Role of a Lifetime

In England, Eddie Izzard is a god, a transvestite comic genius, even the "lost Python,” according to John Cleese. In America, he’s Tony P in Mystery Men. He’s also a few other bit characters, but really, Tony P. is about as fluent as cornbelt America seems to want to get in Izzard, and, of course, the Tony P. role was shit. What is it about English comics and American apathy? Why isn’t it the other way around? Russell Brand has more name recognition, for chrissakes. Izzard drifts through rambling jokes with an eerie ease: He improvises, free-associates, comments on his performance to himself, and generally seems to be having a jolly good time humoring himself up there while below, in the seats, audiences are blown asunder. He’s cripplingly funny. And sometimes he wears a dress. Now he’s starring in a new film, and he’s finally landed one with a plot that’ll bring out his best side, since the plot is Eddie Izzard. Sarah Townsend’s Believe — The Eddie Izzard Story is a heartfelt look at his entire career, going way, way back with childhood home movies and, yes, some terrible early footage; it also features his comeback tour before 44,000 at London’s Wembley Arena. Tonight’s Litquake 2010 fundraiser features a Q&A with Townsend and Izzard after the screening.
Thu., March 25, 7 p.m., 2010

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