I have loved Eddie Izzard since Definite Article, and Dress to Kill is my favorite stand-up special of all time. One could say that isn’t saying much since I don’t really listen to or watch a lot of stand-up, but that just means it’s one of the rare specials that actually made me enjoy stand-up, right up there with Paul F. Tompkins’ Laboring Under Delusions and anything Mitch Hedberg.
So of course I wasn’t surprised that Izzard’s autobiography is just as delightful as his stand-up. Hell, it even includes little bit from his stand-up specials, especially Dress to Kill! Izzard’s book follows the standard memoir format, describing his life in order, but with really interesting sidebars about the loss of his mother and how it’s changed his entire life, his experience coming out and processing/understanding his own sexuality, and of course his experiences breaking into comedy, theater, and film.
What I most appreciated was the emotional honesty with which he approached this book: he describes himself several times as bad at expressing emotions, but I don’t see that displayed here. He clearly knows himself well and knows how to explain his perspectives. There were a few times where I found the conclusions he came through about larger issues idiosyncratic and found myself disagreeing with them, but he never puts himself forward as an expert who must be right. He’s just explaining his own perspectives.
I generally find the “how I got into showbiz” parts of memoirs boring (I’m just not particularly interested in that aspect of any industry) but here I found it charming and fascinating. Definitely a good read!