexploded

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World War Two mine had hit the cliff at Beachy Head and blown up,

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so there was stuff still floating around out there.

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We'd play on the South Downs and there would be bomb craters.

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You'd just go and play in the bomb craters.

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That's where the bombs had blown up from German Heinkels, dumping their bombs

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on their way back.

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I got really fascinated by the SAS, the Special Air Service.

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I joined the Combined Cadet Force

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and I was considering doing an officer cadetship.

0:21:130:21:16

Soldiering appealed to me because it was unemotional,

0:21:160:21:19

tactical, dealing with the situation,

0:21:190:21:21

when the chips are down

0:21:210:21:23

you stand up for your friends or for your family or country...

0:21:230:21:26

HE HUMS "JERUSALEM"

0:21:280:21:32

That was a barrel-organ version of Jerusalem.

0:21:320:21:36

It's a hymn. One that we'd sing in church. It's got really weird lines in it.

0:21:360:21:39

"And shall my sword sleep in my hand." Not a good idea.

0:21:390:21:43

You're going to roll over and cut your bits off, aren't you?

0:21:430:21:48

And then it's that Godfather scene of...

0:21:480:21:50

A head of a horse and my willy and...

0:21:520:21:55

When I was 16, I made a mental decision, "I'm absolutely going to be an actor.

0:22:040:22:10

"No question about it."

0:22:100:22:12

I didn't seem right for doing drama because I had lost all my confidence in puberty

0:22:120:22:17

and I couldn't do lead male parts because I was kind of short and couldn't get off with girls.

0:22:170:22:24

And then had to chat up girls. I'd never used my vocal ability to chat up girls.

0:22:240:22:28

When your voice is breaking, it's very hard.

0:22:280:22:30

-IN BREAKING VOICE:

-"Susan, I really fancy you.

0:22:300:22:33

"I saw you in the playground."

0:22:340:22:39

I had to chat up girls and I'd only tagged them before.

0:22:390:22:42

I didn't have the verbal power to be able to say, "Susan, I saw you in the classroom today.

0:22:420:22:46

"As the sun came from behind the clouds,

0:22:460:22:48

"a burst of brilliant light caught your hair, it was haloed in front of me.

0:22:480:22:52

"You turned, your eyes flashed fire into my soul.

0:22:520:22:55

"I immediately read the words of Dostoyevsky and Karl Marx.

0:22:550:22:57

"And, in the words of Albert Schweitzer, I fancy you."

0:22:570:23:02

But no. At 13, you're just going, "Hello, Sue.

0:23:050:23:09

"I've got legs.

0:23:110:23:13

"Do you like bread?

0:23:190:23:21

"I've got a French loaf. Bye!

0:23:220:23:27

"I love you!"

0:23:270:23:28

I'm not sure any of us got lucky back then.

0:23:290:23:32

It was actually very unfortunate

0:23:320:23:35

because there were maybe 30 girls to 120 boys.

0:23:350:23:41

So, it was a challenge, even in a good day.

0:23:410:23:47

We didn't do mathematics together.

0:23:470:23:48

We sort of did mathematics together, but what we did was we cheated our way up to...

0:23:480:23:52

What did you get in maths?

0:23:520:23:54

Oh, God.

0:23:540:23:56

-He got expelled...

-I got two Bs and a D.

0:23:560:23:59

He got a B in maths, I got an A in maths.

0:23:590:24:01

We made nitroglycerin because there's a book that has all these things

0:24:010:24:05

to make. We made it and we tried to blow up this old lady who was the matron of this place.

0:24:050:24:11

So we poured it on the floor. And we thought she might stand on it and go boom.

0:24:110:24:15

One teacher said to me, "Yeah, I saw the play, Izzard.

0:24:210:24:23

"Not exactly Shakespeare, is it?

0:24:230:24:25

"What are you going to do when you grow up, Izzard?"

0:24:250:24:28

"Transvestite comedian, sir.

0:24:280:24:29

"Hopefully do Broadway."

0:24:290:24:31

"Yes, yes. What a weird thing to say to me."

0:24:310:24:34

I did audition in the Shaw Theatre,

0:24:340:24:37

which ended up being the place where I did Raging Bull years later, for the National Youth Theatre.

0:24:370:24:41

I had learned these speeches, one from Henry IV Part One and one from Beckett,

0:24:410:24:47

and I was very calm, I wanted to be very calm and knock them out and be very confident.

0:24:470:24:52

And I got the confidence together,

0:24:520:24:54

but somehow confidence and memory weren't allowed in the body of the same time at that point.

0:24:540:24:58

So, I was very relaxed when I got there, and went "Yes, good to see you, yes.

0:24:580:25:02

"I'll do these parts and I'll just read them out to you, shall I?"

0:25:020:25:06

So, I'm standing in my future dressing room...

0:25:060:25:10

going, hudh... Huh...

0:25:100:25:13

Hwoo...

0:25:130:25:15

The sun...

0:25:150:25:17

He says, "Right, try the other speech.

0:25:170:25:20

"The Beckett one."

0:25:200:25:22

Uh... Nothing, just completely dry.

0:25:220:25:24

He said, "Well, you'd better go. You're crap.

0:25:240:25:28

"You're a crap kid, you know?"

0:25:280:25:29

No, he didn't say that, but he said,

0:25:290:25:33

"Well... I'll let you... I won't even bother letting you know."

0:25:330:25:38

If The Goon Show was the Old Testament,

0:25:380:25:40

then Monty Python was the New Testament.

0:25:400:25:42

We used to recite their sketches and when I found out that they wrote their sketches,

0:25:420:25:47

I thought, "I have to do this."

0:25:470:25:48

I thought, "I will do what Monty Python does, I will write my own stuff, give myself a big role."

0:25:480:25:52

Personal nepotism, I called it.

0:25:520:25:54

I found out that they were at Cambridge so I thought, "I'll get to Cambridge."

0:25:540:25:58

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen.

0:25:580:26:00

Here we are tonight behind camouflage at the Iranian Embassy,

0:26:000:26:04

here in Eastbourne.

0:26:040:26:05

They've been moved here for safety reasons.

0:26:050:26:08

Upstairs, we have some really bad Iranians up there.

0:26:080:26:11

We've got one here, our resident idiot.

0:26:110:26:14

Come here, resident idiot.

0:26:140:26:17

Here we have resident idiot, Sirius Armin.

0:26:170:26:20

Armini, with the I.

0:26:200:26:22

We also have someone watching us from a distance, but it doesn't matter.

0:26:220:26:27

Upstairs, we have the SAS, trying to break in and free the hostages.

0:26:270:26:30

What do you think about that. He-he!

0:26:300:26:32

Perhaps it would be wise to go to our London studios.

0:26:320:26:35

"Mathematics - attentive, searching and industrious.

0:26:380:26:44

"A-plus, good show."

0:26:440:26:47

In chemistry A-level, there was a Dr Edmundson teaching.

0:26:470:26:50

He had this thing, he would say, "We will take the sodium chloride,

0:26:500:26:55

"and then we stick it..."

0:26:550:26:57

And he'd just leave a gap there, when he was going to say...

0:26:570:27:00

And I'd say, "In the bin!"

0:27:000:27:02

"No, not in the bin." "Stick it in your ear."

0:27:020:27:04

"Not in your ear. Shut up, Izzard."

0:27:040:27:06

And I made a mental decision.

0:27:060:27:07

I said, I will use this lesson in particular to up my comedy hit rate. I was getting laughs.

0:27:070:27:14

And that was obviously going to get me noticed.

0:27:140:27:16

By the summer term, I remember this girl said to me, "I didn't even know you existed until now."

0:27:160:27:21

I went, "Hey, plan number one in the bag."

0:27:210:27:24

"He has been a very lazy boy.

0:27:240:27:27

"A long way from the standard Cambridge University requires. Fail!

0:27:270:27:32

"See me afterwards."

0:27:320:27:33

So, I didn't get to Cambridge.

0:27:390:27:40

But then I realised that Edinburgh Festival was more key.

0:27:400:27:43

Dad wanted me to go university, so I could go to Sheffield, I could go to Edinburgh, learn the ropes,

0:27:430:27:49

do a comedy show, take off, get a television series by the time I was 25. That was the deal.

0:27:490:27:55

He was just basically applying vague models he had,

0:27:550:27:59

like, Not The 9 o'clock News were Cambridge Footlights,

0:27:590:28:02

and they go to Edinburgh.

0:28:020:28:04

I got there and I said, "Right, I'm here.

0:28:040:28:06

"Who goes to the Edinburgh Festival?

0:28:060:28:09

"I will clean your floors, I will swab things down. You want men?

0:28:090:28:12

"Tractors? What do you need? I am the perfect helping person."

0:28:120:28:17

They said, "Oh, we don't go to Edinburgh."

0:28:170:28:19

"No, I'm here.

0:28:210:28:23

"I'm doing a degree course for no reason, just purely to go to the Festival.

0:28:230:28:27

"You, everyone at university, they go to Edinburgh...

0:28:270:28:30

"Someone's going, aren't they?"

0:28:300:28:32

"Someone went about three years ago, lost a lot of money, so we don't go."

0:28:320:28:37

So, I was pole-axed by this thing, which I hadn't bothered to check out

0:28:370:28:42

or didn't think would happen, that no-one in Sheffield Uni was going.

0:28:420:28:46

I thought, "I'll take my own show up to the Festival."

0:28:460:28:48

Right, OK, so what is SUF?

0:28:480:28:52

SUF, Sheffield University Fringe, are a group of self-financed,

0:28:520:28:56

self-educated, self-propelled rug weavers.

0:28:560:28:59

I took this crap show. It was so crap, sometimes we would laugh on the stage

0:28:590:29:03

because no-one was laughing, and then run offstage.

0:29:030:29:06

I believe that this is a mini West End coming to Sheffield, yes.

0:29:060:29:10

"Eddie would like to be the funniest person in Cheshire, but the competition is strong."

0:29:100:29:14

There's a lot of morale,

0:29:140:29:16

and everybody's very keen for the show to work.

0:29:160:29:18

"Rob Ballard is the wisest person we know.

0:29:180:29:20

"He once came third in a Wisest Person We Know competition."

0:29:200:29:23

DRUM ROLL

0:29:230:29:25

Look!

0:29:330:29:35

I think something is afoot here!

0:29:350:29:38

I think you're right. Professor Who is not here.

0:29:380:29:41

It was really awful, but it happened.

0:29:410:29:43

He did get us all up to Edinburgh, we were part of the Fringe Festival.

0:29:430:29:47

"Ian Rowland's sense of humour is dangerous. His sense of smell is the strongest of the whole group."

0:29:470:29:51

What came across was is absolutely cast-iron determination

0:29:510:29:55

to make things happen.

0:29:560:29:58

In Sheffield, you had to pass first year exams to stay on.

0:29:580:30:02

But he didn't do the work.

0:30:020:30:03

He was busy taking his show up to Edinburgh Festival.

0:30:030:30:06

He was thrown out, really.

0:30:060:30:08

Ben Hur - The Street Show!

