Eddie Izzard's Three Decades of "Executive Transvestite" Style

The British comedian comes to town this weekend. But what will he wear? We glanced back at the ever-changing Izzard look over a three-decade career. Bring back the bustier!

By Lisa Borst June 23, 2015

Eddie Izzard, en route to Portland for his Force Majeure tour.

A classic dinner jacket, or fishnets and a bustier? You never know what you might get with Eddie Izzard. The British comedian’s standup has been consistently funny over a career spanning three decades, but his fashion choices have varied wildly since his first one-man shows in the early 90s.

Izzard—who is also, somehow, a film actor, a polyglot, a long-distance runner, and an aspiring mayoral candidate in London’s 2020 elections—hits Portland’s Keller Auditorium on June 27 and 28 as part of his Force Majeure world tour.

In honor of his upcoming PDX appearances, we’ve been glancing back at some of Izzard’s most memorable tours—with his delightfully madcap, multi-accented, stream-of-consciousness riffs—and the looks that accompanied them.

1993:  Live at the Ambassadors

Izzard made his big-time standup debut at the Ambassadors Theatre in London in the early nineties. Arguably the most visually plain of his performances, this early set did little to anticipate Izzard’s later aesthetic choices: he wore basic jeans and a suit jacket, a la disheveled English gentleman on a casual day at work, although some subtle red nail polish gave a sneak preview of what was to come. Bonus: Jesus in flipflops joke. 

1995: Definite Article

Although some Izzard fans argue that this show lacked the political commentary that would work its way into the comedian’s later standup, the Definite Article tour certainly represented a huge step forward in terms of Izzard’s sartorial expression, with the comedian performing in a velvety red Gaultier jacket, tight leather pants and burgundy lipstick. Plus those earrings. Way to accessorize, Eddie! Bonus: Pavlov's cats joke. 

1999: Dress to Kill

The show that put Izzard firmly on the U.S. radar, Dress to Kill saw Izzard appearing in a blue Chinese-style wraparound shirt, heavily-shadowed eyes, and dark lips. It was also the show in which he famously referred to himself as an “executive transvestite. ” Bonus: "Je suis un travesti executif!"

2003: Sexie

An interview with Izzard in The Telegraph described Izzard’s appearance during his Sexie tour as “slightly bondage-y.” It certainly showed off Izzard’s self-described "girly" side: he performed in a chesty red bustier, fishnet tights, and thigh-high boots, with a set design that mimicked the appearance of lace. Bonus: Izzard explains the Doppler effect. With guest appearance from Pavlov (again!).

2009: Stripped

The Stripped tour continued Izzard’s characteristically absurdist, stream-of-consciousness comedic style, but the bustier was gone: as the title suggests, the tour’s aesthetic was distinctly minimalist, with Izzard appearing in a blazer and jeans, though a hint of eyeliner remained. Bonus: His riff on editing the bible.

2013-2015: Force Majeure

These days, Izzard’s sporting a more understated aesthetic, appearing throughout the worldwide Force Majeure tour (now in its third year) in a simple dinner jacket—more than anything, the tour’s aesthetic is reminiscent of a ‘60s spy movie.  Bonus jokes? We're giving nothing away. Your're going to have to catch them live at the Keller.

 Eddie Izzard plays Portland's Keller Auditorium on June 27 and 28.

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