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Page last updated at 10:10 GMT, Friday, 21 November 2008
Eddie Izzard 'back to his best'

By Andy Brownstone
Newsbeat reporter

Eddie Izzard

The reception Eddie Izzard got when he walked onto the stage at London's Lyric Theatre was as enthusiastic as the ovation he got when the show was over.

It felt like the crowd, including guests like Dame Judi Dench, were welcoming back an old friend.

Eddie Izzard has been busy touring the States and making a name for himself in Hollywood, and hasn't done any major dates in the UK since 2003.

He announces he's going to talk about "everything", and keeps his promise as he works his way through history from the creation of the world, to the day that Britons land on the moon.

He starts off talking about where his knowledge comes from, namely that he spend hours reading Wikipedia "which was invented by Mr and Mrs Wikipedia."

The themes are familiar; the God he doesn't believe in, talking animals, and his love of language.

Genius moments included:

  • Foxgloves. They're flowers that are worn by foxes as gloves, so that when they kill chickens no-one can take their paw prints.
  • Dinosaurs. They didn't rule the world. They just ate other dinosaurs and pooed dinosaurs.
  • Jazz chicken. Strap a trumpet to a chicken's beak and instead of squawking you get jazz chicken.
  • Punctuality in the Stone Age. No-one had an excuse to be late.
  • Noah's Aquarium. After he built the ark to survive the flood, Noah then built a giant aquarium to save all the fish when there was a drought.
  • The original 10 Commandments. Including Don't pee on a toaster; Don't call your foot Charlie; Don't stick your head to the ceiling.
  • Scrabble. It was easy before language was invented. You could use all seven of your letters and everyone was a winner.

Stripped

Izzard himself is the same, but somehow different.

Gone are the high heels, painted nails and make-up.

After all, the show is called Stripped.

And although it was top class comedy, it felt a bit like it had been written for an American audience, and then modified for the UK shows, rather than the other way round.

Eddie Izzard
Izzard says he paid the Americans to like him, which seemed to work

He has been working hard in the US. As well as touring there he's been filming a number of Hollywood movies.

He stars in Valkyrie with Tom Cruise and has a major role in Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the latest Narnia film.

Before the show he told Newsbeat: "I paid the Americans to like me. It seemed to work, but not with all of them.

"I didn't get the Bible belt. I was explaining to everyone that there was no God."

Back to the show, and my personal favourite section was where he blames the downfall of the Roman Empire on the fact that there are too many complicated endings to Latin words.

He describes a messenger trying to tell a centurion that Hannibal is coming over the mountains to attack the Romans.

But the two can't understand each other because they haven't learnt their Latin grammar.

"They've got elephants" says the messenger.

"Quo?" replies the centurion.

"Ummm, elephantis. Face like upside-downis back-to-frontis squirrelus. Trunkas like tailus.

"Bottom like pigus. Pigus maximus. Colour of lunis."

Izzard comes back for an encore to describe God welcoming the first British astronauts to land on the moon.

He's accompanied by a squirrel and a squid, who feature in one of the evening's earlier sketches about conditions aboard Noah's Ark.

And having brought the show round in a perfect circle, he bows again to the crowd and walks off.

Eddie Izzard is playing London's Lyric Theatre until 23 December.

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