In a skit about the unpredictable nature of humour in different languages, Eddie Izzard described the way Britons understand word-based humour on notes of “rhythmic silliness”. When contemplating the words to describe the comedian’s recent show at The Nuffield Theatre, the term “rhythmic silliness” seems rather adequate.
Izzard is currently travelling on a nationwide tour, in which he is imploring young people and students to register to vote ahead of the EU referendum. As well as spreading the word on why we are ‘stronger in Europe’, the comedian has also revived his 3-3-3 Force Majeure show – in which he performs the same show three times in three separate languages; French, German and English. At the start of his English-spoken performance, Izzard highlighted the brilliant complexity of performing comedy in different tongues, and throughout the night spoke highly of the cohesiveness of the different European cultures.
It wasn’t all political though, as Izzard had a great deal of fun prancing about the stage to his audience’s amusement. Wearing his very fetching fushcia-pink beret (complete with EU ‘Stay In’ badges) and a bold shade of lipstick that he apparently achieved by mixing the shades ‘Candy Yum Yum’ and ‘Scarlet Danger’ together, Izzard proved himself to be a frantic and very energetic performer – which is an impressive feat, considering that he had been on the stage for at least two hours beforehand.
Among his humourous oeuvre, Izzard offered his thoughts on a variety of peculiar topics; ranging from the lost art of human sacrifice to the beheading of Charles I. Performing in his own distinctively strange manner, in which he speaks to himself almost as much as he speaks to the audience, Izzard also posited such questions as ‘Why was Julius Caesar the namesake for a salad’, ‘is there wi-fi in heaven?’ and ‘what the fuck is (equestrian) dressage about?’ Although there was an element of wordiness to Izzard’s set, the comedian also relied fairly heavily on the joyous silliness of physical comedy and sound effects (like all seasoned pros, Izzard is very good with a microphone… and surprisingly fluent in vocalising chicken noises too.)
Overall, though few audience members stayed for all three versions of the show, the vast English-speaking crowd seemed to enjoy Izzard’s performance enormously. While his distinctive sense of humour and peculiar performance style may be something of an acquired taste, his performance at the Nuffield was undeniably entertaining and full to the brim with the “rhythmic silliness” that makes English comedy so great.