Eddie Izzard talks Force Majeure, Monty Python, marathon running

To hell with the Dos Equis guy; Eddie Izzard really is the most interesting man in the world.

The British actor and comedian has performed for sold-out theaters and arenas all over the globe, oftentimes upping the ante with new unique and ambitious twists on his own shows.

Interestingly enough, as storied as his comedy career is, many audiences only know him from his dramatic acting roles on shows like The Riches and Hannibal, or from his incredible feat of running 43 marathons in 52 days for charity, as documented in the film Eddie Izzard: Marathon Man.

This week, Izzard will bring his Force Majeure world tour to the Orpheum Theatre for two very special performances of what has become the largest, most expensive, furthest-reaching comedy tour in history. Before Izzard arrives in Minneapolis, we chatted with the universally acclaimed comedian about his ambitious live performances, marathon running, and why sometimes all he wants to do is sit around and do nothing.

[jump] You're currently on the third leg of the Force Majeure tour. Do you ever forget what city you're in?

I never forget where I am; it's remembering what day of the week it is that's the problem.

Unlike other comedy shows that only really work in certain countries, you've brought this production all over the globe. Has that been a challenge?

The show itself is universal; jokes about God and Darth Vader fighting will play to audiences in any country. The challenge is the level of how well I speak the language of each country. For example, back on June 6, I performed the show three separate times in Normandy to commemorate the 70th anniversary of D-Day, doing sets in English, French, and German.

This current tour has been going since March of last year, and you've performed in 25 different countries. How do you keep things fresh for yourself after so many performances?

I love performing this show. I'm always making changes, ad-libbing and elaborating on the characters. Once again, the level of how well I speak a particular language will often determine how much I can ad-lib.

What makes you want to do things like the D-Day shows or other performances that might pose a new set of challenges?


People who have never seen me as a comedian sometimes think that I must not be good enough for telly. In reality, I've made it a point to keep my comedy off of television ever since my acting career began to take off, because I thought that it would block me from getting more dramatic roles. That's why when I do decide to tour, I like to do these large, ambitious shows because it creates more of a sense of buzz than traditional comedy shows. This tour, for example, is the most expensive comedy show ever. I like to do that because it grabs people's attention and makes them more likely to come and see the show.

Speaking of televised comedy, you've said in the past that Monty Python is one of your biggest comedic influences. Do you plan on seeing any of their upcoming reunion shows?

Absolutely. I'm going to miss the first few, but I'll be back for seven out of 10 of the performances.

Once you get done with this leg of the tour, will you be wrapping things up with this show?

Not at all. There are still places in the world I want to bring this show to. I'm currently learning Spanish so that I can perform in Spanish-speaking countries, plus I still want to go to Australia, New Zealand, Shanghai. Lots of places.

Aside from your comedy and your acting roles, another thing that many people know you from are your marathons. Do you have plans to do any more running?

I'm actually planning to run 27 marathons in South Africa as a tribute to Nelson Mandela. I tried a couple of years ago but fell short, so I'll go back and try it again.

Don't you ever just want to sit around and do nothing?

That's all I really want to do today, in fact. But after this interview, I'll need to go squeeze in some training, then get some sleep, and then head to the theater to prepare for tonight's show. A lot of times when I take holidays they're working holidays, so I'll perform some shows while still taking a little time for myself.


Eddie Izzard: Force Majeure

Orpheum Theatre

8 p.m. Friday & Saturday, June 13-14


Get tickets here