0:30:080:30:13

Sheffield University threw me out but I didn't leave.

0:30:170:30:20

I stayed on people's floors and I continued doing shows in the union,

0:30:200:30:24

due to a loophole, which was fantastic.

0:30:240:30:26

I kept going back to the Edinburgh Festival for the next two years,

0:30:260:30:29

and did shows that were staggeringly slightly better.

0:30:290:30:33

Edinburgh, you just had to be good at marketing and promoting

0:30:330:30:37

and postering and designing things,

0:30:370:30:39

because there's 500 shows, 1,000 shows you are competing with.

0:30:390:30:43

This is how we started eating polystyrene cups.

0:30:430:30:46

You announced that you're going to eat them, and you do.

0:30:460:30:49

He used to give himself terrible cuts and ulcers and things inside his mouth, but it was very, very funny.

0:30:490:30:54

During those two or three minutes, that's when you can give out your flyers.

0:30:540:30:59

In the old days, adverts were much more blatant.

0:30:590:31:01

Adverts were much more, "Go on, there it is! Go on! Haven't got all day. There it is!"

0:31:010:31:06

As consumers, we were much more, "OK, I didn't realise, sorry."

0:31:060:31:10

"Don't hit me."

0:31:130:31:14

Nowadays, we have choice, don't we?

0:31:140:31:16

We are more choosy, and we're more aware of what we can buy.

0:31:160:31:19

The adverts are more subtle, they're soft sell.

0:31:190:31:22

Adverts are more like -

0:31:220:31:23

# Dah na nah

0:31:230:31:24

# Nah nah nah nah

0:31:240:31:27

# Ba dah dah dah... #

0:31:290:31:30

"Oh, look at that!

0:31:310:31:34

"Those two people like it.

0:31:340:31:36

"And they're shagging."

0:31:360:31:38

LAUGHTER

0:31:380:31:40

We were putting on a lunchtime performance of Ben Hur,

0:31:400:31:43

with no money, no budget, nothing, no costumes, no props.

0:31:430:31:47

Every toga is a bed sheet and every bed sheet is a toga, and every horse

0:31:470:31:51

is just a cut-out from a Kellogg's cereal packet or something.

0:31:510:31:54

The scale of the ambition was massive and insane.

0:31:540:31:57

Eddie used to get himself into financial straits, trying to make these things happen.

0:31:570:32:01

We'd do the show once in Sheffield, lose a little bit of money, take it up to Edinburgh,

0:32:010:32:05

lose more, and then we'd have to come back down to Sheffield

0:32:050:32:08

and put it on again for another week, trying to get more people to come and see this.

0:32:080:32:13

We were on at 12 noon, the first show we did, and nobody came.

0:32:130:32:17

Later in the evening, we would do a show called

0:32:170:32:19

World War II - The Sequel.

0:32:190:32:21

So, on behalf of me, Adolf Hitler.

0:32:210:32:23

And me, Eva Braun.

0:32:230:32:25

We cordially invite you to come and see World War II - The Sequel.

0:32:250:32:29

That year, the Cambridge Footlights turned up, so it was us against them in my mind.

0:32:290:32:33

I can distinctly remember us looking at them going, "Ha, who are they?"

0:32:330:32:37

They just happened to be Stephen Fry...

0:32:370:32:40

Hugh Laurie...

0:32:400:32:41

Emma Thompson...

0:32:410:32:43

I thought, "If there was a God, the Footlights would be awful."

0:32:430:32:47

But they were kind of spellbinding.

0:32:470:32:49

They won the Perrier.

0:32:490:32:52

We were taken out and shot by the venue.

0:32:520:32:55

We weren't even within biting distance, except for one sketch,

0:32:550:32:58

that got put on this radio programme, Aspects Of The Fringe.

0:32:580:33:03

So, I did come close

0:33:030:33:04

to standing next to these guys who had done the Footlights.

0:33:040:33:07

The show that we'd worked on with terrible compared to that.

0:33:070:33:10

He went up to the Assembly Rooms -

0:33:100:33:13

"Oh, yes, we'll be wanting the ballroom,

0:33:130:33:16

"probably about 9 o'clock."

0:33:160:33:18

The guy going, "You realise that's about £10,000?"

0:33:180:33:22

It was just ludicrous sums of money.

0:33:220:33:24

"That wouldn't be a problem, I don't think."

0:33:240:33:26

Mr Burdett-Coutts? Come here.

0:33:270:33:29

Do you remember when I came to your house,

0:33:310:33:33

and asked you the second you opened,

0:33:330:33:35

I said, "Could you dump the Perrier?"

0:33:350:33:38

-Do you remember that, in Camberwell?

-I do, yeah.

0:33:380:33:41

And you had this option of dumping the Perrier winners

0:33:410:33:44

and then me with no reviews.

0:33:440:33:45

And there was no reason, except the venue owners told me our show was shit.

0:33:450:33:51

-That was chutzpah, that was.

-It was. You always had great chutzpah.

0:33:510:33:55

I was good on the chutzpah. And so, I've never actually played your venue.

0:33:550:34:00

Your time will come.

0:34:000:34:01

I got another venue that was halfway to Glasgow,

0:34:010:34:04

and did a show called Sherlock Holmes Sings Country,

0:34:040:34:07

and The Scotsman said we were a load of shabby old tat.

0:34:070:34:11

They did leave a sentence that said,

0:34:110:34:12

"But sometimes they come up with something

0:34:120:34:15

"which is unexpected and devastatingly funny."

0:34:150:34:17

That was the only good quote I had for about 10 years.

0:34:170:34:21

So, yes, that was all the beginning of...continued nothingness.

0:34:210:34:26

But it was actually fantastic for me, because I was trained by

0:34:260:34:30

marching through hell, basically.

0:34:300:34:33

APPLAUSE

0:34:350:34:37

That was OK, but I lost it a bit in the second half.

0:34:410:34:44

How did I lose it?

0:34:440:34:46

Gave my life story and thought, "Is there nothing more to talk about?"

0:34:460:34:50

I was selling ice-creams. Cos they had, right down the end, they had an ice-cream kiosk.

0:34:500:34:54

I was talking about anything, and was trying to make it into material,

0:34:540:34:58

selling ice-cream.

0:34:580:34:59

It's now become a piece, and I'm not talking about anything else.

0:34:590:35:02

I like retail. I had my own idea of running a sweet shop, I always wanted to do that.

0:35:020:35:07

'I'm just jumping to the next bit, or cycling back to Wales or something.'

0:35:070:35:11

I need to keep it open, I need to...

0:35:110:35:13

I need to be able to chat.

0:35:150:35:17

I lost it a bit in the second half. How long was that? Anyone know?

0:35:170:35:21

FAST CLASSICAL MUSIC

0:35:280:35:29

First encountered Rob Ballard at the students' union in Sheffield.

0:35:290:35:34

He had the energy thing that I did, and he had a band, and I had a comedy group.

0:35:340:35:39

So, I just grabbed Rob and said, "You're in it.

0:35:410:35:45

"You're funny, and you're hanging around."

0:35:450:35:47

So, he was in it and he was great,

0:35:470:35:49

he was energetic and crazy, and that's how it started.

0:35:490:35:53

I was too scared to perform on my own at that point.

0:36:080:36:11

So, we became a double act in about '85, '86.

0:36:110:36:15

We'd seen Pookiesnackenburger doing stuff.

0:36:150:36:17

Pookiesnackenburger is Luke Cresswell, who was Stomp.

0:36:170:36:20

That's a really interesting medium, street-performing stuff.

0:36:200:36:23

When you work on the street, you have to make the crowd come to you,

0:36:230:36:27

you have to force them, otherwise you don't eat, basically.

0:36:270:36:31

We came down thinking that we would get the medium of street performing

0:36:310:36:35

within two weeks.

0:36:350:36:36

Two weeks, and then we'd be really good.

0:36:360:36:38

A lot of the acts were very new and different, and there were some really good performers down there.

0:36:380:36:43

First shows at Covent Garden, we were doing bad tricks.

0:36:480:36:51

At its best it was crazy, at its worst it was shite.

0:36:510:36:55

Their act was very basic.

0:36:570:36:59

They had a lot of toys to gather the audience,

0:36:590:37:02

eating cornflakes and escaping from jumpers.

0:37:020:37:05

We wanted to say, "Know what we've done?

0:37:050:37:07

"We have done shows at the Festival, with lights and audiences and tickets.

0:37:070:37:11

"No-one here's done tickets, we've done tickets!" And then we were just terrible.

0:37:110:37:15

It was real moronic stuff, and then they came up with the sword-fighting show, which was really good.

0:37:150:37:20

-Roberto!

-Eduardo!

-En garde.

0:37:200:37:23

Hey!

0:37:260:37:27

'I had directed Rob in the Three Musketeers so I thought, "We'll do the swords."

0:37:270:37:31

'We bought some foils and we started doing stuff. It was very flash.'

0:37:310:37:35

'Eddie became very flamboyant.

0:37:350:37:37

'Suddenly, in his mind, he had to be D'Artagnan.'

0:37:370:37:39

There was a festival in the summer, so we thought, "We'll aim for that."

0:37:390:37:43

We'd worked out routines and we were getting laughs and we didn't even win our own comedy section.

0:37:430:37:49

That's when I just thought, "Oh, well..."

0:37:490:37:52

Because, I'd fallen back, regrouped, come back, attacked, and just failed again.

0:37:520:37:56

I was going round saying, "This is just not my millennia", which I thought was very droll.

0:37:560:38:01

On his 24th birthday, he was sort of pissed-off.

0:38:010:38:04

I was going, "What? What is it? You're 24, what's wrong?"

0:38:040:38:09

"Oh, well... By the time he was 24, Orson Welles had directed Citizen Kane."

0:38:090:38:16

And you sort of went, "Oh, right.

0:38:160:38:19

"You're pissed off because you haven't directed the best movie

0:38:190:38:23

"probably that's ever been made before, you know, you're 24?"

0:38:230:38:26

I think that's a secretly accurate portrayal.

0:38:260:38:29

Street performing, it's the hardest thing. You're performing to people who don't want to watch it.

0:38:290:38:34

I basically broke myself down to zero confidence in Covent Garden.

0:38:360:38:40

Rob would take holidays. He did it quite often.

0:38:530:38:56

So, I could do nothing. I realised I was developing a thing with the audience.

0:38:560:39:00

I could feel it. But as a double act, you're sitting,

0:39:000:39:03

waiting for the other person to come back, and it felt useless.

0:39:030:39:07

Morning, Mr Smith.

0:39:080:39:10

-How are you feeling today?

-Fine.

0:39:100:39:12

Comedy Wavelength is this programme on Channel 4,

0:39:120:39:14

and they said, "Come and be writers."

0:39:140:39:16

They accepted a couple of our sketches.

0:39:160:39:19

And then Rob was in it, and they're saying I wasn't in it, and I was probably jealous of Rob at the time.

0:39:190:39:24

I kept auditioning to trial act.

0:39:240:39:26

The producer said, "You're not a performer.

