Eddie Izzard performing during the Force Majeure world tour
Eddie Izzard performing during the Force Majeure world tour
by Andy Hollingworth, used with permission

Proving intellectual comedy is still alive and well, Eddie Izzard brought his Force Majeure world tour to the Pearl at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas for two hilarious performances on June 12 and 13.

The most extensive comedy tour ever, which launched in March of 2013 and will take Izzard to 25 countries on five continents when it’s over, the show began with an impressive James Bond-like light and sound display setting up “The Riches” star as a true man of mystery. The acclaimed British comedian then appeared onstage dressed in a well-tailored suit, hat and heels, with his nails polished and carrying an umbrella. During the June 12 performance, Izzard was immediately distracted by a drink someone had set onstage by the center speakers. Always quick on his feet, Izzard got rid of the half-empty cup and did a quick routine on the—presumably—intoxicated ticket holder who had placed it there (“It’s not an offering,” Izzard noted after realizing the drink had already been half drunk).

After addressing Las Vegas by its Spanish name, the “fertile plains,” Izzard dove head-first into his signature brand of historic comedy, talking about everything from Charles I and Richard the Lionheart to the death of Julius Caesar and how that led to the creation of the Caesar salad (and later the chicken Caesar salad). There was even a bit about Martin Luther trying to nail his Ninety-Five Theses onto the doors of a Wittenberg church on a windy day done entirely in German. Izzard kept audiences in stitches throughout the near 2-hour set, only giving ticket holders a chance to breathe during a much-needed 15-minute intermission.

When Izzard wasn’t talking about historical figures, he was riffing on religion and human sacrifice, musicals, the meaning of the word “hallelujah” (he thinks it’s along the lines of “yabba-dabba do,” which means “many positive things”) and his own childhood, recalling a time the self-proclaimed “action transvestite” got caught shoplifting makeup. He even managed to work in an updated version of his popular “Death Star Canteen” bit much to the delight of the crowd, this time with God fighting Darth Vader over a plate of spaghetti carbonara before the head of catering, Mr. Stevens, arrives to stop the fight.

Of course, the true show-stopping bit came toward the end of the show, not when Izzard brought back several of the show’s most memorable characters for a hilarious reenactment of “The Lord of the Rings,” but when he talked about the competitive equestrian sport of dressage. As Izzard pranced around onstage like a dressage horse trying to pull off a burglary and reflected on how if any other mammal approached someone doing “unmammalian” dressage-like movements you would think they were crazy, the crowd couldn’t ignore just what a versatile showman Izzard is. Watching him onstage isn’t like watching any other stand-up comedian—and not just because of his intellectual yet silly material (Izzard himself even sarcastically joked that his routine is full of dick jokes after telling a joke from the 1600s). Izzard puts on a lively one-man show every time he steps onstage that showcases his acting and comedic abilities in equal form, and there’s no one else quite like him on the comedy circuit today.

Eddie Izzard’s next stop on the Force Majeure world tour is in Sacramento on June 16, followed by Santa Rosa on June 17 and San Francisco June 18-20. For a complete list of performance dates, visit eddieizzard.com.