Most of the times I saw Eddie Izzard material for the first time were alone, in my apartment, watching YouTube.
The last time I heard Eddie Izzard material for the first time was almost 5 years ago, lying in bed in the dark listening to an audio bootleg of one of his Stripped shows.
Today, I saw new Eddie Izzard material for the first time sitting front row centre in Massey Hall with my two very best friends in the whole world!
I highly recommend it.
I repeat: front row centre. Front row centre. Front row centre!!!
This bears emphasizing not just because holy shit front row centre, but because Eddie Izzard and Massey Hall deserve credit for having a system where an ordinary person with no inside knowledge and no connections, armed with nothing but a readily-googleable fan presale code, can land front row centre seats through normal, official channels! Since I saw tickets to some of Eddie's other shows on stubhub before the fan presale even started, I was very happy to see that Massey Hall was selling properly and aboveboard and "best available" actually meant best available.
Also, I touched the stage of Massey Hall! (Before the show, when the audience was milling around. I just stood up, took two steps, and touched it!)
The whole show went by so fast! The first half felt like 20 minutes (it was an hour and a quarter) and the second half felt like 10 minutes (it was at least an hour). I didn't even retain any of the material for future quoting purposes because it went by so fast! I've already forgotten and then re-remembered some parts, and burst out laughing in the subway because I re-remembered the sacrificial virgins bit.
About halfway through the first act, I hit this endorphin high where I was so close to full belly laughter than I couldn't even laugh big any more. The show ended 1.5 hours ago, and I'm still floating there. I've been grinning basically since 8 pm, and I'm not about to stop any time soon.
Because of the high and the rapid pace of new material and the intensity of experiencing it brand new for the first time live and in person and up close and personal, I can't even review the material! I can't even compare it to other shows! I'll seriously have to buy the DVD to figure out how I like it compared with other shows!
We still really need a way to communicate to Eddie on stage that we're listening with rapt attention. When he was talking about how we use French-derived words for meat instead of the Anglo-Saxon-derived words we used for the animals (cow = boeuf = beef) we were agreeing and listening and waiting to hear what he said next, but he read the room as not following or not entertained or something. Which isn't true! What he was saying was true and interesting and one of my favourite things about English etymology and we couldn't wait to see what else he had to say about it, it just wasn't making us belly laugh.
I normally tweet a welcome to any visiting celebrities, but Eddie arrived right at the peak of the Rob Ford gong show, so I didn't quite feel right about welcoming anyone into this mess. But perhaps it's good thing for a comedian, because it provides a wealth of material! Eddie did a bit about Ford at the beginning and then had smoking crack as a callback punchline throughout. Twitter tells me that in the earlier shows this week, he got 20 minutes of quality material out of it. Imagine walking into a city as a comedian and it hands you 20 minutes of material that didn't exist the day before! On one hand, maybe this will make him like us and come back! On the other hand, I don't want my city to still be so rich in comedy material next time!
Eddie looks absolutely fantastically gorgeous during this tour! Best I've seen him look in real time! The clean-shaven look really suits him, even when he's not going fully femme.
And my absolute favourite part of tonight was that instead of doing the stage door autograph thing, Eddie came back onstage and did a Q&A session! He sat down right on the edge of the stage and took questions from the audience! I vastly prefer that because you get to feel like you're part of a more intimate conversation even if you don't have anything to contribute! I didn't have any questions, so I just sat there and enjoyed and felt like I was getting to be a part of the conversation without the risk of making an ass of myself.
Eddie is so good at including the whole room that even though we were front and centre and really really close to him during the Q&A, we didn't feel any more included in the conversation than anyone else. He was deliberately calling on question-askers who were further back and not giving us any particular attention. All of which was very fair and equitable, of course, I'm just very impressed that he can do that! It's got to be difficult not to favour people who are nearly within arm's reach and within easy conversational distance! (We still got to enjoy proximity and skinny jeans and such, so I feel like we won.)
(I'm also happy about the Q&A in my ongoing tradition of interpreting everything as being the result of my influence as a blogger. Eddie did Q&As earlier in the Stripped tour, but didn't do them for us. I did express my disappointment on the internet that we got stage door instead of Q&A. And this time we got a Q&A! Also, last time I also expressed concern that the tickets available through Ticketmaster weren't the same as the tickets available though the Massey Hall box office, with far better tickets being available through Massey Hall (Massey Hall put us in the second row when Ticketmaster was putting us on the balcony), and this time the Toronto tickets were through Massey Hall only with Ticketmaster not involved at all!)
Next time there's an It Gets Better or Letter To Your Younger Self or similar meme floating around, this evening is something that I am totally going to tell my younger self about. This was like the pinnacle of experience for me.
Eddie did mention in the Q&A that he plans two more tours. I look forward to him topping this. Twice.