‘They are my Gods’ - Eddie Izzard reveals which comedy act was ‘a perfect role model’

Virgin Radio

23 May 2024, 13:26

Eddy Izzard talks to Mark Wogan on the Spooning podcast

Credit: YouTube @VirginRadioUK

Eddie Izzard chats with Mark Wogan on this week’s Spooning podcast about politics, Shakespeare, food, early comedy influences and coming out as trans.

Having recently joined the Chris Evans Breakfast Show with webuyanycar to talk about playing 23 characters in the iconic Shakespeare play, Eddie tells the owner of Homeslice Pizza and son of the late Terry Wogan: “Even though dramatic acting was my first love, comedy was what I got known for, so I developed a comedy audience who were tuned into a surreal type of comedy, very Monty Python-influenced. 

“I've been driving these two careers, of which the comedy was better known, but have been bringing the drama up and up and up and up and up until we get to Hamlet now.

“And so I've encouraged the audience to understand I will be doing dramatic things. This is William Shakespeare's Hamlet. This is not a comedy version of Hamlet.” 



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Saying that dyslexia led to getting “no roles” at school, Eddie explains: “I decided to dump drama at that early age in my teenage years and concentrate on comedy. And Monty Python was a perfect role model. They are my Gods on Mount Olympus because not only did they do TV shows and all the sketches… it was the records as well, but then it was the films as well. And so the film career which I wanted, it was all there, but then I just couldn't get to first base.”

When Mark describes Eddie’s stand-up as “groundbreaking”, the comedian replies: “I don't think I was groundbreaking. I just think I was doing what Monty Python did, but in stand-up.” 

In terms of a favourite Python, she says: “I felt very close to Michael Palin how he did his characters, but all of them in some way or other influenced me and the surrealism of it, I loved it.”

Speaking about coming out as trans, Eddie says to Mark: “I told all my friends I was trans. We were using different language at that time, but essentially being out from 1985. But my career started taking off in 1991. So, in 91, I thought, ‘I'm going to tell the press,’ in this interview with The Observer. And I said, ‘If I get it out, then then I can't lie about it from then on. I'll be open and truthful about it.’ So that was my big idea. ‘I’m just going to have to deal with it.’ And it could have taken my career out, that I had been pushing for for so long at this point. 

“I remember thinking, ‘This could just blow it out of the water.’ But I felt in this world of where lying in politics seemed to have no consequences, I just thought, ‘Let's be truthful about this, and fortune favours the brave.’

“I was early to come out and say that ‘this is the truth’ but people came before me, you know, and then they had to go through their very tough time. But there was a comfort and ease with which, really, I did feel that if I could be out and open and honest about it, I could get to talk about it. And I could talk about it being trans in a loose and relaxed way. And I can put it into my stand-up.”

Watch the full chat, including talk about Boris Johnson, how she would have reshaped the British monarchy, and some of her food dislikes, below: 

Read what Mark Wogan told Chris Evans Breakfast about why he blindfolds guests on his Spooning podcast here

Previous Spooning guests include Claudia Winkleman, Helen Skelton, Gaby Roslin, Gennaro Contaldo, Beverley Knight, Jimmy Carr, Alfie Boe, the Appleton sisters, Michel Roux Jr, The Hairy Bikers, James May, Tom Kerridge, Dan Snow, James Martin, Sophie Habboo, Matt Tebbutt, Paul C Brunson, Joe Wicks and Virgin Radio’s own Ryan Tubridy.

Spooning is out wherever you get your podcasts. Episodes are released every Thursday. Watch along via @virginradiouk on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Tiktok.