Last Saturday, I went to my first comedy show since moving to Switzerland: Eddie Izzard FORCE MAJEURE. I had no idea who he was, so I was a bit iffy at first, but my friend said her friends really liked him… even though she’d never heard of him herself. A quick internet search revealed that he was on Who’s Line is It Anyway? and I remember that show being really cool. But then I saw some another clip of him wearing a ton of makeup and a dress, speaking in incomprehensible French… so I was having my doubts. But the opportunity to see my first show at Hallenstadion Zürich finally won out at the end, so I said I was in.
The last comedy show I watched was Chris Rock in Gibson Ampitheater at Universal City Walk, so it’s been a while. Hallenstadion looked a lot smaller compared to the Gibson, but it was still a lot bigger than when I watched Jamie Kennedy perform in what looked like an old ballroom at the Downtown Comedy Club. At Hallenstadion, I could clearly see the stage from our seats up front in sector G, so I thought we had pretty good seats… until Eddie came out and I realized that we were still too far away to catch his facial expressions. But we did have a clear view of the big screen near us, so that worked out.
I used to go to the Laugh Factory in Hollywood and the Comedy & Magic Club in Hermosa Beach back in the day, and those venues were a lot more intimate (and cheaper), so it was a totally different vibe from the large-scale show. Plus, there was always a two-drink minimum at comedy clubs, so loading up on the alcohol always made the shows a bit better, too. 😉 I didn’t drink any alcohol at the Swiss show, but it was still entertaining enough with lots of colors and bright, flashing lights.
The opener was Michael Mittermeier, a German comedian I’d never heard of. My Swiss friend said that he’s quite famous in Germany, and now he’s trying to branch out into the English-speaking community. It was a bit ironic seeing a German comedian performing in English in the German-speaking city of Zürich. Of course he had to rely on using the German shtick, as that was his angle–doing jokes about the war, how harsh the German language sounds, and how they “bought” Greece. I thought he was pretty good until I Googled him after the show and discovered that he’s done the same English routine for years in the U.S. and in Canada. How boring. He needs to get some new material if he wants some repeat audiences.
I was a bit shocked at first when Eddie appeared on stage. He was a lot older and fatter than I expected. I guess I had watched some pretty old YouTube videos of him and thought he would be a bit younger. He wore a suit and had a goatee–but also had on a ton of makeup and weirdly painted fingernails. After intermission, I suddenly realized that he was wearing high heels and then I had a new-found respect for how graceful he appeared, prancing around all night on stage in heels. I don’t think I could have done that myself.
How best to describe Eddie? I guess he’s a self-described straight, cross-dressing, dyslexic comedian… and that’s exactly how he appears on stage. He’d talk and ramble off, pausing mid-sentence, seemingly lost in thought… and then with an “oh yeah,” continue back where he left off. I kind of wondered if the absent-mindedness was really him, or if it was all part of his act. I would venture to guess it’s the latter.
His show was actually quite enjoyable though. Some stuff was way too cheesy, but other stuff made me laugh out loud. I’m quite impressed by his language abilities. Apparently, he’s been touring in French, and his goal for next year is to start touring in German. As someone who is hopeless in learning German, I’m really in awe of someone who is skilled enough to perform in a foreign language… to a foreign audience.
As comedy tends to be rather largely culturally based, I think this show would have been funnier to Europeans. It was refreshing to see a show in English, but as a non-European, I couldn’t personally relate to a lot of the jokes, because they were mainly directed at the European community. Well duh–I am in Europe, so I guess I’m the odd one out. Nevertheless, it was still a fun evening, so I’m glad I gave it a whirl.