Ready Eddie: Wunderbar! Eddie Izzard’s farewell tour

My Nottingham Post review of the first night at our Royal Concert Hall

Six years after giving us two nights at the arena, Eddie Izzard returns for more two nights in a more intimate venue. This is being billed as the 57-year-old transgender comedian’s ‘last stand-up show’. Last time round, his (surprisingly short) show felt tired, the edge blunted by his campaign to become London Mayor. In the next General Election, he hopes to win a Labour seat. Nothing funny about that.

Eddie comes on in leather jacket, fake boobs ‘from IKEA’ and a tartan kilt. Brexit and the fate of the planet features only at the beginning and end. Donald Trump does provide the punch line to one brilliant, surreal, extended joke. But most of this is Izzard doing what he does best, wild tangential humour where the funniest part is a final throwaway quip that only works in context. His act’s occasionally unfocussed, but that’s factored into the price, as they say of Trump, and there are some lovely semi-improvised rambles with bits in French and German. The show’s called Wunderbar he explains, because 30s German politics are back in fashion.

It’s an epic, valedictory farewell show, with a gentle good-natured feel, slipping often into autobiography. Early family stuff. Swimming the channel and, of course, all those marathons. ‘The first ten marathons are hard, I’ll give you that. After that, it’s easy.’ There’s plenty on evolution, one of his earliest themes. He turns Trump’s ‘Let’s Make American Great Again’
into ‘Let’s Make Humanity Great Again.’

Izzard returns for the second half in suit, shorts and heels. The riff on bats (and cake mixture) is funny and builds well. His final Lord of the Rings spiel, however, feels exhausted. ‘I’ll see you on the parapets’ he says before leaving the stage.

The encore restores the two and a half hour show’s good vibe with a routine largely about his childhood, then a brief explanation of why he’s going into politics.

Europe has already seen two comedians lead their country this decade.
Don’t rule out that happening here. Eddie’s ready. We could do worse.

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