Eddie Izzard: Wunderbar
- Brian Donaldson
- 10 October 2019
A typically inventive adventure as the surreal stand-up quits his comedy family to spend more time with politics
It seems to be in vogue for comedians to declare their intentions to leave the stand-up game. Hannah Gadbsy eventually recanted after the globe-dominating sensation that was Nanette, while Stewart Francis is determined to make a proper go of his acting career the minute he's delivered his last onstage pun in December. Meanwhile, Eddie Izzard also appears hellbent on dropping live comedy for a lengthy period while he heads off to enter the world of politics at a time when that feels like the last thing a rational human such as himself should be doing.
His sign-off show, Wunderbar, is typical Izzard, without especially hitting the glorious heights of previous touring affairs. He gives us an often rambling, largely scripted, wilfully tangential two and a bit hours, in which he sticks to his longstanding guns of avoiding obvious political satire (Brexit is mentioned twice, while 'Trump' is uttered three times), preferring to take a step back for a wider look at civilisation. In contemplating the Big Bang and the many millennia that have reverberated through space and time ever since, he throws some less than surreal punches at religious belief, while the animal kingdom which has always played a key part of his sets once more has a few of its members lining up to become anthropomorphised in the name of comedy.
As this may well be his stand-up swansong, Izzard delivers more personal material than he's offered up before, talking about his parents (his mother died when he was six) and brother with a clear affection. But it's not too long before he's considering what exactly dogs are trying to communicate with their barks, and conjuring up images of tigers praying before hunting for food.
In the week that Leave.EU printed despicably xenophobic posters about Chancellor Merkel, it's notable that this stridently pro-European celebrity should be touring with a positive, German-titled show. Once he reaches the end of another blockbuster comedy juggernaut, Eddie Izzard will set out to take on those so-called 'populist' politicians who love to spread hate. Looks like he'll need to keep a sense of humour in his new career.
Eddie Izzard: Wunderbar is on tour until Saturday 16 November. Seen at King's Theatre, Glasgow.