British comedian Eddie Izzard has dropped the cross-dressing routine that first caught our attention. He remains as funny as ever though, which the new Eddie Izzard: Live at Madison Square Garden shows to great effect. When a comedian reaches the point of being able to play a stadium the size of the Garden, they have definitely reached a pinnacle. The only other one I can think of who managed this feat was Andrew “Dice” Clay, way back in the early ‘90s. He had no place to go but down after attaining such heights, but I believe that Eddie Izzard still has a long career ahead of him. Where Dice’s appeal was the incredible outrageousness of his act, he was a one-trick pony. The humor of Izzard is very smart, and very, very funny.
Like his English compatriot Ricky Gervais, Izzard does not believe in God, and bases a good portion of his act on it. A hilarious line comes early in this concert when he states that if there were a God, “He would have flicked Hitler’s head off.” Eddie Izzard is one of the rare stand-ups whose performance is best seen rather than heard, because of all the pantomime he uses. He is very physical, and hilariously so. The way he explains the whole idea of God flicking Hitler’s head off thing is killer. He paints us a picture of it being like a Monty Python cartoon, them mimics the Nazis watching it happen. At first they act impressed, then slowly realize what has happened to their leader, and slink away. It is definitely something that needs to be seen to be fully appreciated.
The ultimate example of Eddie’s physical comedy comes in his riff on the Greeks though. He is talking about how the Greeks had 18-foot spears, which effectively held back their enemies. Then he imitates a soldier who has the bright idea of taking a spear in the chest, and shimmying up it to get to them. Again, words do not do justice to how funny it is as he acts out this ridiculous scenario.
Izzard’s 90-minute act is as he says, “About everything that has ever happened…with some gaps.” His deconstructions of Biblical fables such as Noah’s Ark and Moses talking to the burning bush are absolutely hilarious. Let me be clear though, if you are a Christian who believes that the world began 6,000 years ago, this show will probably offend you.
I think the guy is the funniest comedian out there today though, as did the 20,000 New Yorkers who watched this show one night in 2010. The DVD extras are deleted scenes from the concert, which add up to an additional 15 minutes of material. God only knows what the future holds for Eddie Izzard, but to see a comedian at the top of his game, one would be hard pressed to top his performance on Live at Madison Square Garden.