Interview: Eddie Izzard

By JIM SULLIVAN  |  January 6, 2010

And Hitler never gets old. You must have had fun playing a Nazi officer inValkyrie.
When I did the press conference with Tom Cruise, Tom Wilkinson, and Kenneth Branagh and I was asked the final question — which was from a German guy who said, "You claim Hitler was a mass-murdering fuckhead. Do you stand by your words?" — I said, "Yeah, that's kind of an accurate, professional term for it." People say he was a tyrant — I put it into street terms. I'm trying to put down as much weight upon the unbelievably horrific things that he did.

You're a hard worker. Do you ever worry about losing your fire?
When I really work on stuff, it gets to a better place. I have tried to do that, like George Carlin. You don't want to go off the boil as you get older. I'm trying to make sure I don't do that.

I get the sense that though much of your show is planned, you're always out there on a tightrope without a safety net.
Yes. I know it works for an audience, and it works for me, too, because I'm the only one who's been to all my gigs. It's also how I write. I write by relaxing and getting into a place where I don't care if the audience is going to turn and say, "Get to a joke quicker." They stay with me, so I try to improvise as much as I can. The most I've ever done in a show is 30 minutes. Most shows, it's five to 10 minutes. The last arena tour I did was six years ago, and it was only about two or three minutes. I wasn't that relaxed. Already on this tour, I find I'm just mucking about, even in big cavernous Manchester with 30,000 people. By the time I get to Boston, I should be cooking like crazy.

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