movie thoughts: Believe – The Eddie Izzard Story (2009)

I’ve been a fan of British comedian Eddie Izzard for ten years now, ever since ‘Dress to Kill’ aired on HBO.  His humor is both ridiculous and intelligent at the same time.  When I vacationed in London with my family in 2000, I even picked up Eddie’s autobiography.  Little did I know that the year I purchased that book, Eddie’s career had just taken a down turn in the UK and he had stopped doing stand-up.  ‘Believe’, a documentary by Susan Townsend, covers Eddie’s return to stand-up with the SEXIE tour while also giving us a overview of his career. 

Eddie’s mother passed away from cancer when he was very young and he admits several times in the film that his career as a performer springs from wanting to get attention and be loved.  It includes clips of Eddie performing on the street with friends, his appearance at FRINGE comedy festival, and, of course, clips from his bigger productions from the late 90s. 

This was extra fun for me to watch because I actually saw one of Eddie’s “workshop” shows in New York when he was still working out the jokes in the SEXIE tour.  I then saw him again during the official run of the tour in Washington D.C. so I know first hand how he takes an idea and evolves it into a part of his show; it’s a very organic process for him. 

This movie, along with Jerry Seinfeld’s “Comedian”, should be required viewing for anyone thinking of going into the stand-up career track, or even just entertainment.  If you’re already a fan of Eddie Izzard, you MUST see this documentary. You really appreciate all the work and love he puts into his shows, and what a tenacious individual he is.  If you don’t know much about Eddie, it’s still an inspiring film to pick up and see someone struggle for and achieve their dream. 

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