Glorious: Eddie Izzard’s Stand-Up Masterpiece

Eddie Izzard in Glorious
Epic, geezer.

Back in our high school days between 1996-2001, we were always dubbed the “weird” or “eccentric” kid in class.

Our shy selves couldn’t quite understand why our intentionally daft behaviour was being misinterpreted as the machinations of halfwits.

Then, in 1999, we saw Glorious on the telly. Eddie Izzard’s marvellously invention stand-up show was crammed out with weirdly wonderful ideas. It probably changed our lives! And here’s why it’s funny.

Why Izzard’s Glorious is Glorious

By 1997, Izzard’s fame in the UK had grown enormously since 1994 and he was rapidly becoming the country’s top stand-up comedian.

Relying on a berserk mix of stream of consciousness rambling, the acts dealt with absurd concepts of normal situations, regularly exploring history, occasional observational humour, progressivism, life, death, and everything in between.

This recording of Glorious took place in 1997 at the Hammersmith Apollo in London. It eventually enjoyed a release to VHS, cassette (remember those!?), DVD, and you can find chunks of it online.

The show starts out with the mother of all topics—the beginning of time.

This is a kind of warm up for Izzard, who can be silly and ad lib as he works up to his weighty themes.

And the show really goes off all over the place in fantastic fashion, considering everything from evil giraffes, pyjamas in the land of the dead, and Robin Hood.

Other topics of conversation include the siege of Troy, Noah’s Ark, the Royal Family, bee keeping, and travelling by plane.

At this stage of his career, Izzard was keen to keep the shows wild and fantastical, but also relatable.

For example, discussing down to earth topics (such as cups of coffee at work) in amongst his surreal considerations on life, history, and the world around us.

And as you may be able to tell from the list of topics we’ve reeled off, he moves at considerable pace between one nonsense topic to the other.

The sets had advanced on from his earlier efforts such as Unrepeatable (filmed in 1994 in London).

Glorious displays an enormous advance on delivering the set in a streamlined fashion, moving at real pace to cram in an enormous amount into just over an hour of comedy.

This included a famous encore about Armageddon, with Izzard’s notes on technophobes and how computers and fantastic… but also bloody annoying.

Glorious certainly stands amongst a trio of masterpiece shows Izzard had in the mid-late 1990s. These being Definite Article, this, and Dress to Kill.

Having been a big fan of Jasper Carrott when we were even younger, watching this stuff at age 14 was a bloody eye-opener to put it mildly.

It also helped us understand our own penchant for silliness wasn’t weird, it was just about being self-deprecating, witty, and fun.

And if Izzard could do it to such a spectacular standard, why should we benefit? It was certainly a most liberating thing for us.

For which we must thank Izzard, as we watched this shows repeatedly for many years on end. And they’re kind of stuck verbatim in our brains.

And that can only ever be a good thing. *evil laugh*

Eddie Izzard in 2021 (and beyond!)

Izzard is less on the stand-up route these days and more into the film industry and politics.

His film Six Minutes to Midnight launched this year and you can see the above interview from July 2021 on the Church of Wittertainment.

There, as always, she’s an intelligent and insightful interviewee.

Izzard is also famous for her progressive stance and charity work, particularly with the many, many, many consecutive marathons she’s run.

Izzard did this again at the start of 2021, getting around the pandemic by setting up a treadmill in a studio and inviting on various guests.

At the end of each marathon, Izzard would then perform a short stand-up show (occasionally falling asleep during it due to exhaustion).

We think this shows the spirit she has and the magnanimous, liberal push to do good (whilst being silly and having fun simultaneously). It’s certainly inspirational.

Izzard is also pushing for a campaign to be Mayor of London in the not too distant future. So, let’s hope that comes to fruition.

We sure as hell need something positive after the catastrophic shambles the Tory party has trudged out since 2010. And Izzard would be the perfect antidote.

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