0:39:260:39:28

"You're a writer, but not a performer."

0:39:280:39:30

That screwed with my brain, because the one thing I was sure about - I was a performer.

0:39:300:39:35

Maybe a writer, but definitely a performer.

0:39:350:39:37

I'd been a four-person act, then a two-person act. I never thought I could be solo.

0:39:370:39:43

Paul Keane used to perform as Captain Keano.

0:39:480:39:51

He could be hellish, obnoxious,

0:39:510:39:53

he could be brilliant, generous...

0:39:530:39:55

He had a demeanour as King of Covent Garden.

0:39:550:39:58

When I am famous, I'd still do my show on the cobbles here

0:39:580:40:01

at Covent Garden.

0:40:010:40:02

Rob went holiday. I said,

0:40:020:40:03

"I didn't know you were going on holiday." He was off for a week or so.

0:40:030:40:07

Paul Keane had some ropes and chains for his escapology,

0:40:070:40:10

and I said, "Can I borrow your ropes and chains?"

0:40:100:40:13

So, I went out with the ropes and chains, one Saturday,

0:40:130:40:16

in about '87, and I strapped them on, did a show, and made £10, and that was it.

0:40:160:40:23

I split up with Rob two weeks later.

0:40:230:40:24

'As soon as I'd gone solo, it was just release.'

0:40:240:40:28

-Yes, there it is!

-CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

0:40:280:40:31

I'd never seen anybody work so hard at riding a unicycle as he did.

0:40:310:40:36

He was just on it, constantly.

0:40:360:40:38

He'd split up with Rob, wanted to do his solo show,

0:40:380:40:41

and was just really manically learning everything he possibly could.

0:40:410:40:45

Once I was tied up by someone really tight in my ropes and chains.

0:40:450:40:49

I couldn't get out.

0:40:490:40:51

I had to dismiss the audience and ask some friends to get me out.

0:40:530:40:58

Paul said to me, "If you think you can't get out, you will not be able to get out.

0:40:580:41:04

"You have to believe you can get out, it's psychological."

0:41:080:41:11

You've got to believe you can be a stand-up before you can be a stand-up.

0:41:180:41:22

You've got to believe you can act before you can act.

0:41:220:41:24

You've got to believe, you've got to imagine yourself in that situation.

0:41:240:41:29

The careers adviser used to come to school, and he took me aside and said, "Tell me your dreams."

0:41:370:41:41

"I want to be a space astronaut,

0:41:410:41:43

"discover things that have never been discovered."

0:41:430:41:46

He said, "Look, you're British, so scale it down a bit, all right?"

0:41:470:41:50

If I start apologising saying, "I'm not funny," I lose it.

0:41:560:42:00

It's very psychological.

0:42:000:42:01

It's very much...

0:42:030:42:04

You know, when I used to do unicycle at Covent Garden,

0:42:090:42:13

you have to practise at Covent Garden, you've got to find a big open space,

0:42:130:42:16

so you're doing it at Covent Garden.

0:42:160:42:18

Lads would walk by going, "Hey, mate, you're going to fall off, you're going to fall off, you are."

0:42:180:42:24

And so you think, "Don't fall off."

0:42:240:42:26

You fall off because you're thinking it. What you have to do is,

0:42:260:42:28

when they say, "Hey, you're going to fall off", blank your mind,

0:42:280:42:32

have no thoughts in there at all, just keep spaced out.

0:42:320:42:37

And that's like here, I've got to keep the fear, block the fear out,

0:42:370:42:41

of not being interesting, and just chat.

0:42:410:42:46

In the summer of '87, I was street performing at a festival

0:42:550:42:58

and these visual guys came by,

0:42:580:43:00

one guy had a helmet on with a steel girder

0:43:000:43:03

with flaming kebabs coming off it, and I realised that I couldn't compete with this guy.

0:43:030:43:09

There's no way I can do street performing.

0:43:090:43:11

I can't compete with a guy with flaming bits of meat attached to his head.

0:43:110:43:15

So I thought, "Right, forget street, I'm developing something here, but I've got to do stand-up."

0:43:150:43:21

But I didn't know how.

0:43:210:43:23

I was already an experienced performer, and I had experience with an audience, how to deal with them.

0:43:230:43:29

If you stay there, we'll do the show behind these two people.

0:43:290:43:32

But not of writing ideas down as myself, because I was dyslexic.

0:43:320:43:35

When I was a kid, I would spell phonetically,

0:43:350:43:38

and we'd do the game of I Spy with my dad and my brother,

0:43:380:43:40

and I remember going, "A word beginning with S,"

0:43:400:43:43

and that was ceiling. K, and that was cat.

0:43:430:43:45

And they'd spend hours trying to get these words,

0:43:450:43:48

and they never could.

0:43:480:43:49

Later on, I got the impression

0:43:490:43:50

that probably was what being dyslexic was.

0:43:500:43:53

I was fully dyslexic

0:43:530:43:54

until I met someone who was more dyslexic

0:43:540:43:56

and said, "You're partially dyslexic."

0:43:560:43:58

There's a lot of rivalry in the dyslexic camp, you know.

0:43:580:44:01

Rivalry with three Vs.

0:44:020:44:04

It makes you think in a creative way.

0:44:050:44:07

You see shapes and you see things inside shapes,

0:44:070:44:10

you see clouds and lions and tigers up there.

0:44:100:44:12

So I went and got a tape recorder and I thought I'd just ad lib

0:44:120:44:15

into the tape and then write that out. That'll be stand up.

0:44:150:44:19

It didn't work.

0:44:210:44:23

They did a stand up workshop at a place called Jackson's Lane.

0:44:230:44:26

Patrick Marber, who was a stand up at that point,

0:44:260:44:29

became a playwright who's written Dealer's Choice and Closer,

0:44:290:44:32

we were very spiky with each other. He did an impression of me

0:44:320:44:36

in that workshop where he went, er...

0:44:360:44:38

"Blah, blah, blah, street, blah, blah, blah, street."

0:44:380:44:42

And I thought, oh God, he must be really annoyed with me,

0:44:420:44:45

cos I was obviously just going on and on about this thing.

0:44:450:44:49

I'd written loads of sketches at university

0:44:490:44:51

and in the end I took a sketch which was a two-person sketch

0:44:510:44:54

and I cannibalised it, cut out the interviewer and made it for one person,

0:44:540:44:57

about being addicted to breakfast cereal.

0:44:570:45:00

And that got laughs.

0:45:000:45:02

I thought, if that gets laughs, I could do more like that.

0:45:020:45:04

I could just write them as two persons, cut them in half,

0:45:040:45:07

I could do all my whole career that way.

0:45:070:45:09

Remember in the '70s there was all that work done with monkeys, the signing thing.

0:45:090:45:12

Hey, you're a monkey.

0:45:120:45:13

Yeah, I'm a monkey.

0:45:130:45:15

So what's it like being a monkey?

0:45:150:45:17

Not bad, not bad.

0:45:180:45:20

What's it like being a human?

0:45:210:45:23

LAUGHTER

0:45:230:45:25

Pretty good.

0:45:260:45:28

Can I have a banana?

0:45:290:45:31

No, I have no bananas.

0:45:310:45:33

On this day.

0:45:340:45:36

You have no bananas?

0:45:370:45:39

Well, if you have no bananas, I'm not fucking talking to you.

0:45:390:45:42

What does that mean?

0:45:430:45:44

I don't know, I just adlibbed it.

0:45:440:45:46

Give me a fucking banana.

0:45:480:45:49

Give me a fucking banana.

0:45:490:45:52

All right.

0:45:530:45:54

What do you want to know?

0:45:550:45:56

How does the monkey community interact?

0:45:580:46:01

You know, in the usual way.

0:46:030:46:05

Give me another banana.

0:46:060:46:08

No, no more bananas.

0:46:080:46:10

I've got a gun.

0:46:100:46:12

You didn't even sign that time.

0:46:140:46:16

I know.

0:46:160:46:17

So in the end I decided to just work on one show until it was good.

0:46:170:46:22

and then people would come.

0:46:220:46:24

As opposed to write shoddy, quick stuff and shove it in people's faces

0:46:240:46:27

and say look, it's brilliant.

0:46:270:46:29

Cos it wasn't.

0:46:290:46:30

The only way you could get good was by doing gigs.

0:46:320:46:35

And you couldn't get the gigs, you could get these open spots

0:46:350:46:37

which were an unpaid five minutes. You would phone up and ask for one

0:46:370:46:40

and they'd give you one three months ahead, just one.

0:46:400:46:43

SMATTERING OF APPLAUSE

0:46:430:46:44

Well done, Harlow, that was good.

0:46:460:46:48

Sometimes you can get on stage and the applause is still going while you're there.

0:46:480:46:51

'Once I'd got a few bookings going I'd said'

0:46:510:46:54

I'll do compereing and they said, oh you will? Well, have three then.

0:46:540:46:58

The host seems a lower status thing. People would say,

0:46:580:47:01

"You're quite good, you should be one of the acts."

0:47:010:47:04

I am one of the acts.

0:47:040:47:05

But the audience wouldn't realise this

0:47:050:47:07

and the stand ups didn't like doing it cos you had to tell people

0:47:070:47:10

to shut and sit down. They hated that, they just wanted to talk funny stuff.

0:47:100:47:14

All street performers have to be comperes,

0:47:140:47:16

we would wrangle the audience into a shape, we were hosting our own show.

0:47:160:47:20

We were already trained in it.

0:47:200:47:22

I was relentlessly working.

0:47:220:47:23

One club was in Streatham on Monday night and they would not laugh.

0:47:230:47:27

I'd just talk endlessly and bring acts on.

0:47:270:47:29

I could smash an atmosphere into people until they thought,

0:47:290:47:32

all right, he seems OK.

0:47:320:47:33

I felt it was coming through, so I was just grabbing it.

0:47:330:47:36

I did a couple of the Screaming Blue Murders,

0:47:360:47:38

where I was just doing real basic gags

0:47:380:47:41

and he was compereing them.

0:47:410:47:42

And it would be, he would go out and for five minutes just...

0:47:420:47:46

they would love him and then he would go down a tangent that would just...

0:47:460:47:50

you know, stink the room out.

0:47:500:47:52

Harlow, you've seen it all before, haven't you?

0:47:520:47:54

You've seen something before, haven't you?

0:47:540:47:56

Seen me before? I've seen you before.

0:47:560:47:59

Oh God, we're going to have a horrible time here.

0:47:590:48:03

Well, just talk amongst yourselves...

0:48:030:48:05

But he was taking those risks that nobody else was taking,

0:48:050:48:08

nobody thought about taking risks, you only did things you knew

0:48:080:48:11

would satisfy an audience.

0:48:110:48:12

You're on a trapeze and you know you're safe on the trapeze,

0:48:120:48:15

and then you let go and you fly

0:48:150:48:17

and the audience goes, "Is he fucking going to catch it?

0:48:170:48:20

"Is he going to catch that trapeze, I don't know."

0:48:200:48:22

But the audience love the gap between the two trapezes.

