Eddie Izzard – Force Majeure
This week’s guest is the comedian and actor Eddie Izzard, and quite honestly I think Eddie is the most famous guest we’ve had on the show to date.
He’s also full of creative wisdom, political opinions and, of course, jokes!
Whether it’s talking about his craft as a comedian, actor and all-round creative chameleon, or his deep and insightful views on being transgender, I got a lot of value from talking to Eddie.
He’s not what I expected though. And to be perfectly honest, I really didn’t know what to expect.
Was this going to be comedy Eddie Izzard, the rambling, hilarious transvestite, or was I going to get serious, political or dramatic Eddie?
I really didn’t know, and I guess it’s always easy to expect someone in your face and full of one-liners when you meet a famous comedian.
I found Eddie to be very thoughtful and intellectual at times. Like he tells me during our chat together, he’s always analysing patterns, and comparing systems of how things work.
He’s always trying to get the bottom of why things work the way they do, and why people are the way they are.
A whole segment of this episode came at me from left field. Eddie has a lot to say about Steve Jobs and Apple.
It turns out that this creative genius understands the fundamentals of marketing, and it was interesting to talk to Eddie about how he views his own craft as being similar to creating a leading business brand like Apple.
Eddie has this whole riff on how Apple dominated its competitors like Microsoft and IBM.
He thinks the trick is not to get stuck in the business-as-usual mindset. You always have to be changing it up.
If you look at Eddie’s career from street-performer to stand up to movie actor, you can see that he really embodies that philosophy.
He says we should always be trying to do things that are “off the list”. We should avoid getting caught up in the usual narratives of whatever field we are in.
Eddie calls this working from a place of “vision”.
For a big part of this interview me and Eddie talk about him being transgender.
One of the great things about Eddie is he doesn’t use his sexual identity as a comedic crutch. It’s not fake or stagey, and I think this forces people to take it seriously.
Even within the spectrum of transgenderism, Eddie is pretty unique.
Watch out for when he talks about how as a kid he always wanted to wear dresses, but also harboured a life dream of being in the British SAS!
Being a comedian, and completely unapologetic about his sexual identity and choice of dress, Eddie has come in for a lot of nasty attacks in his day to day to life.
He insists though, that he manages the hate by giving off “non-victim vibes”.
Eddie reveals something essential in his mindset, and the trick through which he has learned to own his place in the world.
His “covert” way of turning negativity back on those who dish it out is genius, and it’s a must see for anyone who’s suffered abuse for their sexuality or appearance.
Another thing I absolutely recommend is Eddie talking about how he mastered the art of getting good at getting good.
Eddie tells me that no matter what he’s done in his career he had to start off being terrible at it, and this forced him to figure out the hack to mastering any craft.
No matter if you are creative or in business or both, this is a game-changing tip from a man who seems to shift effortlessly between various art forms.
Eddie’s an intuitive and deeply sensitive guy, but he also has this systems-mindset which I find fascinating.
Right and Left Brain seem to be firing off equally in his head, and you get the sense that once he commits to something he goes all in.
I suppose I was expecting the full-on, glammed-up performer, but what I found was a reflective guy. Eddie’s comedy might be surreal, but his craftsmanship is grounded.
With a mind like Eddie’s, that is as equally analytical as it is creative, you get an artist and human being totally at ease with who he is, and who has the full range of his personalities and skill at his command.
Sure Eddie is quite likely the most famous guest we’ve had to date, but he’s also one of the most surprising.
It goes without saying that this is going to be a classic episode. But it’s also going to be one that you’ll revisit over and over again, simply because there’s so much in it!
So kick back and enjoy this milestone interview.
[09:50] How do you work so much? Wilderness years in the 80’s.
[11:20] Keeping the game high. The lost interviews of Steve Jobs.
[13:18] Do you like Steve Jobs because they give the customers something they don’t know they want?
[15:40] Touring in France. Doing things that are not on the list.
[18:00] Comedy in English
[19:55] You don’t get brownie points for doing it in French.
[20:22] Comedy in the French language
[23:00] Different sense of humour. Different types of comedy.
[24:00] Story logic vs references
[29:20] killing creativity
[31:00] Transgender. Male Lesbian.
[35:00] Lower character people who can’t think bigger. Standing next to make the giggling group uncomfortable.
[40:00] Gender and why people wear what they wear as an expression of self.
[47:00] If LGBT can get boring, then we have made it.
[48:00] Transvestite comedy career.
[50:00] What did you learn as a street performer?
[51:00] Sketch comedy, being a host, street performance.
[52:31] On the street children have the attention of animals and adults have the attention of children.
[52:55] Ok we’re gonna kill this kid. Tom and Jerry style of violence. Setting up car crashes.
[54:55] Keep Buggering On. KBO of Winston Churchill.
[56:00] Working out how to build the pieces.
[1:02:20] The humiliation part of learning.
[1:03:50] Switching off the comedy muscles when going into acting was radical.
[1:04:30] Acting. Drawing in the audience.
[1:07:00] Lost Christmas. Treasure Island.
[1:08:48] The big dream when you were 7.
[1:10:36] How has your relationship with the audience changed?
[1:12:00] I will still continue doing surreal comedy.
[1:13:00] Living together in Europe and in the world.
[1:15:00] Despair is the fuel of terrorism. Hope is the fuel of civilisation
[1:15:10] 2015 attacks in Paris
[1:18:20] We have to head towards a world where everybody has a fair chance.
[1:19:40] Politics. 2020 I will try and get elected somewhere. See what is doable and what is not doable.
[1:21:00] Success Secrets
[1:24:24] Phone call to 20 year old Eddie
[1:23:00] Best comedy advice ever received