Critically acclaimed, award-winning British comedian and actor Eddie Izzard details his childhood, his first performances on the streets of London, his ascent to worldwide success on stage and screen, and his comedy shows which have won over audiences around the world.
Over the course of a thirty-year career, Eddie Izzard has proved himself to be a creative chameleon, inhabiting the stage and film and television screen with an unbelievable fervor. Born in Yemen and raised in Northern Ireland, Wales, and England, he lost his mother at the age of six and that has affected the rest of his life. In his teens, he dropped out of university and took to the streets of London as part of a comedy double act. When his partner went on vacation, Izzard kept busy by inventing a one-man escape act, and thus a solo career was ignited. As a stand-up comedian, Izzard has captivated audiences with his surreal, stream-of-consciousness comedy—lines such as “Cake or Death?” “Death Star Canteen,” and “Do You Have a Flag?” have the status of great rock lyrics. As a self-proclaimed “action transvestite,” Izzard broke a mold performing in makeup and heels, and has become as famous for his “total clothing” rights as he has for his art. In Believe Me, he recounts the dizzying rise he made from the streets of London to West End theaters, to Wembley Arena, Madison Square Garden, and the Hollywood Bowl.
Izzard is arguably one of today’s top comedians. At the time of publication, he is still performing his Force Majeure show—so far in more than forty countries worldwide and in four languages: English, French, German and Spanish. With his brand of keenly intelligent humor that ranges from world history to historical politics, sexual politics, mad ancient kings, and chickens with guns, he has built an extraordinary fan base that transcends age, gender, and race. Writing with the same candor and insight evident in his comedy, he reflects on a childhood marked by the loss of his mother, boarding school, and alternative sexuality, as well as a life in comedy, film, politics, running, and philanthropy. Honest and generous, Izzard’s Believe Me is an inspired account of a very singular life thus far.
I've been a long time fan of Eddie Izzard so I was really interested to find out more about him and what happened in his life to make him such a unique artist.
I've been to see Eddie a few times and the book is very much like watching him live - it weaves back and forth and is written a lot of the time as if he is in a show. Great for a live show but not so much on the written page. I like books to be chronological or at least have some order, so it rankled a little with me when I thought we were done and dusted with a period in his life, only for it to be recounted again later with a new anecdote.
I never realised where Eddie "came from" and even now can't recall how I first heard or saw him, I was hoping the book would jog my memory. What it did do was provide a great insight into his early childhood and formative years. It also gave a glimpse of his total resolve in "getting things done" of which in recent years the marathons were a part of. His capacity to learn new languages and use them for stand up comedy is another of his many feats.
He really is a remarkable man and I am not sure after reading this book I really know a lot more about him, as I feel he is still a private person and only let the veil slip on parts of his life. If you love Eddie you will love getting to know more about him.
I'm giving this book 3 out of 5 stars. My thanks to Netgalley for a copy to review.