0:48:220:48:26

There's that great fairy story of Idi Amin goes round to the Duvalier house

0:48:310:48:35

and there he gets in, it's in the middle of he woods.

0:48:350:48:39

He goes in there and there's porridge on the table.

0:48:390:48:41

And he tries Papa Doc Duvalier's porridge, "Ooh, it's too hot."

0:48:410:48:46

And he tries Mama Doc Duvalier's porridge, "Ooh, it's too cold."

0:48:460:48:49

Then he tries Baby Doc Duvalier's, "Mmm, just the right temperature."

0:48:490:48:53

So he gobbles it all up.

0:48:530:48:55

Then he nips upstairs and he's a bit tired.

0:48:550:48:57

There are three beds.

0:48:570:48:58

Papa Doc Duvalier's bed, "Ooh, too hard."

0:48:580:49:00

Mama Doc's, "Mm, bit too soft."

0:49:000:49:02

Baby Doc Duvalier's "Just right."

0:49:020:49:04

So Idi gets in and falls asleep.

0:49:040:49:07

And then the Duvaliers come back and they find him and they skin him.

0:49:070:49:12

I don't know what to do with that piece of material, but I like it.

0:49:170:49:20

It's a wonderfully sick but sort of needed kind of thing.

0:49:210:49:25

In '89, I decided to go back to Edinburgh

0:49:330:49:35

this time, as a stand-up.

0:49:350:49:38

I decided to do

0:49:390:49:41

an hour and five minutes.

0:49:410:49:43

As soon as you've committed yourself so much that you can do an hour,

0:49:430:49:47

I think you've really...you've decided that's what you want to do.

0:49:470:49:52

I did a show at Edinburgh Festival.

0:49:520:49:54

I was setting up and there was no-one else there

0:49:540:49:57

and there was one man standing watching

0:49:570:50:00

and then went, "Ooh!" And ran off in the opposite direction.

0:50:000:50:03

I thought, that's not very helpful! A few minutes later, he came back

0:50:030:50:07

and he'd dragged his family up the hill and said, "Watch this."

0:50:070:50:10

And I thought, that's it. That's the thing I'm trying to get.

0:50:100:50:14

Good afternoon, Edinburgh!

0:50:140:50:16

'I was doing three shows, two street performances

0:50:160:50:20

'and one stand-up in the first year

0:50:200:50:22

'and I got completely burned out.'

0:50:220:50:24

I should also point out that I am doing a stand-up show every night.

0:50:240:50:27

I've got leaflets. My name is Eddie Izzard. It's a strange name, it's got two zeds in it.

0:50:270:50:32

And it's going on every night. I've got all the details about it. I think it's fun.

0:50:320:50:37

It's an hour and five minutes. It's on tonight.

0:50:370:50:40

-I like it.

-Are you ready?

0:50:400:50:42

I certainly am, old chap!

0:50:420:50:44

-Are you steady?

-Yes... This is an enormous build-up, isn't it?

-Go!

0:50:440:50:48

OK. Right.

0:50:480:50:50

CROWD: Five, four, three, two, one...

0:50:500:50:56

THEY CHEER

0:50:560:50:59

WHOOPING

0:51:020:51:04

Very good. Very good.

0:51:040:51:06

Very good.

0:51:060:51:08

Elspeth and I found ourselves at the Edinburgh Festival

0:51:110:51:14

and suddenly, there in front of us was a notice

0:51:140:51:17

"Eddie Izzard".

0:51:170:51:19

We got tickets to what I think may have been pretty well

0:51:190:51:23

his first professional show.

0:51:230:51:26

I saw them.

0:51:260:51:28

My old headmaster. You go, "Unggh!

0:51:280:51:31

"Oh, shit!"

0:51:310:51:34

And for one hour,

0:51:340:51:36

we fell about!

0:51:360:51:39

Why do they say "blood is thicker than water"?

0:51:390:51:42

It's a strange expression. "Blood is thicker than water" means

0:51:420:51:45

"be kind to your relatives".

0:51:450:51:47

But custard is thicker than blood.

0:51:470:51:49

Does this mean we should be nice to trifles?

0:51:500:51:53

"He's a smashing bloke,

0:51:540:51:56

"but there are a good few shows you should catch before this one."

0:51:560:51:59

I was a student, and running a venue in Edinburgh for the festival.

0:52:010:52:04

I went up to this woman. She was running a venue called Greyfriars Kirkhouse.

0:52:040:52:08

She had a slot and I looked at one other venue

0:52:080:52:11

and they may have had a slot but I thought, no, I think I'll go with her cos I fancy her more.

0:52:110:52:16

He couldn't afford to take a slot on his own so he went in with another comedian. It was a way for me

0:52:160:52:23

to get my plays on, because I could hire a venue and afford to put my own play on in there

0:52:230:52:28

and not lose money because it was running the venue, too!

0:52:280:52:32

She had 15 shows on and I realised how much energy it took to set it up.

0:52:320:52:35

-Cos I'd never set up a venue.

-He hadn't perfected his technique at that point.

0:52:370:52:41

-Your accounting was terrible.

-He would turn up to the venue every day, checking his box office figures.

0:52:410:52:46

When there were only half-a-dozen people in the audience, I fell asleep in his show!

0:52:460:52:52

We just hung out and then afterwards I asked her to come to something and you said no.

0:52:520:52:57

And then your dad said you should change your mind.

0:52:570:52:59

So you said yes.

0:52:590:53:01

After the festival, I came back to London and invited Sarah to my flat

0:53:020:53:06

in Streatham.

0:53:060:53:07

I don't think she was terribly impressed

0:53:070:53:09

cos it was like a mattress, small black and white television,

0:53:090:53:13

and all my stuff was in black plastic bin bags. Kind of stylish.

0:53:130:53:16

But I seem to remember she liked my map.

0:53:160:53:19

And I had a colour-coded flag system and I'd stick a flag in

0:53:190:53:23

different colours if I'd stormed it,

0:53:230:53:25

if I'd died, been booked back.

0:53:250:53:27

After each gig, I'd come home and write down my set list for the night

0:53:270:53:31

and what worked, what didn't work, any good improv, how the audience reacted.

0:53:310:53:35

And with that system, I relentlessly worked my way through the circuit.

0:53:350:53:38

Yeah, I remember when he first played.

0:53:380:53:41

Quite a lot of rubbish, really.

0:53:410:53:43

A lot of things people didn't understand, didn't like.

0:53:430:53:45

Got quite a few heckles.

0:53:450:53:47

My uncle always used to say, remember you can take a horse to water

0:53:470:53:51

but you can't take him to a disco.

0:53:510:53:53

I kept playing the Comedy Store and failing, so I thought,

0:53:550:53:58

"I'll stay away from here until I'm good enough to blow the roof off."

0:53:580:54:02

He was doing sort of slightly surreal humour

0:54:020:54:06

but he by no means had found the place where he should be.

0:54:060:54:10

In this country, when comedy is at its best

0:54:100:54:13

is when there's a Tory government, when there's something

0:54:130:54:15

to rebel against. Satire in the Sixties was at its height

0:54:150:54:17

because there was a Tory government. As soon as Wilson came in,

0:54:170:54:21

it slipped away, we had the mainstream, men going,

0:54:210:54:25

"My mother-in-law, my mother-in-law..."

0:54:250:54:27

Thatcher came in, alternative comedy was at its height. We have a war,

0:54:270:54:30

everybody has to say things about it.

0:54:300:54:32

We've got Ben Elton, Mark Thomas,

0:54:320:54:34

Mark Steel, these strong political comedians.

0:54:340:54:37

Suddenly, through it all, there was this guy just talking about being

0:54:370:54:41

brought up by wolves, and it was just incredible.

0:54:410:54:44

He died so regularly, but he stuck with it.

0:54:440:54:47

He went, "No, this is what I find funny."

0:54:470:54:49

There was a night at the Comedy Store in London

0:54:490:54:51

when Bob Mills came up to me and said,

0:54:510:54:53

"Look, they're wild, they're cranky,

0:54:530:54:55

"tonight's not a time for 'I went to school with Perez de Cuellar'."

0:54:550:54:58

I said, "I've got to, that's all I've got!"

0:54:580:55:01

I just talked at this speed... And my mother went up, she said,

0:55:010:55:04

"Why are you doing that?" I said, "I didn't really understand," so...

0:55:040:55:07

I never took a breath. I never went in there... Because I knew in that

0:55:070:55:11

breath someone would go, "You cunt!" And the people down the front who

0:55:110:55:14

are actually attacking you, under your radar because you're here,

0:55:140:55:16

they would gradually quieten down, because you think, "Laugh, laugh,

0:55:160:55:20

"laugh, laugh, laugh, 20 minutes, good night!"

0:55:200:55:23

Then the booker would go, "We like you, you can come back tomorrow."

0:55:230:55:27

His off-the-cuff humour beats most impro hollow. Heckle at your peril.

0:55:270:55:32

CHEERING

0:55:340:55:38

You have to understand what the comedy circuit was like in the '90s.

0:55:410:55:46

It became the biggest thing in the world. There was about 10 clubs

0:55:460:55:48

in New York, and there were 80 clubs in London.

0:55:480:55:51

And people were gigging at least twice a night, at the weekends

0:55:510:55:54

four times a night. You'd do a gig and jump in a black cab,

0:55:540:55:57

scoot off to somewhere in London, then come back in another cab.

0:55:570:56:00

We kind of owned that town, and the audiences were coming.

0:56:000:56:04

They didn't care who was on as long as they were good, didn't know names,

0:56:040:56:06

no-one was famous, and it was all cash in hand,

0:56:060:56:09

pockets stuffed with fivers and tenners and twenties

0:56:090:56:12

and drugs and weed, and whatever you wanted

0:56:120:56:15

was there, everyone was doing it, gigging and drinking like idiots,

0:56:150:56:19

and none of us were known, and it was great.

0:56:190:56:21

He decided he should open his own comedy club and compere and he would

0:56:210:56:24

-get more exposure.

-Here I am in strip joints

0:56:240:56:27

and there's this big black and yellow sign hanging in Soho,

0:56:270:56:30

and people must've walked past and gone, "I wonder what that's about?"

0:56:300:56:33

I'd set up my own club in the centre of town

0:56:330:56:35

in order to be hosting a club every week, be at the centre of things.

0:56:350:56:40

That's Eddie's thinking, immediately.

0:56:400:56:42

I'll host it, I'll get big names in, but people will be seeing me.

0:56:420:56:45

I remember people walking around with Raging Bull badges,

0:56:450:56:48

the Raging Bull logo. There's his marketing working out.

0:56:480:56:51

I managed his club. People liked to come and play there, even though

0:56:580:57:01

-the money wasn't great.

-It was really tough, and I couldn't

0:57:010:57:04

make the money, and the rent was too high and I had to do other gigs

0:57:040:57:07

around this gig in order to pay for the bills.

0:57:070:57:10

He lost so much money in that one year that the VAT man didn't believe

0:57:100:57:13

that he really could've and investigated him

0:57:130:57:16

and eventually found that it really was just a mad person throwing

0:57:160:57:18

-their money away.

