News & Features » Miscellany

After seeing British comedian Eddie Izzard, you'll never look at drag comedy the same way again.

Men in Skirts

"Eddie Izzard: Dress to Kill"
Debuts Saturday, June 12, at 11:30 p.m.
Repeats June 15, 18, 21, 24 and July 4

Brace yourself for one of the most deliciously naughty — and wildly entertaining — new standup routines you'll see this year. He's, uh … she's … well … never mind. It's "Eddie Izzard: Dress to Kill," and you'll never look at drag comedy quite the same way after you see what this British import does in front of an audience.

But beware. This material is definitely, positively, for adults only.

The British have always looked at drag differently from American audiences, and Izzard — whose neutral accent betrays a peripatetic childhood spent in working-class neighborhoods all over Great Britain — will do little to merge the two attitudes. Izzard is no Bertha Venation whipped up in the mind of a Harvey Fierstein, lip-synching to Barbra Streisand oldies or aching to be Diana Ross for a day. But then, neither does he offer anything like what the great Peter Sellers did with a tiara, a gray wig and a ball gown as Duchess Gloriana of Grand Fenwick.

Nope. That's not what Izzard is all about.

Izzard presents himself on stage sort of like a bloke in a dress. Sure, he's wearing high heels, shiny black lounging pants, and a short silk kimono top along with his gender-neutral shag haircut and perfectly executed wine-red lipstick, aqua eye shadow, mascara and lots of base. But he makes no attempt to move like a woman, and his voice tells you he's not short on testosterone.

In Izzard's words, "It's not drag queen, it's male tomboy." Think about it.

But forget what he wears and what he looks like. It's what he says: Izzard is fall-down-on-the-floor funny.

"I'm a professional transvestite — which means I can run in heels and not fall over," he tells the audience right at the top.

Izzard then cites the four things he liked most as a child — "running, jumping, climbing trees and putting on makeup." As a youngster, he longed for a career in uniform, "but there's not much makeup in the army — just that nighttime look, and that's sort of slapdash." Now he knows it was the army that missed its opportunity. "In combat, the army loves to surprise the enemy. Think of it: the First Battalion, Transvestite Brigade. What could be more surprising!"

Izzard doesn't confine his hilarious routine to his gender identity, however. He offers his take on movies, the space program, religion, politics, The Ottoman Empire ("strangely, filled with furniture"), and the reason England has so many frumpy queens: "It's a bad idea when cousins marry."

If the comically kinky and amusingly quirky twists of life tickle your funny bone, Eddie Izzard's is a name to watch for, and "Dress to Kill" is sure to have you laughing yourself silly. Don't miss

Add a comment