Sunday, January 17, 2010

Help! I'm covered in bees!

One night while I was still in high school I was flipping channels one night (remember flipping channels? Wow, that's such an extinct art now!) when I came across a stand-up comedian on HBO. The fact that he was wearing make-up, heels and a pair of shiny pleather-like pants didn't just catch my attention... The fact that he had me laughing after just a moment's viewing made me stay on the channel. That moment was an eye opener. It was my first, albeit incomplete, viewing of Eddie Izzard's Emmy Award winning "Dressed to Kill" special. I have never looked back. He is one of my longest unhealthy obsessions, and one that I never see going away.

Since that moment, I have shared a very serious and intense love affair with Mr. Izzard. He's just not aware of it.

I own all of his stand up DVDs and have seen the vast majority of his acting roles, and believe me when I say some of those are movies only a true fan would enjoy... *ahem* All the Queen's Men *ahem* It wasn't until I moved to New York that I was finally fortunate enough to see this brilliant man perform live.

The first time was two years ago when he was performing at the Union Square Theatre, trying out material for his upcoming tour. Being the incredible fortunate person that I am, I contacted my friend in the box office at the theater (Thanks Mandy! I never forgot this favor!!) who was able to hook me and 7 of my nearest and dearest up with FOURTH row tickets. Amazing. It wasn't as thought out as his normal stand up routines, he was testing out new material. About ten minutes of the night were spent making fun of a guy making some weird noises in the back. But, it was one of the most amazing 90 minutes of my entire life. With tears streaming down my cheeks I vowed then and there that if I were ever given more opportunities to see him live, I would be there every single time.

And I have.

That following summer he performed at Radio City Music Hall in the now official tour called "Stripped." I attended with my littler sister in tow, whom I had converted into an Eddie Izzard fan at a very young age. I hobbled my way into the second balcony of Radio City and on crutches no less, as I had had surgery just a few weeks prior. Didn't stop me. Come hell or high water, I was going to see Eddie. And believe me, that was no easy feat! And again, it was a priceless memory. Seeing him on that infamous stage was amazing.

What I love about Eddie Izzard is that he is not only an amazing comedian and a talented actor (he just made some bad choices there for a while) but he is just an amazing individual. He recently completed not one, but 43 marathons in 51 days for charity. That's right. 43. He is very active politically and he's not afraid to speak his mind. He says what everyone is thinking, but afraid to say aloud. He's smart, and he makes you think.

Last July, I was thankfully notified by Ticketmaster that tickets for Eddie Izzard were going on sale to the public the next morning at ten a.m. for a gig in Madison Square Garden. Definitely not a typical venue for Mr. Izzard, who has primarily performed in theaters, not arenas. I gathered my troops and we were lucky enough to get floor seats. Knowing that the Stripped tour hadn't performed a new gig in a while, and the fact that it was in Madison Square Garden led me to believe that they might be recording this performance. I was right. As we walked in, there was a huge platform of cameras about fifty feet behind us and two large cameras on booms close to the stage. At first I wondered if they might be the cameras for the three jumbo-trons that were set up around the stage, but consider once Eddie came out, those cameras were steady, I knew the boom cameras were for a recording. But the thing that convinced me the most were the cameras going up and down the aisles filming crowd reaction shots. (Keep an eye out for me! I wasn't on an aisle but they filmed my section a lot!)

Even though I had already seen this particular routine about three times now, it still made me laugh until tears sprang to my eyes. It was truly an experience having seen him play in one of the most famous venues in the world. Prior to Eddie coming out on stage, they played audio of an interview he must have done a number of years ago. In it, the interviewer asked Eddie what venues he would like to play in his lifetime. In it, he mentioned Madison Square Garden.

Well, he's done it. Well done, Eddie. Well done.

But, I have to say the moment that I think really proves to me that he's a superstar? At the end of his encore when a woman threw her panties on the stage.

Now THAT'S an "I've made it!" moment!

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