-But it gave me this place.

0:57:180:57:20

People seemed to be coming and watching what I was doing.

0:57:200:57:23

It was just packed, and I stood at the bar cos it was

0:57:230:57:26

the only place I could get in. You just felt he had something special.

0:57:260:57:30

He just seemed so ahead of everyone else

0:57:300:57:33

-who was doing stuff at the time.

-I would muck about, improvise.

0:57:330:57:36

I started doing this word wrap thing, talking endlessly

0:57:360:57:39

and make up scenarios about people who were wandering around and poke

0:57:390:57:42

fun at people, and all that improvising was the danger thing

0:57:420:57:46

that people were interested in. That was a commodity,

0:57:460:57:49

that was different.

0:57:490:57:51

He was Raging Bull. Everybody would come and see Eddie,

0:57:510:57:55

week after week.

0:57:550:57:57

I don't think any big venue in London ever had a regular compere.

0:57:570:58:01

Two people were going to come along and watch me do stuff,

0:58:010:58:03

and if they liked it I'd get into this benefit called Hysteria 3.

0:58:030:58:06

I really tried to do good, and I failed.

0:58:060:58:09

I was really crap that day. So at the end of that night I said,

0:58:090:58:13

"I was really shit tonight, so if you don't want to book me, fine."

0:58:130:58:17

And they said, bizarrely, fantastically, "No, it's OK,

0:58:170:58:20

"we'll come back next week and watch you again."

0:58:200:58:22

Which is just like, "Have a second go!" And so they came back next week

0:58:220:58:26

and I decided, OK, don't give a damn this week,

0:58:260:58:29

so I just did whatever, mucked about, had fun, had fun,

0:58:290:58:34

and it went great. They said, "Right, you're in."

0:58:340:58:38

It was an Aids benefit, and no-one but no-one knew who Eddie Izzard was.

0:58:400:58:46

And he came on and did three minutes of the very famous, as it is now,

0:58:460:58:51

wolves sketch.

0:58:510:58:53

And I was brought up after that by wolves, actually.

0:58:540:58:58

LAUGHTER

0:58:580:58:59

Well, you know, they were out yachting one day and...

0:58:590:59:03

It was great, it was wonderful.

0:59:040:59:06

Being brought up by wolves as a kid was wonderful. They gave me a name.

0:59:060:59:09

They called me Rrrr.

0:59:090:59:11

LAUGHTER

0:59:110:59:13

They taught me all the stuff,

0:59:150:59:17

hunting, fishing, backgammon, all of that.

0:59:170:59:19

And wolves are natural at fishing.

0:59:190:59:22

They wait by fast-flowing rivers

0:59:220:59:24

and then when a big fish comes along, just at the right moment

0:59:240:59:27

they reel it in really, really quickly.

0:59:270:59:30

Cook it gas mark 4 with a bit of herbs.

0:59:300:59:33

We were wolves, we were young, we were crazy.

0:59:330:59:36

We'd make love in the moonlight.

0:59:370:59:40

They would, they would. I'd watch and say, "No, I'm full, thank you."

0:59:400:59:46

Everyone was turning around, going, "Who's that Izzard guy?"

0:59:460:59:50

Catch you later.

0:59:500:59:51

Cos no-one had really heard of him, and he just took the place apart.

0:59:510:59:56

19 wolves and me, and I was trying to blend in, going woof, woof.

0:59:561:00:00

LAUGHTER

1:00:001:00:02

And these bears would stand there and say, "What's that?"

1:00:021:00:05

I'd go, "Hi, I'm a wolf. Catch you later."

1:00:051:00:09

And we'd be chasing these things,

1:00:121:00:14

they turned out to be antelopes, that was great, cos we eat them,

1:00:141:00:17

and we'd be chasing them, and after about 20 minutes they put on a lead

1:00:171:00:21

and so we had a discussion and agreed to move our legs as well.

1:00:211:00:25

-That really helped.

-LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE

1:00:251:00:28

Whoosh, off they went and I couldn't keep up.

1:00:281:00:31

You know, two legs. So I took to driving a small red car.

1:00:311:00:33

LAUGHTER

1:00:331:00:37

It was great, it was the same position and everything.

1:00:391:00:42

And it was a hatchback, it was roomy, so I said,

1:00:421:00:45

"Guys, get in the back."

1:00:451:00:47

LAUGHTER

1:00:471:00:49

The ironic thing about Hysteria 3 was

1:00:491:00:52

it was being run by Stephen Fry, and Hugh Laurie was in it with him

1:00:521:00:55

who were part of that Footlights group

1:00:551:00:58

that won the Perrier 10 years before.

1:00:581:01:01

10 years, while I'd been out in the wilderness, living off pine cones.

1:01:011:01:06

I remember the next day being woken by the phone ringing off the hook

1:01:081:01:11

and faxes coming through on top of each other.

1:01:111:01:13

"You tore the place apart on Sunday night."

1:01:131:01:15

"The most talked-about item we had."

1:01:151:01:18

It really was the classic overnight success after many years.

1:01:181:01:21

I had always wanted to do the Big God Television, then I thought maybe I don't need television.

1:01:211:01:26

People thought I wasn't doing it out of principle, but I was

1:01:261:01:29

in fact doing it as revenge for always wanting to do it.

1:01:291:01:33

It's the madness, what I call the madness, because I think,

1:01:331:01:36

if you think you can perform and the whole world is saying you can't perform, then you're obviously mad.

1:01:361:01:41

If you hold on to that madness, and you hold on to it and hold on to it

1:01:411:01:45

for years, and then later it comes good and you can actually perform, then it proves that you weren't mad.

1:01:451:01:52

You just had to surround that little bit of belief

1:01:521:01:56

and hold on to it...

1:01:561:01:58

for as long as it takes.

1:01:591:02:01

He's one of these people who has been told throughout life that he's not capable of certain things

1:02:041:02:09

and he'll just bang on the door until you open it and let him in.

1:02:091:02:14

I thought I could play the West End,

1:02:171:02:19

because people were phoning up and saying they wanted to see that guy.

1:02:191:02:22

I had done it on the street, I seemed to be doing it in the clubs.

1:02:221:02:26

He was the first person I knew who had a mailing list.

1:02:261:02:29

People would write to you and say "Eddie is on here, let's go and see him do a full length show."

1:02:291:02:34

That's how the Ambassadors first settled down.

1:02:341:02:36

So I left the circuit and I tried out my show in the small theatres

1:02:361:02:39

around London and they sold out, so I thought "I'm going to go and do the West End."

1:02:391:02:43

It was completely unheard of to put yourself into a West End theatre like that.

1:02:431:02:47

People thought he was taking a terrible risk.

1:02:471:02:49

It was a risk, yes, because we didn't have the money.

1:02:491:02:52

We'd been doing so many shows that everyone was letting us have printing and stuff on 30-day credit.

1:02:521:02:56

We had 30 days to break even or go bust.

1:02:561:02:59

OK, that would be crap.

1:03:001:03:02

I thought it would be a good idea, you said no, it'll never work.

1:03:041:03:08

So we've got a sort of relationship here. I say things, you say no.

1:03:081:03:10

If you do the big silence thing, I know I'm going wrong.

1:03:101:03:14

I came in late the first night, I really seriously thought I had walked into the wrong show!

1:03:161:03:23

Because I had no idea.

1:03:231:03:25

OK, I've only got a couple of dresses so fuck off.

1:03:351:03:39

I was so shocked I had no idea.

1:03:391:03:41

It was a fantastic show and I think the audience were incredibly warm.

1:03:411:03:45

Yes, yes, yes, I thought I'd do the gig in a dress.

1:03:451:03:49

Good reaction London, come on, yeah. Fucking hell!

1:03:491:03:52

It was up to this point he had still never dressed in the clothes and he

1:03:521:03:55

didn't want the tabloids making something out of it so he said, "Right, I'll become visible."

1:03:551:04:00

I'm a very stubborn pig-headed personality,

1:04:001:04:05

and quite thick-skinned,

1:04:051:04:08

and was always looking for a challenge or a quest.

1:04:081:04:11

One minute you can talk about sexism, because men could really get the angle on that.

1:04:111:04:14

If you're ethnic minority you can talk about racism, but for

1:04:141:04:17

me personally - white male, middle-class - completely fucking useless.

1:04:171:04:20

LAUGHTER

1:04:201:04:21

There's no angles there at all. You can't say, "When I was growing up I had it...

1:04:211:04:25

"all right. I suppose not too bad."

1:04:251:04:28

The kids at school would taunt me and say 'Ooh, do you want to play?'"

1:04:281:04:32

LAUGHTER

1:04:321:04:35

It was the acceptance I couldn't take, the constant acceptance so...

1:04:351:04:39

The only thing working in my favour is thank God I'm a transvestite, eh? Cor!

1:04:411:04:46

Phewee! It was very dangerous because

1:04:461:04:49

my career was just finally taking off and I could be about to blow it out the window by wearing a dress.

1:04:491:04:54

With me in the studio is a well-known stand-up comedian, Eddie Izzard,

1:04:541:04:58

who has recently revealed that he is a transvestite.

1:04:581:05:01

-Why aren't you dressed?

-Because I chose not to.

1:05:031:05:06

It was also because I wanted to talk about it rather than

1:05:061:05:10

-wear the clothes.

-I think it's very brave of you to come out and tell everybody you're a transvestite.

1:05:101:05:15

Why do that at this stage in your career?

1:05:151:05:17

I just told a newspaper that I was tv and of course all the newspapers after that decided to pick up on it.

1:05:171:05:23

But you do feel it's important, don't you, that people should know?

1:05:231:05:25

Society makes people fear it and be scared and feel ashamed.

1:05:251:05:30

It's just the way I am.

1:05:301:05:32

I'm tv, I have been since I was four. I have no problems with it.

1:05:321:05:37

You have to come out and basically get the reaction about it.

1:05:371:05:41

I have a girlfriend and she's quite cool about it as well.

1:05:411:05:44

The only way you can get cool about it is by society backing off,

1:05:441:05:47

all people who are tv coming out and saying "I'm tv, it's not a problem."

1:05:471:05:51

The first time he came out with stand-ups was at a party I gave at my flat and he turned up in turquoise

1:05:511:05:56

eyeshadow up to his eyebrows and a huge jumper with a belt, a skirt and really high patent shoes.

1:05:561:06:03

I wasn't going to come out about it because that just seemed foolish.

1:06:031:06:06

Then I thought I should,

1:06:061:06:08

there's an element that you're positive, do it, it's truthful.

1:06:081:06:12

I'm coming out, people can see it's difficult for me. It's a fight.

1:06:121:06:16

It was really important for him that time to wear the skirt.

1:06:161:06:18

He wanted to go on and do it honestly, and he felt that way.

1:06:181:06:22

I think it was a very brave move.

1:06:221:06:24

Look, this is me, this is what you get. This is Eddie.

1:06:241:06:27

The show worked and extended twice, and played for three months,

1:06:271:06:32

and it got an Olivier nomination out of it and I got a video distribution deal out of it. That was a surprise.

