"So at the age of six I went off to St John's boarding school in Porthcawl, Wales. It was run by a very pleasant man called Mr Crump who we nicknamed 'the man from hell who we all hate'. Seeing as my Mum had just died I decided to cry relentlessly for about a year. Mr Crump would help me along with beatings when he could fit them in." (from 'Live at the Ambassadors')
Eddie's early years are a bit of a haze comprising mostly of 10 years of trying and failing to get into school plays. As revenge on the teacher who always made him play the clarinet instead of Romeo, Eddie decided he would be famous and chose comedy as his path.
His own brand of "talking bollocks with more bollocks on top" was honed first as a sketch comedian at the Edinburgh Festival, a street performer in Covent Garden and then indoors at the London Comedy Clubs. Sticking up two fingers to the one-eyed god television, Eddie then toured relentlessly around the country making people laugh and becoming a cult so that people would don paccamacs and worship his name.
All of this paid off and he began to win a string of awards to decorate his bathroom: a Perrier Award nomination at the Edinburgh Festival and a Time Out Award in 1991. Eddie decided that he wanted to play in the West End and really make that teacher feel sorry.
In 1993 he took his show to the Ambassadors Theatre for a 4 week run which he had to extend twice to 13 weeks to accomodate everyone and was nominated for an Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement.
The Montreal Festival beckoned where Eddie was selected as the 1993 showcase artist, the first comedian outside North America to talk about fish to gain that honour. He ran for a week and sold out a 400 seat theatre. He then undertook a nation-wide tour of Britain followed by another run in the West End, selling out the Albery Theatre within a week for its 7 week run, a total of 34,000 seats. Still he had snubbed the TV so everyone agreed that this was pretty amazing (or stupid), and LWT thought they should give him the award for Top Live Stand-up Comedian at the British Comedy Awards. The video of his show at the Ambassadors Theatre was released in December 1993.
1994 saw Eddie return to the Ambassadors Theatre to perform the male lead in the world premiere of David Mamet's play 'The Cryptogram'. As a result of The Cryptogram, Eddie was offered one of the lead parts in the play '900 Oneonta', for which he received excellent notices. Then, in May 1995, Eddie played Edward II at the Leicester Haymarket for a limited run. Here he split the critics, The Guardian saying, "Great," The Observer saying, "Die."
In the spring of 1995 he compered a 56 date tour of the UK and Eire, which coincided with the release of his new video from the Albery Theatre show called 'Unrepeatable'. Eddie also recorded a series for Radio 4 entitled 'Missed Demeanors' which he devised and in which he was a panellist. It was transmitted that May and repeated the following January.
A live improvisational show, 'One Word Improv', with Neil Mullarkey, Stephen Frost and Suki Webster, was spawned from this radio show and played for two weeks to packed houses at the Royal Court and again at the Edinburgh Festival. 'One Word Improv' took to the road on May the next year, selling out dates throughout England, Ireland, Holland and France.
Following Eddie's record breaking stand-up show, 'Definite Article', at the Shaftesbury Theatre in the winter of 1995, he performed a 4 month world tour of the show that Autumn to promote the release of the video of 'Definite Article'. This tour included a month in New York and shows in Paris (in french), Koln, Reykjavic, Amsterdam, Stockholm and Copenhagen, starting in Bexhill-on-Sea on 1 September.
With film acting roles in 'Aristophanes' (Channel 4), 'The Secret Agent?' (with Bob Hoskins and Gerard Depardieu) and Damien Hirst's 'Hanging Around', Eddie still found time to write his sitcom 'Cows', which had been commissioned for Channel 4. A 1 hour special of 'Cows' which was screened in the Autumn of that year, failed to take off. He claims that he is still looking for work.
And apparently, he's found it.
'Cows' didn't quite work out in the summer of 1995, but Eddie plowed along with various movie and TV roles in The Secret Agent, The Unseen Frank Skinner TV Show, Lust for Glorious, Inspector Derrick, Velvet Goldmine, The Avengers, Mystery Men and the upcoming The Criminal and Burned to Light. Currently he can be seen in Circus alongside John Hannah
Sprinkled in between these roles, Eddie found time to squeeze in a few more stand up acts.
In 1997, he took the East Village by storm a second time with his appearance in New York City following a sold out run at P.S. 122 last autumn.
Eddie followed that up with Dress to Kill, which he also brought to the US in 1998 and was taped for HBO. This has proven to be a pivotal show for Eddie which brought his particular brand of stand up to a wider audience in the US. What followed was a boom in Eddie Izzard fan sites on the internet, eager to spread the Gospel According to St. Eddie.