Comic Eddie Izzard's edge remains sharp

The British comic’s humor strikes a balance between highbrow commentary and silly fun.

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Eddie Izzard

Not only has Eddie Izzard maintained his talent for free-associating on 3-inch heels. He’s honed it to a point as sharp as the tops of those highly arched brows.

Granted, since his touring show “Force Majeure” is on its last U.S. leg, the cross-dressing Brit bad boy could no doubt at this point do it while polishing his nails. But strutting across the Orpheum stage Friday night, cracking wise like some brainy bantam rooster, the comic, actor and aspiring political candidate made the audience feel he was making it all up on the spot.

Channeling Patrick Macnee’s character from the original “The Avengers” in a black suit and bowler hat, Izzard spent the first half of his show riffing on 17th century English kings and Christianity, wondering if God had a high, whiny voice, would anyone listen?

He gave a nod to both Minneapolis and St. Paul, even name-checking Al Franken before launching into his stock in trade, silly yet sophisticated stream of consciousness, boomeranging from one topic to the next — Margaret Thatcher, “Clash of the Titans,” Julius Caesar and chicken Caesar salad — and making nonsensical connections between them. His act is sparse on one-liners, relying instead on sucking the audience into his manic reverie, and nine times out of 10 he’s successful.

Izzard was once dubbed “the lost Python” by Monty Python member John Cleese, and his affinity for that troupe’s absurdist sensibility and interests remains clear. A versatile performer who skips between drama and comedy, the 52-year-old Izzard shows no signs of settling into a rut. His recent screen credits include playing a family-slaying doctor on TV’s “Hannibal” and right-hand man to Dustin Hoffman’s choir master in the upcoming film “Boychoir.”

A week ago on D-Day, he flew back across the Atlantic to perform “Force Majeur” three times — in English, French and German — in Caen, France. In 2009, he made headlines for running 43 marathons in 51 days for charity. He also plans to run for office in Britain as a Labour Party candidate in 2020. If the crowd’s reaction Friday night is any indication, all he needs to do to win is his particular brand of stand-up alchemy.

 

Kristin Tillotson • 612-673-7046

  • EDDIE IZZARD

    What: Bad-boy Brit comic’s latest touring show, “Force Majeure.”

    When: 8 p.m. Saturday.

    Where: Orpheum Theatre, 910, Hennepin Av., Mpls.

    Tickets: $47.75-$70, 800-982-2787 or ticketmaster.com.

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