-Welcome to the show, Eddie.
-Thank you. -How are you?
-I am very good. I am… -You’re looking good.
-Well, I’m quite… I do this running thing,
which, um…. I’ve, you know, I’ve told this
to… I tell people that I run, because I’ve run
these marathons before, but now I keep it going,
I keep it topped out with HIIT– High-Intensity
Interval Training. So, you sprint, recover,
sprint, recover, sprint. Just like tigers do.
Sprint, recover, so… Or lions in Africa.
Sprint, recover, sprint. And that’s-that’s what
we used to do as human beings when we were wild,
but now we’re more domesticated, -cake and television,
and, uh, so… -(laughter) we don’t do so much of that. But, you know, all the good
sports people, you know, in the big sports, like
your football, our football, everyone’s football, sprint,
recover, sprint, recover, and that is the healthy stuff
for you– so, kids, do that. Be-be like a tiger.
Yeah, be like a tiger. Let’s talk about
the marathons for a bit. Um, a lot of people
may not know this about you, but you-you genuinely
have run more marathons than most human beings
will ever in their lifetimes. In fact, I remember
when you came to South Africa to run 27 marathons in 27 days in honor of Nelson Mandela’s
27 years in prison, -and…
-(cheering, applause) And I remember, like,
seeing that, as a South African, and I was like, “Wow,
this is a little excessive.” -(laughter)
-Um… I was like, “Just, like, just
remember him. Just hashtag… -#WeRememberYou.”
-I didn’t do enough at the time. I didn’t… You know,
I was a student at the time– well, apartheid obviously
went on for a long time– I just didn’t… I didn’t eat
the fruit, and that was it. And I just thought,
“That’s not enough.” So I thought
maybe I can make it up. -Yes. -And then
the “Invictus,” uh… poem, which I knew meant a lot to him,
there was the film, and when I heard about the film,
and my dad said, “You know,
that was a Nelson Mandela poem, that’s where it came from,”
and I thought, “Okay, I know
where I’m next gonna run.” But you almost died doing this. Uh… technically. -Uh…
-(laughter) Well, you see,
my-my willpower… I got rhabdomyo…
I tried in 2012 and got rhabdomyolysis,
which is not fun. I went back in 2016, and they couldn’t work up
my bloods and-and my hydration right. So day four was in hospital. -Day five was in hospital.
-Yes. Uh, in-in eastern…
in East London -in Eastern Cape.
-Yes. And a very cool nephrologist, which is a kidney expert, he… This very cool black guy,
and he’d just say, “Well, who are you?
What are you doing?” “I’m doing this for Madiba.”
“Why?!” -You know, the sort of thing
you’re saying. -Yeah. -South Africans are like, “Why?”
-Yeah, this guy was… He was really cool.
And he said, “No, no.” He’d say, “Your kidneys
are fine. It’s your… “it’s your hydration.
That’s the problem. “We’re gonna put three liters
into you, and you’ll be peeing
like a horse.” I didn’t pee once
that night, so… Because of how dehydrated
you were. -Yeah, I was really dehydrated.
-Yeah, but this is what I love. It’s like, you-you have this…
you have this personality where when you set your sights
on something, it’s almost, like, militaristic. You go,
“I’m going to do a thing. I’m gonna run 27 marathons.” When you missed a marathon, you then ran two marathons
the next day. -Or the last day.
-The last. -The very final day, that was.
-Right. -Again, excessive. Um…
-(laughter) But-but this is
who Eddie Izzard is. I mean, like, for-for people
who know and love your story, they love you because of that. You are somebody who’s known
for not just doing comedy, but for touring the world, doing comedy in…
How many languages is it now? I remember when it was three,
and now? It’s-it’s now four.
I’ve added Spanish to it, but I’m-I’m learning it
in Spanish. -I do it in German…
-So-so, wait. -So, it’s English.
It was French. -And German. -German. I remember when…
Yeah. -And German. German. We were there together. -Yeah, yeah.
-And then we met. We were both
at the same comedy club. Eddie was testing his material
downstairs, and then I was doing my show. And then Eddie came,
and then you were like, “Oh, we’re both here.
This is so much fun.” You’re like,
“Are you doing it in German?” I was like, “No.
Why would I do it in German?” This-this was in Berlin,
wasn’t it? -Yeah, this was in Berlin.
-This was in Berlin. -And his… and…
-I was like, “No.” I was like, “Why?
Why would I do that?” -And his dad spoke Ger…
Your dad speaks German. -Yes. Yeah, but-but why is that
so important to you? ‘Cause you don’t do it
as a gimmick. -It’s who you are. Why?
-It’s political. I mean, I-I want to stand
as a member of Parliament in my country for next year. Um, I’ve said this
for nine years now, that I was gonna stand in 2020. And this is
an underlying political thing. It’s hands across borders. The-the astronauts
said this from– you know, either the Russians
or the Americans– when they went up there,
they looked back. There are no frontiers. -We made these frontiers.
