I can sometimes be a bit of a bitter old stick of a man. I'm aware of it. I'm working on it. But there it is. So, you would think that if there was someone who, a couple of decades and change ago, I used to hang out with, work with, eat breakfast with, who then went on the become one of the most successful and beloved stand up comedians and actors in the world.. Well you might be forgiven for thinking that it could bring out the teeth-grinding in me. And if that person were anyone other than Eddie Izzard, then there's a slim chance you might be on the money.
But Eddie is – and was always – so smart and cool and talented and driven and open and just bloody nice, that honestly, it's just impossible to feel anything other than “yay”. And I know that's true for everyone who used to work with him in his days as a street performer in London's Covent Garden. He's worked so damned hard and he was always so damned good that there's a bizarre sense of pride from his ex-colleagues that he made it, and made it so big.
It seems to me that he was never chasing fame for the sake of it, but rather pursuing the path that would let him realise the beautifully ambitious ideas that fizzed around in his head. For him, I think, it's about adventure and communication and exploration, and really, what better way to live a life?
I used to enjoy watching his street shows, and I enjoy watching his shows now too. He makes me laugh, of course, but more than that I find him immensely inspiring. I'm assuming he knows that he has that effect on people. Being aware of the lack of boundaries that he puts on what he is capable of accomplishing, gives me the impetus to try to think the same way. So I thank him for that.
I also thank him for taking the time out of his unimaginably busy life to sit down with me for the best part of an hour and chat about his work, with a bit of a focus on his time as a street performer, and how that influenced what came after. The interview will be part of the June London Varieties Web TV show, and podcast, so you'll have to wait a little while to watch it – make sure you follow me on twitter so you're the first to know when it's up online.
In the meantime, you might want to book some tickets for the next live London Varieties – it's going to be a blast...