1:06:321:06:38

You have to accept your children

1:06:381:06:41

for exactly what they are.

1:06:411:06:44

I couldn't see anything

1:06:441:06:46

in his dressing up in his own women's clothes to get upset about, as long

1:06:461:06:54

as he didn't get into situations where he got clobbered by a lot of people who thought it was outlandish.

1:06:541:07:00

He doesn't seem to have managed to do that, except once in Cambridge, of course.

1:07:001:07:04

Comedian Eddie Izzard was attacked late last night in Cambridge city centre.

1:07:041:07:08

If you have a knife and you're coming down, you do that and that.

1:07:081:07:12

Wow, that's very good.

1:07:121:07:16

That's from a book, I've never practised it.

1:07:161:07:19

Except on this guy in Cambridge.

1:07:191:07:21

I didn't go down, I was pleased I didn't go down.

1:07:211:07:23

It was like Cool Hand Luke. He went down but he kept getting back up.

1:07:231:07:26

I didn't even go down, I just stayed up and I was pleased I didn't run away screaming.

1:07:261:07:33

I've looked at fear in a big way, because, coming out,

1:07:331:07:36

you have to deal with basically the whole of the world say "Oh, you're an abominable snowman,"

1:07:361:07:39

and me going "No, don't think so, no."

1:07:391:07:42

You have to deal with this fear thing.

1:07:421:07:44

I tend to go towards things that scare me now.

1:07:441:07:47

I think it's positive. Not anything. Like leaping off a cliff onto a spike scares me, don't do it.

1:07:471:07:52

Let's go, here we go. Crash helmet on.

1:07:521:07:55

Great belly flop, no.

1:07:551:07:58

I know lots of women who find him very, very attractive dressed as a woman.

1:07:581:08:03

I don't. I think he's very attractive dressed as a man.

1:08:031:08:07

Is it difficult to live with?

1:08:091:08:11

Yes, but you compromise.

1:08:111:08:13

In that respect it's pretty normal.

1:08:131:08:15

I think most of all the courage it's taken to live his life this way

1:08:171:08:21

is the thing that makes him most attractive.

1:08:211:08:24

But yes, he does drive me nuts.

1:08:241:08:27

I thought my brain was visually hip but I didn't think my look was visually hip.

1:08:371:08:43

Tonight, Eddie is wearing black velour kaftan top, Western buckled

1:08:431:08:48

belt - wow, pardner - mustard pleated baggy trousers, and black monk-strap rubber-soled shoes. Stealthy.

1:08:481:08:56

Gosh, girls. Look out, it's a batik patchwork

1:08:561:08:59

shirt, brown and black striped belt, grey herringbone suit trousers and brown shiny cowboy boots. Yee-ha.

1:08:591:09:06

I just wore whatever clothes happened to be lying around.

1:09:061:09:09

Most comics just look like me, this big slob who walks out on stage with what they've been wearing all day.

1:09:091:09:14

I was wearing a dress on stage and the journalists believed I was a transvestite.

1:09:141:09:18

They said, "OK you're a transvestite but you look a mess,"

1:09:181:09:20

and it struck me I had to get it

1:09:201:09:23

into some sexy sort of rock 'n' roll place so I stole that sensibility from Sarah who

1:09:231:09:29

was doing rock 'n' roll gigs and I got her to write the intro.

1:09:291:09:32

In every show after that, they got more funky and rock 'n' roll.

1:09:321:09:35

You didn't have to say, "Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome this guy."

1:09:351:09:38

You just put on the music and boom, it blew out the speakers and everyone knew what to do.

1:09:381:09:43

It really kicked.

1:09:431:09:44

Pears can fuck off too, because they're gorgeous little beasts but they're ripe for half-an-hour,

1:09:501:09:57

and they're like a rock or they're mush.

1:09:571:10:00

You take them home and they'll ripen up, but put them in a bowl and they

1:10:001:10:03

sit there going "No, no, don't ripen yet, don't ripen yet, wait until he goes out of the room...

1:10:031:10:09

"Ripen now, now, now!"

1:10:111:10:12

If you just saw Eddie's picture and had no idea who he was, you'd never think he was a comedian.

1:10:191:10:24

You'd think he was Madonna. It was a rock picture, not a comedy picture.

1:10:241:10:26

I've never seen one person in a film on a computer doing a normal kind of thing, going...

1:10:351:10:41

Ctrl P print.

1:10:491:10:52

Ctrl P print.

1:10:521:10:54

Cannot access printer.

1:10:541:10:57

It's here!

1:10:571:10:58

I can access it.

1:11:001:11:02

Print! Ctrl P print. Ctrl P print.

1:11:021:11:05

It's five in the morning, it's only a paragraph!

1:11:051:11:07

In 1996, I got my first film role.

1:11:101:11:14

By the first day of shooting I got a huge surprise when I found out who else was in the cast.

1:11:141:11:18

I'd been told that there was this comic in the movie and for me it was like... "another comic?!"

1:11:181:11:23

I thought "I'm just going down there" and I walked up to you, "Mr Robin Williams."

1:11:231:11:26

And you went "Mr Eddie Izzard" and I went errr "How do you know me?"

1:11:261:11:29

"I know you!"

1:11:291:11:31

I think later on you brought me the tape.

1:11:311:11:33

I said "Can you watch my tape, please?"

1:11:331:11:36

"This is what I do."

1:11:361:11:37

Did I say, "Do you think this would swing in America?"

1:11:371:11:40

Yes, and I said, "May I say honestly, fuck yeah!"

1:11:401:11:44

You said, "Do you think American audiences will get it?"

1:11:441:11:46

I said yeah, the intelligent ones will.

1:11:461:11:48

New York is the taste-maker, it's the gatekeeper to the whole of America and Canada.

1:11:511:11:56

You get New York, and specifically the New York Times, you have to get

1:11:561:12:00

them to say you're good so I realised I have to get a small

1:12:001:12:03

theatre in New York and play it, and play it and play it, and just keep doing that.

1:12:031:12:08

There was a big change going from the UK to America.

1:12:081:12:10

I played to 8,000 people at the Docklands Arena and then in New York I was playing to 80 people.

1:12:101:12:15

It was like playing Edinburgh Festival all over again.

1:12:151:12:17

I found an issue when I came here, I had to try and stop Europeans coming, and get Americans coming.

1:12:171:12:22

You had to stop Europeans! Please don't come.

1:12:221:12:25

It you know about Eddie, don't come.

1:12:251:12:27

-Because otherwise...

-They packed the theatres with English.

1:12:271:12:29

And then you can't get any American word of mouth.

1:12:291:12:31

But I think you cracked it perfectly because everyone tries to come in and go big.

1:12:311:12:35

Your plan was to start very small, the way you did in England.

1:12:351:12:37

-Small, like a small thing.

-Yes, you did it like word of mouth, it was a clandestine thing.

1:12:371:12:42

Voom, the first stadium you played was just three people.

1:12:421:12:44

-It was an 80-seater.

-Yes, 80-seater.

1:12:441:12:46

Only three people there.

1:12:461:12:48

But those three people were good people.

1:12:481:12:51

Then the next time you came it was 300, and now you're up to a couple of thousand.

1:12:511:12:55

CHEERING

1:12:551:12:58

Cool is a thing of youth.

1:13:011:13:03

It's linked to fashion, being cool is linked to fashion and there's a circle.

1:13:031:13:07

There are a lot of circles involved in things, like

1:13:071:13:09

politics - extreme right wing, left wing, politics join up.

1:13:091:13:12

Madness and genius joins up at the back, and also with fashion.

1:13:121:13:15

So over here you've got looking like a dickhead,

1:13:151:13:18

and you have average, normal looking, then cool hip and groovy...

1:13:181:13:22

Looking like a dickhead.

1:13:221:13:23

LAUGHTER

1:13:231:13:25

I personally cruise that back corner, looking like

1:13:271:13:32

a dickhead. And it is - if you're on the cutting

1:13:321:13:33

edge of cool hip and groovy, you must look like a dickhead.

1:13:331:13:36

You've got to be over in there, but it has to go round this way.

1:13:361:13:39

You can't back in from looking like a dickhead into...

1:13:391:13:42

cool hip and groovy, "No, fuck off, it's that way round."

1:13:471:13:49

"I want to be cool, man." "No, you look like a dickhead."

1:13:511:13:54

"Well, you look like a dickhead." "Yeah, but I know why I look like a dickhead. Now fuck off!"

1:13:541:13:58

With the success of Dress To Kill in New York in 1998, I decided

1:13:581:14:02

to go and play the west coast - San Francisco and Los Angeles.

1:14:021:14:06

Robin Williams phoned up and said, "We want to support you coming to the west coast."

1:14:061:14:10

I said, "We're already going. It's perfect."

1:14:101:14:12

He put his name above the title, we put our names under the title and it was a wonderful marriage.

1:14:121:14:16

And in the end, instead of opening in San Francisco to three cans of

1:14:161:14:19

beans and a banana, it was everyone from San Francisco just turning up.

1:14:191:14:22

So it was just a massive amount of people coming.

1:14:221:14:25

'He looks stunning. That's not a comic, is it?

1:14:261:14:29

'That's a superstar.'

1:14:291:14:31

We stole countries. That's how you build an empire.

1:14:331:14:35

We stole countries with the cunning use of flags.

1:14:351:14:39

Yeah.

1:14:391:14:41

You just sail round the world and stick a flag in.

1:14:411:14:44

"I claim India for Britain."

1:14:441:14:46

And they're going, "You can't claim us, we live here."

1:14:461:14:50

"500 million of us."

1:14:501:14:52

"Do you have a flag?"

1:14:521:14:54

LAUGHTER

1:14:541:14:56

Most stand-ups in the UK, where we have alternative comedy

1:14:561:15:00

specifically, I'd say the majority do not have writers.

1:15:001:15:05

I'd say about 90% do not have writers.

1:15:051:15:08

They are writer/performers. And that's what's tricky.

1:15:081:15:10

You can be a great performer and not be able to get the material together, while some

1:15:101:15:14

people are great writers and their performing skills are not so good.

1:15:141:15:18

You have to be two things. That had only

1:15:181:15:21

really become starkly apparent when I did Dress To Kill. I got

1:15:211:15:26

one Emmy for writing, one Emmy for performing.

1:15:261:15:29

And you think, "My God, they're two highly valued areas."

1:15:291:15:32

-And the Emmy goes to...

-And the Emmy goes to...

1:15:321:15:35

Stop it!

1:15:351:15:37

And the Emmy goes to...

1:15:411:15:43

Eddie Izzard!

1:15:471:15:48

CHEERING

1:15:481:15:51

There's a hole.

1:15:581:16:00

There would never be a hole on the stage at the Emmys.

1:16:001:16:03

Eddie's on location in Vienna where he's filming All The Queen's Men.

1:16:031:16:06

We accept this award on his behalf. Congratulations.

1:16:061:16:08

-Un awr.

-That's two?

-That's one hour.

1:16:161:16:18

-What's the number two?

-Dau.

-Un, dau.

