Eddie Izzard taught me how to curse properly.
At my most precocious phase I found that my parents would stay up on Saturday nights after the weekly movie on HBO and watch a comedy show or two. I never cared much for what they watched but then one day one comedy special started to rule their life. Every where we went it was, “Do you have a flag?” or, “CAKE OR DEATH?” and pre-teen Caitlin was confused as to what this meant, why it was funny, and what her parents were talking about. However, one day, one fateful day, my mom – taking pity on her home-from-school-sick-daughter – let me watch this comedy special, Dress to Kill. She asked me a few questions – did I know what a transvestite was? Yes, mom. Do you know what an ‘Executive Transvestite’ is? What? And my favorite – Do you know what the word… fuck … is? I glared at her, wondering if this was a trap, as she popped in a VHS recording of the special. Panicking about the times I had cursed on the playground for fun, wondering if somehow she had video of it, I realized that there was a man on TV with flawless makeup. He opened his mouth, began to speak, and within 10 minutes, I was crying I was laughing so hard.
The next few months of school were tying to convince other students on the playground why exactly this man was funny, why a boy dressing in a girl’s clothes wasn’t funny, and that squirrels sometimes really do look like they have to pause and wonder if they’ve left the gas on. Of course, none of the other kids cared, but what did it matter. I would come home, pop in Dress to Kill and watch. As I got older, I had all of Eddie Izzard’s specials. I constantly made obscure references to evil giraffes, jam, and of course, the first-battalion transvestite brigade.
As I got older, Eddie became someone I was a fan of, as I progressed my way through the odd-world that is puberty, the even harder world that is your early-twenties, and as I come to find myself entering my mid-twenties, I realize how much he had an affect on me. As I aged, the idea of a man wearing a dress was no big deal. Sexuality only mattered if you wanted it to matter, and you really could have sex with anyone you wanted, as long as it was consensual. Eddie helped me define my ideas on history, life, and politics all by making me laugh. If we could laugh at the absurdness of going to war for…. uh… still not 100% on that one… then maybe, just maybe, things could be okay.
So, adult Caitlin was at work when it was announced that Eddie Izzard would be debuting his new tour in the US, and he was coming an hour north of me – to Boston. I immediately jumped on the ticket band-wagon, getting nosebleeds, which was all my poor graduate-student ass could afford, but it was amazing. I got there and practically ran to the theater giggling, got to my seat, beer in hand, and just stared at the stage. I was going to see the man who had taught me how to say ‘fuck’ as eloquently, appropriately, and mischievously as possible in my day-to-day life.
Opening with a joke about human sacrifice is not an easy thing to do, but Eddie pulls it off flawlessly. Within minutes I’m giggling like crazy, happy as can be, and just thinking about everyone laughing with me. Eddie’s comedy is flawless, though I am biased when it comes to him. But even if he had a flaw, look at all of the people around you at one of his shows. They’re cracking up, they’re enjoying themselves, all because Eddie, while hilarious, teaches us more about life. He allows us to be smart and laugh, and encourages us to be better than we can be. He wants the world to be a “melting pot” and does this himself by being a shining example of what a decent human being is and should be.
His new tour, Force Majeure, is scheduled to tour until July in the US, but Eddie has stated that he is planning on bringing it back in 2015 for additional dates, in fact, he wants to try to get to every state in the US before it’s all over with.
For more information on his tour check out: http://eddieizzard.com/ or, if you’d like to hear more of the man before you can get to the tour, try listening to his recent appearance on the Nerdist podcast.http://www.nerdist.com/pepisode/nerdist-podcast-eddie-izzard-returns/ If you’re behind on your Eddie Izzard lore, I recommend checking out his fourth special, Dress to Kill first.
Eddie has brilliant political, philosophical, and general outlook on life. He is a force majeure in my life, and I hope will continue to be in many others for a long, long time.