Eddie Izzard Doesn’t Trust This Whole Falling in Love Business (2024)

Eddie Izzard Doesn’t Trust This Whole Falling in Love Business (1)

Photo Illustration by Braulio Amado


By David Marchese Photo Illustration by Bráulio Amado

Eddie Izzard is one of her generation’s most acclaimed and successful comedians. The 61-year-old, who uses she/her pronouns, has delivered her partly improvised, largely surreal, wholly charming material to arena-size crowds in the United States and Britain and, as far as I know, is the only comedian of her stature to perform material in multiple languages (French, German and Spanish). Additionally, Izzard, a Briton who publicly came out as transgender way back in 1985, has carved out a parallel path as a character actor in TV, cinematic and theatrical dramas. As if that weren’t enough, she has also performed one-woman theatrical adaptations of classic literature. (Her “Hamlet” will start a six-week run in New York this month.) Izzard has had a remarkable career, and yet it’s a career that she has been gradually putting on the back burner in favor of politics. In 2022 and 2023, Izzard tried and failed to be selected as a Labour Party candidate in general elections. She tells me she plans to keep running until she makes her way into Parliament (speaking of running, she has run more than 100 marathons for charity). “I wanted to be the kind of person to do things that made me go, ‘Wow, that’s amazing,’” says Izzard, a freewheeling and dizzyingly associative talker. “I seem to have done a few.”

Given your experience in both realms, what thoughts do you have about politics as comedy and comedy as politics? Politics is very dry. You argue about tinier and tinier nuances. So when someone comes along and quips, quips, quips, it tends to get on the airwaves. The media love it. That’s why funny is bubbling up in politics: It has been dry for a long time. But if you put lying underneath that, then it gets very dark and dangerous. Comedy is not a good political weapon. There are people doing anti-trans comedy — maybe because they would have laid into other areas and now they’re feeling that it’s fair game to attack trans people. I don’t know why.

Probably the most famous example of that would be Dave Chappelle. Are you able to find sympathy for a comedian like him? I don’t want to get into a scrap. I think Dave is very talented. And I’ve met him, and when we met, it was great.

Chappelle aside, I’m curious how you understand that material. Are there a lot of people doing anti-gay-men and anti-lesbian-women material at the moment?

Eddie Izzard Doesn’t Trust This Whole Falling in Love Business (2)

Eddie Izzard in a solo stage adaptation of Charles Dickens’s “Great Expectations” in New York in 2022.

Carol Rosegg

Eddie Izzard Doesn’t Trust This Whole Falling in Love Business (3)

Izzard running a marathon in South Africa in 2016.

Ebrahim Hajee/Getty Images

How do bravery and curiosity jibe with another thing that you say in your book, which is that you’ve been very suspicious about being in love? Well, there’s loving someone, and then there’s being in love. Being in love seems to be chemical. I think there’s a chemical release, and I don’t trust it for that reason. I found myself falling in love at times, and I thought, I don’t want this to happen. I’m consciously telling my brain not to do this; my brain has done this. What is going on? I argued with my brain, but I could feel something happening, which I assume is a chemical coming out of the brain. It can all get so tricky. I’m quite happy on my own at the moment. I don’t have a relationship, and I’m very happy and have got all this work to do.

Eddie Izzard Doesn’t Trust This Whole Falling in Love Business (4)

Eddie and Dorothy Ella Izzard around 1965.

From the Izzard family

You don’t like them because it’s a loss of control? Yes. Do you like loss of control? I don’t have anyone who said, “I’m totally up for this loss-of-control thing.”

People like the feeling of letting go. You’ve got to line these people up for me, David: “I love being out of control.” But I would say generally that I’m not into not being in control. If there’s a falling-in-love thing and it was mutual, then I would happily take that ride. But once you’ve lost your mother, you never trust anyone or anything again.

I was going to make the link! So you want me to explain more?

The idea is that once you’ve lost your mother, you’re always hesitant to give yourself to someone else, because you’re worried about losing that person? Yes, there is that in the relationship, but you don’t trust anything anymore because — Mum and Dad, Mum and Dad, Mum and Dad, no Mum. Mum’s not coming back. I have met some people who had a good, long relationship, then they stopped, and then within a few months, boom, they’ve got another long relationship. How the hell do you do that?