-Tri.

-Tri.

-Pedwar.

-Pedwar.

-Pump.

1:16:181:16:25

Pump. I may do that.

1:16:251:16:27

-Un.

-Dau.

-Dau.

-Tri.

-Tri.

-Pedwar.

-Pedwar.

-Pump.

-Pump.

1:16:271:16:34

If I said to you...

1:16:341:16:38

Un, dau, tri.

1:16:381:16:43

WHISTLING

1:16:431:16:45

LAUGHTER

1:16:451:16:47

-Pedwar.

-..pedwar.

1:16:481:16:50

Chwech. Chwech. That's fine - chwech.

1:16:541:16:58

Chwech.

1:16:581:17:00

Ohh, you missed one!

1:17:001:17:01

-Pump!

-APPLAUSE

1:17:011:17:03

In the end, if you count one to five in a language,

1:17:091:17:15

that's going to get the best reaction than talking for an hour-and-a-half.

1:17:151:17:19

There's no stand-up in France, and they're not used to English people speaking French.

1:17:251:17:29

The first gig I did in France, stand-up gig, was in '97 at La Fleche d'Or, the Golden Arrow.

1:17:291:17:36

He's a Europhile, he wants to do every country and every language.

1:17:361:17:40

He was kind of excited, you know, and,

1:17:401:17:44

oh, my God, we walked into this venue which was a sort of cavern.

1:17:441:17:50

We went backstage to the office

1:17:501:17:53

and he just went, sort of like he does, "Fuck, fuck, fuck!"

1:17:531:18:00

Pacing up and down, pacing up and down, going, "I just don't know if I can do this.

1:18:001:18:04

"I don't know if I can do this."

1:18:041:18:06

And Eddie was going, "I can't remember anything. I can't remember any vocabulary."

1:18:061:18:11

I went outside to get my friend and she sat down with him and just went through some vocabulary.

1:18:111:18:16

And I'm thinking, "Can't remember any vocabulary?! We're in trouble."

1:18:161:18:19

-Hello.

-Hello!

1:18:191:18:21

Il faut que vous m'aidiez, oui?

1:18:211:18:24

-Parce que mon francais, c'est...

-APPLAUSE

1:18:241:18:28

I said to him, "Look, you really don't have to put yourself through this. Please, it just doesn't matter.

1:18:281:18:34

"We can cancel it now. We'll say you're ill.

1:18:341:18:36

"It doesn't matter. I don't want you to get so worked up about it that you won't be able to do it."

1:18:361:18:42

But of course he wasn't going to hear that.

1:18:421:18:44

OK. Les anges, les anges. Il y a une guerre entre les anges.

1:18:441:18:51

I felt so sick all the way through it.

1:18:511:18:54

I just stood at the side, and he would get through...

1:18:541:18:57

My French is pretty basic, but he would get through a sort of joke, a sequence about supermarkets,

1:18:571:19:04

and then, at the very last minute...

1:19:041:19:07

Oh, fuck, I don't know the words.

1:19:071:19:10

..he'd forget the French word for the punch line and he would have to ask the audience what the word was.

1:19:101:19:17

-What do they call them?

-AUDIENCE SHOUTS

1:19:171:19:21

Les petits, les mandarines. Quoi?

1:19:211:19:28

Clementines.

1:19:281:19:29

-Clementines, oui.

-The feedback I got was that his French was not really good enough to be doing it.

1:19:291:19:35

WHISTLING

1:19:351:19:36

Je retournerai.

1:19:361:19:38

I don't know why he didn't do it in English.

1:19:381:19:41

Because he'd set himself the task of doing it in French.

1:19:411:19:45

And he is stubborn.

1:19:451:19:46

Do you think that the French people found it funny?

1:19:481:19:50

I th... No.

1:19:501:19:53

So that was the first gig, and it was atrocious.

1:19:531:19:57

But at least I did it.

1:19:571:19:59

If the meaning of life

1:19:591:20:01

or the purpose of life is to live it,

1:20:011:20:05

which I think it is.

1:20:051:20:06

Life's there, we're here.

1:20:061:20:08

You can go, "What is it all about?"

1:20:081:20:09

And just get lost in a circular argument, or you can just say, "Get it, grab it.

1:20:091:20:16

"Try and put something positive into it."

1:20:161:20:19

And...

1:20:191:20:20

that's what I want to do.

1:20:201:20:22

And if fear gets in the way, you just push fear back.

1:20:221:20:25

'Well, since that gig, I have really pushed to do more studying.

1:20:251:20:30

'And also before the gig starts I work with a language expert.

1:20:301:20:33

'I think it's very key to speak a lot of slang in your language,

1:20:331:20:35

'because that's what you do in stand-up.'

1:20:351:20:37

APPLAUSE

1:21:051:21:07

I'm very much looking forward to getting my doctorate,

1:21:161:21:19

seeing as I didn't pass my degree.

1:21:191:21:23

There was a thing in my head saying,

1:21:251:21:27

"Well, if I work really hard maybe someone will give me one."

1:21:271:21:31

Eddie is committed to challenging assumptions about language.

1:21:311:21:34

Thank you, thank you very much.

1:21:341:21:37

My dad's here. He had to wait 20 years to get one of these ceremonies to happen, so thank you very much.

1:21:371:21:43

German's the next one. And Spanish,

1:21:461:21:49

I think he's quite keen to do, maybe learn a smattering of Scandinavian.

1:21:491:21:54

I don't know. I dread to think of it every time in my head.

1:21:541:21:58

A critic reviewed a show and within the show he said,

1:22:071:22:10

"Why do you want to be a so-so actor when you're a brilliant comic?"

1:22:101:22:14

But once I was a so-so comedian.

1:22:141:22:17

I was always trying to get to Hollywood.

1:22:171:22:21

We play bad guys in Hollywood movies.

1:22:211:22:22

The Death Star, full of British actors opening doors -

1:22:221:22:25

"Oh, I'm... Oh... Oh..."

1:22:251:22:30

"What is it, Lieutenant Sebastian?"

1:22:301:22:33

"It's just the rebels, sir. They're here."

1:22:331:22:37

"My God, man! Do they want tea?"

1:22:391:22:43

"No, I think they're after something more than that, sir.

1:22:451:22:48

"I don't know what it is, but they've brought a flag."

1:22:481:22:51

Doing stand-up he's always paved his own way,

1:22:521:22:55

whereas with acting you're in a system and it's much harder just

1:22:551:22:59

to do your own thing and prove your own point. You have to play the game.

1:22:591:23:04

But do you lose all your gut feelings because you are

1:23:041:23:07

worried that you're going to hit comedy instead of hitting truth?

1:23:071:23:10

When I did the Ocean's movies, I felt like I'd got to base camp

1:23:101:23:14

on Mount Everest and everyone said, "We're going up the mountain",

1:23:141:23:17

and I was saying, "All right, I'll be here".

1:23:171:23:19

Now I'm in The Riches, Wayne Malloy, great critical acclaim for the show

1:23:191:23:22

and I think I can now call myself an actor. Or, if not,

1:23:221:23:26

I can call myself a postman.

1:23:261:23:28

I want to do Shakespeare because it scares the shit out of me.

1:23:281:23:30

That's a reason to do it. It's like running the marathons of theatre.

1:23:301:23:34

You know, there's the three biggies.

1:23:341:23:36

I guess it's Hamlet you play at a certain phase. And then you go...

1:23:361:23:41

At the end of your life there is always Lear.

1:23:411:23:43

-That's waiting for you at the end.

-I'll start with Lear.

-Yeah...

-And then work backwards.

1:23:431:23:47

-And do the only 85-year-old Hamlet.

-Yeah!

1:23:471:23:49

I haven't done Shakespeare yet, but I did Broadway.

1:23:491:23:52

The theatre people of New York were great and they really welcomed A Day In The Death Of Joe Egg on Broadway

1:23:521:23:57

and there was a huge buzz about it and it got a Tony nomination and my dad was there opening night.

1:23:571:24:02

No, I got down on my knees and I prayed to God.

1:24:021:24:04

I said, God, I have only just found her. The baby doesn't matter.

1:24:041:24:08

If it is a question of a swap...

1:24:081:24:09

Oh, Bri!

1:24:091:24:11

And then I found I was so drunk I could hardly get to my feet again.

1:24:151:24:19

But that was a very good experience.

1:24:191:24:20

And then I had to come back and

1:24:221:24:24

go into this new type of tour to develop material to do a thing

1:24:241:24:28

because I had to change it because I was on a programme about fraud.

1:24:281:24:33

On Weekend Watchdog tonight, new fuel at petrol stations

1:24:341:24:37

causing a massive rise in car breakdowns, claim the AA.

1:24:371:24:41

We report on Eddie Izzard's recycled jokes and...

1:24:411:24:44

Their issue was he was doing old material.

1:24:441:24:46

He never performed that show here, but they would have seen it on the DVD. The DVD had been released.

1:24:461:24:51

Original sin, what a hellish idea that is!

1:24:511:24:53

People having to go, Father, bless me for I have sinned.

1:24:531:24:56

I did an original sin.

1:24:561:24:57

I poked a badger with a spoon.

1:24:571:24:59

I've never heard of that one before!

1:25:011:25:04

Five Hail Marys and two Hello Dollies. All right.

1:25:041:25:07

Well, funny hearing it once, but still funny twice? Maybe.

1:25:081:25:11

I would start a new tour with the old show. I just used to ad lib it on the stage and then hone it

1:25:111:25:16

and then dump out the old stuff and put in the new stuff. It was just a constantly rolling thing.

1:25:161:25:22

I told people I did this. I told critics I did this. That's what I did.

1:25:281:25:31

We've counted up all the gags on this video, 55 in total,

1:25:311:25:35

and we've put them here on our Weekend Watchdog Eddie Izzard gag count.

1:25:351:25:39

Now we're going to send in our gag accountant.

1:25:391:25:42

It's like going to a rock and roll concert and saying,

1:25:421:25:44

-we've heard The Stones, we've heard these

-BLEEP

-numbers before.

1:25:441:25:49

You're on Watchdog for fraud.

1:25:491:25:51

The Stones on Watchdog for fraud because we've heard all this stuff before.

1:25:511:25:58

In the same sentence they're attacking

1:25:581:26:00

one of the biggest oil companies and then one independent comedian.

1:26:001:26:03

We knew we could absolutely justify the situation and he in no way should have been criticised for it.

1:26:031:26:10

The theatre had got the wrong end of the stick and they said

1:26:101:26:12

"All New Material", at Birmingham Hippodrome.

1:26:121:26:16

People complained to Watchdog saying I'm trying to fuck everyone over.

1:26:161:26:19

They paid £18.50 each for their seats

1:26:191:26:21

and by the end of the night in fact realised there was very little new.

1:26:211:26:25

Eddie was the first one I'd ever known not to be putting out his material during the tour he was on.

1:26:251:26:31

-That's what everyone does.

-I'd been part of the movement at the beginning of the '90s

1:26:311:26:35

to try and change material over at a faster pace.

1:26:351:26:37

People had done the same 20 minutes sometimes for years.