-Right. And I’m going out and saying, “This is a very key century,
the 21st century.” Uh, I’m doing my shows
in French, German, Spanish. Maybe Spanish, German, French. Kids, Russian kids, whatever,
they can think, “Well, I’ll try it
in a different language.” -Yes. -And that just makes
the melting pot melt. Because we are all human. We have spent so many wars
about killing each other. -We’re all human.
-(cheering and applause) When you do… when you do your comedy
in another language… I mean, like, I don’t do it
as extensively as you do. I’ll write a joke
in another language. You do the whole show
in another language, and then you, like, immerse
yourself in that language. Do you think there’s something
in learning other languages that changes
how you perceive people -who speak another language?
-Not how you perceive. You just realize, “Hey,
they’re the same people as us.” Because some of them laugh.
Some of them don’t laugh. Some of them go,
“This is rubbish.” Some of them go, you know…
They just have the same quirks and-and things as us. We-we do tend to say,
“The Germans are this. The French are that.
The Chinese are this.” They’re not. They’re all
essentially human beings. -Yes.
-Family, kids, a better life, working hard. We need to make it a fair world for 7.5 billion people
this century, and-and the melting pot… America was a great melting pot. It made this great country. And we need to make the world
a melting pot. And I feel that we’ve either
got to be brave and curious or fearful and suspicious, and I’m trying to be brave
and curious. -(cheering and applause)
-You are doing that, but you’re doing it
on another level because… I remember,
years ago, when we met– And-and this-this is one
of the people who genuinely is one of the reasons
that I’m sitting here today, because Eddie was kind enough
to present my show and my comedy in Edinburgh,
which, I mean, blew me up. ‘Cause people were like, “Well,
if Eddie-Eddie vouches for you, then, I mean, we’ll let you in.” Um… Actually, one of my–
the funniest moment was we were taking
a photo together. I don’t know if you remember
this. This was in Edinburgh. And we-we knew each other, but
we weren’t, like, close friends. And Eddie’s standing next to me
in the picture, and we’re standing there
and everyone’s taking pictures of us together. And then Eddie says, out of the corner of his mouth,
he says, “You better not kill someone
or do some crazy shit, because now I’m tied to you
forever.” (laughing) (applause) (cheering and applause) -I don’t actually remember
saying that. -You… (laughs) But what I–
what I do remember thinking is, “I want to encourage
young people to go on and, uh– “young people,
younger than myself, to go on and be successful.
Not too successful.” And you have–
you’re on the borderline of being too successful.
“This is rather annoying.” No, but-but let’s–
but let’s talk about– let’s talk a little bit more
about Eddie Izzard going into politics, because you have
spoken about it for a long time. You’re not one of those people
who just, like, saw Trump and was like,
“Oh, that looks easy.” -No.
-No, you-you’ve said– No, you’ve said for-for,
as you said, almost a decade, “I want to get into politics.”
Why politics? Why-why would you go into
that world that seems so messy, especially in the UK,
with Brexit and what’s going on? -Why? -Well,
anywhere-anywhere in the world– I’m a radical moderate.
I do radical things with a moderate message. I came
out as transgender 34 years ago. I’m performing
in four languages. I’ve run over 80 marathons
for charity now. So I-I– That’s what I bring
to the table. I think most moderates
don’t go into politics, ’cause it seems too evil,
too-too brutal– is probably a better word
than “evil.” It’s just brutal in there. And if you think
about what people have said to me negatively
for being transgender, I don’t think they can say
anything in politics -that’s gonna top that.
-Right. So I’m already battle-hardened
for that. I campaigned in-in
numerous different campaigns, uh, back in Britain. Um, and I think
you need to have three things to do– to be a politic–
uh, to do politics. You need to have a vision
for the future. My vision is a fair world
for 7.5 billion people. I think you need to be able
to communicate. -Hopefully my comedy gives me
the ability to do that. -Right. Analyze and communicate. And you need to be able
to look at systems and-and work out what systems
that you should keep, what you should change, and which ones you
should completely throw away. Comedy isn’t actually much good,
uh, uh, for politics, except for the light relief,
saying, “I think this. “The other people,
they think that. -And they’re all silly buggers.”
-Right. Yes. And that’s where you use
your comedy, for light relief,
’cause it can get very, uh, dry in the world
of politics. -Oh, I-I’ve noticed. Trust me,
I’ve noticed. -Yes. I like… One thing I do– I do enjoy
about your story as well is-is– and-and this is something that
I really, really appreciated– is your-your story was really– was really tough,
for many years. Because, here you were, as a trans man who was living
in this world, where, 30 years ago, it was–
it was dangerous. You got beaten up. You were
ridiculed everywhere you went. And I will never forget noticing
how powerful, um, your story and your impact
were until, one day,
I was walking in London. It was in, uh,
Piccadilly Circus, and there was a transgender man who was walking and dressed up
and you know? And a group of guys saw him
and then they were like, they were like,
“Oh, man. Look over there. Look at that asshole.” And I turned and I saw
and then I was like, “Aw, shit.
