Yesterday, Stephen Colbert hosted Eddie Izzard on The Late Show. Izzard is my favourite comedian. I first discovered his work in my first year at university, and he never fails to delight and inspire. His comedy is fantastic (I’ve seen him live twice), and it really holds up — I listen to the audio versions of his various tours frequently.
Izzard’s new memoir, Believe Me is out now, published by Blue Rider Press in North America, and Penguin in the UK. (I have both the print and audiobook versions, so expect a review very soon.) Here is the official publisher synopsis:
A memoir of love, death and jazz chickens…
“I know why I’m doing all this,” I said. “Everything I do in life is trying to get her back. I think if I do enough things… that maybe she’ll come back.”
When Eddie Izzard was six, he and his brother Mark lost their mother. That day, he lost his childhood too. Despite or perhaps because of this, he has always felt he needed to take on things that some people would consider impossible.
In Believe Me, Eddie takes us on a journey which begins in Yemen (before the revolution), then takes us to Northern Ireland (before The Troubles), England and Wales, then across the seas to Europe and America. In a story jam-packed with incident he tells of teddy bear shows on boarding school beds, renouncing accountancy for swordfighting on the streets of London and making those first tentative steps towards becoming an Action Transvestite, touring France in French and playing the Hollywood Bowl.
Above all, this is a tale about someone who has always done everything his own way (which often didn’t work at first) and, sometimes almost by accident but always with grit and determination, achieving what he set out to do.
If you’ve never seen or heard Izzard’s comedy, I strongly recommend Definite Article, Glorious, Dressed to Kill and Circle.