Jam, bees, make-up and more jam. For years Eddie Izzard’s bizarre yet profound mumblings have entranced and delighted audiences the world over. But after so long out of the comedic spotlight, can Eddie’s new DVD, Stripped, delight a devoted audience? Or is it fated to land jam side down on the kitchen floor of stand-up comedy?
Eddie strolls onto centre stage with his usual British gentleman grace, resplendent in a flamboyantly dramatic, circus ringleader’s coat and…jeans? Ok, so the costume’s toned down from his usual, but the content and delivery is still as eccentric as ever.
Attempting to paraphrase the history of everything, Eddie comments on the beginning of existence, the moralistic and religious views of humankind and zoom lollies, implanting his own off the cuff observations in as he goes.
There is some content repetition from the old shows, like Christian beliefs taking another whacking for their pagan roots, while Hitler and Co. receive a familiar but, quite deserved tongue-lashing. Once again Latin scriptures are seen in a humorous light too, but it’s important to note that, whilst the subjects maybe the same, the jokes are all new. Indeed, some are a bit too new, such as Eddie’s misplaced favouritism of Apple Macs (boo, hiss).
In this latest instalment, Eddie proves he is more than just a two-joke comic. In fact, there’s always the slight impression that he might be ad-libbing a lot on stage and, it has to be said, it takes a certain amount of skill to make nightly repeated material seem that fresh. If only McDonald’s would take note.
Eddie, as ever, really is the thinking man’s comedian and while the scenarios played out are silly and the delivery is characteristically bumbly, the ideas behind it all are genius. In amongst the talking squirrels and jazz chickens, there are glimpses of a truly intelligent mind, albeit one that wonders off on bizarre tangents.
So the material’s similar and the delivery the same as his previous stand-up shows. Is there really anything new and worthwhile to be had here?
Well, yes and no. Although the wobbling, droning, mumbling genius is a formula that works and can be had in abundance in Stripped, it has been done better in his previous shows. Having said that, even if this DVD isn’t going to go down as one of his best, it may only be because its competition is pretty fierce.
So for all serious Izzard fans, you can count on Stripped as being another good addition to your Eddie collection, even if it’s not the peak. If he’s new to you, however, then I’d urge you to invest your money in the early shows of Glorious or Definite Article and go back to where it all began.
Eddie Izzard Live Stripped is out now.