1:26:371:26:40

Back in Morecambe and Wise times, forever.

1:26:401:26:42

You'd get your hour show and do it forever.

1:26:421:26:44

Was it all new to you tonight?

1:26:441:26:46

-A lot of it was, wasn't it?

-A lot of it was new, yeah.

-Yeah?

1:26:461:26:48

It was told in different ways and things he'd said before.

1:26:481:26:51

He could go in there and read out a recipe for making cake and it would still be fantastic.

1:26:511:26:55

-It's just Eddie being Eddie.

-I just felt totally gutted by that.

1:26:551:27:00

"I will have the penne alla arrabiata".

1:27:001:27:02

"You'll need a tray".

1:27:041:27:06

"Do you know who I am?"

1:27:061:27:08

-"Do you know who

-I

-am?"

1:27:081:27:10

"This is not a game of who the fuck are you?

1:27:101:27:14

"I am Vader.

1:27:141:27:15

"Darth Vader.

1:27:151:27:17

"Lord Vader.

1:27:171:27:19

"I can kill you with a single thought".

1:27:191:27:21

"Well, you'll still need a tray".

1:27:211:27:23

"No, I will not need a tray. I do not need a tray to kill you.

1:27:241:27:27

"I can kill you without a tray, with the power of the Force,

1:27:271:27:30

"which is strong within me, even though I could kill you with a tray if I so wished

1:27:301:27:36

"for I would hack at your neck with the thin bit until the blood flowed across the canteen floor".

1:27:361:27:42

"No, the food is hot, you'll need a tray to put the food on".

1:27:421:27:45

"Oh, I see, the food is hot.

1:27:451:27:47

"I'm sorry, I did not realise".

1:27:471:27:49

He is always excessively hard on himself.

1:27:491:27:51

If you had a room of 100 people who said, Eddie, you're fantastic,

1:27:511:27:54

and one person said, mm, it's that that he wants to act on.

1:27:541:27:57

They took it to the Government and he received a warning letter.

1:27:571:28:01

Eddie's been injured by what's happened in the past.

1:28:011:28:05

And I think he's carrying the scars of that injury onto this tour.

1:28:051:28:09

And it just took a long time to get round to doing another show.

1:28:091:28:13

CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

1:28:151:28:17

I've got to concentrate now, so fuck off, please.

1:28:301:28:34

I'm thinking about the arenas at the end of the year.

1:28:431:28:48

I'm thinking, what if I screw those up?

1:28:481:28:53

Yeah, I'm somewhat stressed about them.

1:28:551:28:58

The pressure on Eddie is greater now than it's ever been in the past.

1:29:041:29:07

The expectation is greater.

1:29:071:29:09

We've sold 350,000 tickets across the world.

1:29:101:29:14

All the time he was in Australia he must have been working like a mad thing.

1:29:211:29:26

Audiences are good here. The audiences have been consistently good here.

1:29:261:29:29

I don't know what it is.

1:29:291:29:31

Maybe they just make me relaxed.

1:29:341:29:37

They make me just want to play about, so that's good.

1:29:371:29:39

I've heard that kangaroo means 'fuck off' in aboriginal language.

1:29:391:29:43

That's what I heard, and I've asked people and no one seems to admit this, but the British arrived,

1:29:431:29:48

and said, "What the hell is that bouncy thing?"

1:29:481:29:50

And they went, "Fuck off!"

1:29:501:29:52

"Oh, it's a fuck off, it's a kangaroo.

1:29:521:29:55

Kangaroo.

1:29:551:29:57

A kangaroo. You kangaroo.

1:29:571:29:59

She is besotted with him, you know?

1:29:591:30:02

And I'm thinking of citing him as co respondent.

1:30:021:30:06

Given how thick and fast the stories and the loose threads come,

1:30:061:30:10

and in apparently chaotic bursts,

1:30:101:30:11

it's hard to believe any one performance of Sexie would be anything like the next".

1:30:111:30:15

'Hi, Eddie. Just wanted to let you know that

1:30:361:30:39

'I've received some old letters from your mum to Aunt Margaret.

1:30:391:30:43

'I will keep them here until you get back to the UK.

1:30:431:30:47

'Call me when you can.

1:30:471:30:49

'Love, from Dad.'

1:30:491:30:50

They kind of didn't really care what he said, they were just so pleased to be there.

1:31:021:31:06

He was worried about it because, basically, stand-up comedy can't have that kind of adoration.

1:31:061:31:12

They have to calm it down a little bit.

1:31:121:31:14

-They have to tell their gags!

-CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

1:31:141:31:17

CHEERS DIE DOWN

1:31:291:31:30

Now, the screaming thing is fun.

1:31:301:31:34

And in rock 'n' roll it's great and I do like to be in the rock 'n' roll vein,

1:31:341:31:39

but in the mind gig that this is, we have to control our "whoo" and our "eurgh" and "argh".

1:31:391:31:45

We are with you, Eddie. We want to be part of this, Eddie.

1:31:451:31:47

It was almost like some kind of religious revivalist meeting.

1:31:471:31:51

Eastern and Western medicine is interesting.

1:31:511:31:53

Western medicine, very much a pill driven thing

1:31:531:31:55

and you go along and say, "I've got a bit of a throat thing". "Antibiotics for you, me old sir."

1:31:551:32:00

"My leg has been caught in a dangerous tractor accident".

1:32:001:32:04

"Antibiotics will make that leg come back".

1:32:041:32:06

You kept me laughing when I was really afraid.

1:32:061:32:10

I nearly died a year ago.

1:32:111:32:14

I had a brain haemorrhage and I came out of the operating theatre

1:32:141:32:19

reciting your beekeeper sketch from Glorious.

1:32:191:32:23

Thank you so much.

1:32:231:32:25

'We're nearing the end of the tour.'

1:32:261:32:28

We've done all of Australia, New Zealand, Canada, America.

1:32:281:32:33

And tomorrow we go on to the UK.

1:32:331:32:36

If you're a performer, you want to play Wembley.

1:32:431:32:45

It's the Madison Square Garden, the Hollywood Bowl of England.

1:32:451:32:52

Everyone toys around by saying, "Good night, Wembley!"

1:32:521:32:55

You can say that in a very small place, you can say that when you're street performing

1:32:551:32:59

and it's kind of weird to get to play Wembley.

1:32:591:33:02

He's just always at something, he's always thinking, he's always working, developing, scheming.

1:33:181:33:24

His day's starting at 9am and it's finishing again at 3am or 4am the following morning.

1:33:241:33:31

At the end of the day, Eddie has to be fresher than anybody else.

1:33:311:33:36

He has to go and face 12,000 people, 14,000 people, whatever it is.

1:33:361:33:40

He's afraid of stopping.

1:33:401:33:42

He's fighting against it to such an extent that he

1:33:421:33:44

pushes himself beyond that which anybody else could stand.

1:33:441:33:48

I went down to see my dad.

1:33:551:33:57

He'd been given some letters which my mum had written before she died.

1:33:571:34:03

"5, Ashford Drive, Bangor, County Down.

1:34:061:34:10

"26th September, 1967.

1:34:101:34:13

"My dear Margie and George.

1:34:131:34:15

"By now you will know the result of the operation I had to find out what was wrong.

1:34:151:34:19

"It was a bit of a shock.

1:34:191:34:21

"I expected bad news last time, not this time,

1:34:211:34:24

"but I am carrying on just as usual for Harold's sake and the boys'.

1:34:241:34:28

"I still feel a bit shaky but I'm in quite good shape really and intend not to let this get me down.

1:34:281:34:34

"I persuaded Harold that we must move now.

1:34:341:34:37

"I want to see the boys settled at their new school and making new friends

1:34:371:34:41

"and our home comfortable for them and Harold.

1:34:411:34:44

"I just want to carry on as normally as possible.

1:34:441:34:46

"I hope you are all well.

1:34:491:34:51

"With our love, Dorothy, Harold, Mark and Edward."

1:34:511:34:58

I thought she called me "Eddie". I don't know how I got Eddie.

1:35:011:35:06

But I was an Edward to her.

1:35:061:35:09

We didn't understand what was going on. I just thought she was ill.

1:35:111:35:15

You get ill, you get better.

1:35:151:35:17

And then one day, she wasn't there.

1:35:191:35:21

I think...

1:35:261:35:28

performing was about trying to get everyone to love...

1:35:281:35:34

Trying to get the love of the audience and that was a swap from Mum's love not being there.

1:35:341:35:42

The big problem is that everything I do in life is trying to...

1:35:421:35:46

..get...her back.

1:35:471:35:50

I think if I do enough...

1:35:591:36:01

..things...

1:36:051:36:06

..that maybe she...

1:36:081:36:10

That maybe she'll come back.

1:36:161:36:17

Yeah, I think that's what I'm doing.

1:36:531:36:55

# Mama, can you see me now?

1:37:391:37:42

# Trying to get through somehow

1:37:421:37:45

# Mama, can you see me now?

1:37:461:37:49

# Trying to get through somehow

1:37:491:37:54

# Can you see me?

1:37:541:37:55

# Can you see me?

1:37:551:37:57

# Mama, can you see me now?

1:37:571:38:01

# Can you see me?

1:38:011:38:03

# Can you see me?

1:38:031:38:04

# Mama, can you see me now? #

1:38:041:38:09

The trouble is spending too much time in your mind.

1:38:101:38:14

You either question it all the time or you don't question it and then you could end up living in a ditch

1:38:141:38:21

because you thought you were on top of the world and actually your career was going down the toilet.

1:38:211:38:26

Do I think he's running towards something or running away from something?

1:38:261:38:31

I think they meet in the middle.

1:38:341:38:37

There is a man in there who's going in the biggest and most nicest way, "love me".

1:38:371:38:45

# Can you see me?

1:38:531:38:54

# Can you see me?

1:38:541:38:56

# Can you see me now?

1:38:561:39:00

# Can you see me?

1:39:001:39:02

# Can you see me?

1:39:021:39:04

# Can you see me now? #

1:39:041:39:06

So what do you do?

1:39:121:39:14

I'm a comedian.

1:39:171:39:18

I'm a comedian.

1:39:231:39:24

You've got to believe you can be a stand-up before you can be a stand-up.

1:39:271:39:31

You've got to believe you can act before you can act.

1:39:311:39:34

You've got to believe you can be an astronaut before you can be an astronaut.

1:39:351:39:39

But you've got to believe.

1:39:421:39:44

# Can you see me now?

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# Trying to get through somehow

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# Mama, can you see me now? #

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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London!

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The greatest city in the London area!

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Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

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E-mail subtitling@bbc.co.uk

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Do I think he's running towards something or running away from something?

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CROWD: Eddie!

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CAMERAS CLICK

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I think they meet in the middle.

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I don't want to learn! I want to go out and smash things with hammers!

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A documentary about comedian Eddie Izzard's rise to fame. Featuring interviews with Eddie, his family, friends and colleagues, woven together with childhood home movies, early street comedy footage and stand up shows. A moving portrait of one of Britain's most celebrated comedians.