Do you think some of what you said is a way of rationalizing your anxiousness about relationships? Yeah. There is an anxiousness, but there’s also a thing in society that you have to have a relationship. I’ve moved beyond that. I’m just not — I can get a lot done. There’s this thing of being married to your career. I’ve tried to put together a career that’s pretty good, which I’m putting aside to go into politics. I want to do good work in politics. I’m going to work really hard. I feel I can do things.

Opening illustration: Source photograph by Shane Anthony Sinclair/Getty Images

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity from two conversations.

Eddie Izzard Doesn’t Trust This Whole Falling in Love Business (2024)


What are Eddie Izzard's pronouns? ›

At the time, Izzard said that “it feels very positive” to use she/her pronouns.

Is Eddie Izzard still married to Sarah Townsend? ›

Is Eddie Izzard married to Sarah Townsend? No, the comedian has never been married. However, she was previously in a long-term relationship with Sarah Louise Townsend/McGuinness. Her ex-girlfriend is an Irish singer, producer, and director.

Why is Eddie Izzard famous? ›

Izzard worked as a street performer and in smaller comedy venues throughout the mid-to-late 1980s; her big break came when she appeared in Hysteria III, a 1991 AIDS fundraiser held at the London Palladium, and did her now-famous "Raised by wolves" sketch.

When did Susie Izzard come out? ›

“I've got 'Edward' on my passport, it's quite wooden and big and I don't call myself that,” she said. “So, I just thought, I'll add Suzy there, and then Eddie, and people can choose what they want.” Izzard came out as trans/genderfluid in 1985, and began professionally using she/her pronouns in 2020.

Who is the famous British drag queen comedian? ›

Paul O'Grady
Paul O'Grady MBE DL
BornPaul James O'Grady14 June 1955 Tranmere, Cheshire, England
Died28 March 2023 (aged 67) Aldington, Kent, England
Burial placeChurch of St Rumwold, Bonnington, England
OccupationsComedian broadcaster drag queen actor writer
4 more rows

Is Eddie Izzard dyslexic? ›

Eddie didn't realise he was dyslexic. It was not a common diagnosis in the 1960s. All he knew was that he spelled cat with a “K” and ceiling with an “S”. Which would make games of I-Spy on long car journeys incredibly frustrating for the other competitors.

Is Lowri Izzard related to Eddie Izzard? ›

The closest things he has to outside relations involve being bullied by a local tough named Eddie (Jamie Michie) and his Veruca Salt-esque twin teenage daughters (Lowri and Mari Izzard, no relation to comedian Eddie Izzard as far as I can tell), and an awkward attraction to an equally shy woman called Hazel (Louise ...

How fast does Eddie Izzard run a marathon? ›

He ran in heat temperatures of up to 42°C and managed to complete one of his marathons in just 5 hours and 34 minutes – despite the conditions. On Friday 18th March he received a surprise phone call from the International Space Station as astronaut Tim Peake rang to wish him good luck.

Is Eddie Izzard a pilot? ›

Tell us one thing about yourself that would surprise people? I can fly a plane. I had a fear of flying so I learned to fly and got my pilot's licence 20 years ago.

Who was the old comedian who dressed as a woman? ›

Milton Berle was one of the most famous early cross-dressing comedians in skits and such on his NBC shows from 1948 to 1956. Jonathan Winters had a popular female character, Maude Fricket. Flip Wilson created the memorable recurring character Geraldine Jones (character) on The Flip Wilson Show.

Was Eddie Izzard in The Good Wife? ›

"The Good Wife" The Death Zone (TV Episode 2011) - Eddie Izzard as James Thrush - IMDb.

Is Eddie Murphy married? ›

Relationships and children

They lived together for almost two years before getting married at the Grand Ballroom of the Plaza Hotel in New York City on March 18, 1993. Murphy and Mitchell have five children together: Bria, Myles, Shayne, Zola, and Bella.

Does Eddie Izzard have a brother? ›

Early life and education

A brother, Mark, was born two years earlier. When Izzard was a year old, the family moved to Northern Ireland and settled in Bangor, where they lived until Izzard was five. The family then moved to Wales, where they lived in Skewen. Izzard was six when her mother died of cancer.


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