Sparklingly original observers of contemporary culture claim that “comedy is the new rock and roll”. (Or the new sex , or the new black).
Bollocks. If comedy was the new rock and roll, it'd be touring the world, playing to 10,000 demented fans in aircraft-hanger arenas every night. There'd be an entourage of 50 straggly-bearded sweaty roadies living on a diet of Mars Bars, Lucozade, pork pies and substandard porn magazines, wearing faded black Iron Maiden Death Fuck World Tour 1992 T-shirts.
There'd be 426-track mixers, pyro effects, 30' high LED screens, 30 tons of state-of-the-art lighting, cabling and gantries, and six fat 48' trucks branded with the artist's name in 12' tall letters. Tickets would be changing hands at 20 times face value outside the venue, there would be 200 groupies lined up at the stage door every night and supe rst ars of stage, screen and television would be queuing to attend the aftershow party.
Comedy is self-evidently not the new rock and roll. Tragically, all the smug cultural commentators with their facile analogies have been proved right by one smart-arse who had to take it all literally – Eddie Izzard.
All the above facts (bar the Iron Maiden T-shirt bit – the 1992 tour was actually called Fear of the Dark) truly apply to Eddie Izzard's world tour SEXIE. SEXIE was the first ever arena tour by a stand-up comedian.
SEXIE has now been seen in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the US. It has met with a (cliched but true) rapturous Beatlemania-style reception wherever it has played. Eddie has had to remind audiences of the basic behavioural protocol of a live stand-up act , (I am the comic , you are the audience , I make jokes , you laugh , you applaud at the end if it's any good) just to make himself heard , and the standing ovations have started before he's even walked on. Mick Perrin - Promoter- is shell-shocked. So is Eddie.
$35 tickets were trading for $700 plus on e-bay. Robin Williams , Mel Brooks , Jim Carey , Sharon Stone and Matthew Perry have been amongst the Hollywood aristocracy who've watched the show. Some US fans have attended every performance, or delivered gifts of paintings (largely dire), bondage equipment (usually bizarre) and photographs of the tour manager's shoes (very unbalanced).
In late 2003, SEXIE arrived in the UK for a sold-out 21-date tour, which played to capacity crowds at national arenas.
So maybe it is the new rock and roll. Is it the new sex? If it is, then it's bad news: we'd all have to satisfy 10,000 people per night and keep it up for two hours at a time for one hundred and sixteen nights in a row. As for it being the new black: the phrase “new black” was always meaningless crap, so forget it.
‘He is dazzling, and if you are not one of the lucky ticketed 200,000, I urge you to steal, mug or shoot your way in if you possibly can.' The Observer, London
“The funniest man on the planet.” The Irish Times
“… a distinctive comic personality (that) creates a conspiracy of pleasure that leaves his audience weak with laughter.” Heat Magazine
“He's the world's most famous comic in a dress.” Time Out London