Fans of Eddie Izzard will find this bit an all-too-obvious feature for a stand-up Sunday that falls on Easter, but in my small household, viewing it has become somewhat of a tradition, and I’d like to share it. Izzard performs this bit in his 1999 tour, Dress to Kill.
Was it just me, or did some of the San Francisco audience seem a little uncomfortable with Izzard’s pithy summary of the Easter tradition?
We use stand up comedians as a societal court jester; sometimes we listen to them just to hear things we don’t want to hear. I may have been the smallest bit shocked when I heard this bit for the first time, but now I find that it provides a gentle grounding that I very much appreciate. It’s a similar feeling to the one evoked by Dustin Hoffman performing Lenny Bruce’s “Happy Ending Culture” bit in Lenny (1974). It’s sad. It hurts. But, because he can acknowledge it, I can acknowledge it, and I feel better. Wait, do I?
Eddie Izzard is receiving as much attention for his out-and-proud atheism these days as for his out-and-proud transvestism. Very recently he appeared on the National Mall as a guest speaker for the Week of Reason’s Reason Rally, amongst other atheist activists as Richard Dawkins and Bill Maher.
The thing about Eddie Izzard’s forays into atheism that I most relate to, as opposed to Maher’s, for example, is that we can stare the terrifying prospect of a Godless existence in the face and respond with silliness. Izzard’s whimsey coupled with the legacy of Bruce’s truth-telling is preferable to me on days like today, when I remember the feeling I got having discovered the truth about the Easter Bunny. Even if deep down, we don’t really feel better, it serves as a much more pleasant transition from myth dissemblance back into our everyday lives filled with everyday tasks. At least we get some chocolate bunnies out of it.