It’s gonna be, like, a thing.” And the guy was like,
“Oi! Oi! Oi.” He was like, “You–
Are you like Eddie Izzard?” He’s like, “Yeah!”
“Pretty cool, man! Just like Eddie Izzard!
You do comedy?” And the guy was like,
“No, I don’t.” He was like, “Aw.”
(laughs) -Is that real? Is that true?
-But– No, for real. For real. And-and then, like, like–
I’ve noticed there’s, like, a– Like, in London, it became–
it just became– you-you had an impact on people
that went beyond. It– I-I know it sounds strange,
but it just became– Because people
are familiar with it– I find, a lot of the time,
in society, we are afraid of a thing
that we do not know. And then when you become
familiar with it, you start to see it
as being more normal. Mo Salah is a good example,
in the U.K, right? You have Mohamed Salah,
this Muslim soccer player at Liverpool, becomes huge,
and then, all of a sudden, they said, in Liverpool,
Islamophobia was dropping. -Oh, wow.
-And little kids were like, (with British accent):
“Oh, I want to be Muslim, also.” And it’s just like…
that’s-that’s what it became. So, like, do you see that
when you speak to people? Well, when I came out
from South Africa, um… I’ve-I’ve got a film coming out
at the end of the year, and my co-writer, Celyn Jones–
he said, “Can you go
to my daughter’s school?” ‘Cause they’ve been tracking
the running in-in South Africa. We went there, and they could
talk about two things. I thought
this was wonderful for me, just sitting at the back there,
because the teacher could talk about racism
to when Nelson Mandela, the struggle against apartheid
in South Africa. They could also talk about– ’cause I was running
with my nails painted, um, and holding
the South African flag— -they could talk
about being transgender. -Yes. And I’d done, uh, some videos
that had gone viral on that. And they talk
about self-identifying in the classroom. Younger kids were just saying… One of them was identifying
girl instead of boy. And I thought
that was beautiful. They could talk about sexuality, and they could talk
about racism in the same thing. And I do think marathons
and wearing high heels, for me, has been a kind of interesting
breakthrough, because… Also very difficult
on your feet– both of them. -I mean… -I know.
I tend to take the heels off when I run the marathons. But people tend
to give me a bit of a more, “Well, all right. Fair play. All right, if you’re gonna do
that, uh, ’cause, you know…” And it’s-it’s the two things
added together. I did want to be in
Special Forces when I was a kid. This can.. this can sound
kind of crazy, but I was planning this Marines
or paratroops, and then go SAS. I didn’t know which war
they’d send me to, so I was kind of…
slowed down on that one. I wanted
to do this creative stuff. So I’ve tried to do this
sort of civilian special forces. -Right.
-That’s what I’ve… That’s why I’m so military in-in
the way approach everything. In the way that you look at it.
The tour is rolling out to a large number of cities
around the world. You’re gonna be doing it
in multiple languages. One thing
that I do find interesting is that as political as you are,
your show is never political. -Yeah.
-Your show is timeless. It’s-it’s… it’s about history,
and it’s about the future. It’s about space,
and it’s about… It’s, like, one
of the most complicated shows. Like, the topics that… Your-your thing is not,
like, elevators. Your thing is like
the space-time continuum. -Why-why…?
-But also very silly. -Very silly, as well. -Yes,
but-but why do you do that? -Um… -Why-why… why not have
the politics, and why…? -Okay, politics dates it.
-Yes. If-if you’re doing politics,
get it out of your show, because when you do
your videos… (laughter) -This is…
-(applause, cheering, whooping) I… I’m s…
I gave you good advice before. (laughter) You… take the politics
and-and make it… -go macro on the politics.
-Right, right. I’m with you. So if it’s something
about Trump now, then go macro on people
who have been like him -throughout history.
-Uh-huh. Go that way, ’cause then,
it’ll be timeless. When they look at it
in ten years, -they’ll go, “Ah, this is
still all relevant.” -Right. As opposed to, “Oh. Oh, yeah,
that guy did that back then.” Oh, Trump’s still gonna be
around in ten years. -Yeah, but… but…
-That’s, uh… -(people groaning) -My… No,
you’ve got a rule in America. Oh, no, no, no.
Not as president, -but he’s still gonna be around.
-(laughter) Well, it’s…
That was my thing. I thought,
there’s one practicality, which is just, if you keep it,
uh, fluid, keep it out there, -like Monty Python,
it can be timeless. -Yes. And also, I’m too lazy
to do pol… I want to do… I want
to do comedy about politics when I’m in politics. That’s essentially what
I’m gonna be doing, when I’m gonna say,
“I believe this. The other team– they’re all
idiots.” That’s what I’m doing. -Thank you so much for being
on the show, man. -Thank you. I love you so much,
and I appreciate you. The Wunderbar Tour
starts May 8 in Nashville. For tickets to the shows,
go to EddieIzzard.com Eddie Izzard, everybody.