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Eddie Izzard would have to be the funniest transvestite comedian I know. Granted, he’s practically the only transvestite comedian I know, but that doesn’t make him any less funny, if you know what I mean. Looking smashing in a dark outfit and a lovely pair of high heels, Izzard takes the stage in San Francisco for his show, entitled Dress To Kill.

The Show
Before we actually get to see Eddie in all his/her (they’re still a he, right?) glory, a short pre-credit skit begins with him as the narrator. Harking back to the sharp wit of Monty Python, Izzard provides a commentary over the top of a series of images surrounding a harmless tourist tram trip to Alcatraz. He manages to twist things around to involve a much more sinister plot, including undercover agents and an out of control tram driver.

Eddie Izzard: Dress To Kill
Before long, however, we see Eddie dressed rather unusually, or plainly I suppose if you’re a transvestite. The stage is where it all happens for the rest of the disc. Thankfully his comedy routine doesn’t surround his lifestyle choice all that much, and in fact it’s quite amusing on the rare occasions he pokes fun at himself and other like-minded souls during the gig. What he does touch on is a broad range of topics including his thoughts on Adolf Hitler and other historical times and figures. Most of these are incredibly funny even though it’s a struggle for Izzard to stay on track. You’ll see him reach the end of a story arc and pause while he remembers just where the hell the routine is headed, which ends up being rather endearing as opposed to an annoyance.

The heterosexual (yes, he explains this from the outset) Izzard is accomplished at merely poking fun at situations and people rather than hitting the audience with punchlines and set-ups. The way he intertwines some of the stories and keeps referring back to them is testament to the planning and refinement of the actual routine, while the content flows nicely with barely a moment to stop chuckling. Stand-up fans will appreciate his style (by that I mean comedic, not fashion) and the way things just seem to move along as if it were just off the top of his head. It’s far from being the re-watchable classic that something like Eddie Murphy’s Raw turned out to be but there’s definitely some great value in the routine for an easy watch.

There’s really very little more to detail about stand-up DVDs, though I’m pleased to be able to say that most viewers will get a laugh out of this one. Of course, you’d have to be a fan of stand-up as there’s nothing more to it than a bloke (albeit one wearing make-up) standing on stage talking for just under two hours, but the fact he’s in drag is never really the issue you have to deal with; it’s whether you find the material amusing enough. I can thankfully say that I think Izzard has it spot on.

Video
Someone forgot to change the back cover from the template, as it’s definitely not a 1.85:1 widescreen transfer. Instead we get a relatively impressive 1.33:1 full frame presentation that is more than sufficient for watching one “scene” for the duration. Sharpness is adequate and the colours of Izzards clothes combined with the set make for a visually appealing look to the whole production. No problems here, though I’m sure the visuals aren’t all that important for a genre like this one.

Eddie Izzard: Dress To Kill
Audio
Again, there’s little demand for a full 5.1 mix on stand-up discs so we’re given a pleasant 2.0 mix so we can hear Eddie babbling on clearly. It’s pleasing that there’s nothing at all wrong with the audio and even Izzard’s mumbled (and incredibly speedy, at times) words are never lost at all. Because this is a vanilla 2.0 track you won’t have anything coming out of the rears and you’re sub gets hopefully a well-earned night off. If you’re after anything more in the audio department you’ve come to the wrong place.

Extras
Surprisingly there’s a fair bit on offer for this release, making it one of the more extras-laden stand-up discs of recent times. First up is a commentary track, no doubt a strange addition considering the whole thrust of comedy routines is commentary anyway. Izzard’s obviously the participant, and his contribution is amusing as he comes to terms with watching himself on stage and adding some more information.

The next extra is entitled Dress To Circle, which is raw footage from his gig in Paris. He performs the whole thing in French without a hitch, so be sure to turn the subtitle track on unless you want a crash-course in France-speak. He’s incredibly fluent in the language, and I can’t imagine it would be an easy task performing comedy in a different tongue. This basically gives the disc a “two for the price of one” feel to it as the Paris performance runs for just under an hour. What is even more bizarre is that there’s a commentary track accompanying the gig, where Izzard covers some of the perils of performing for a foreign audience in their language (most of it is in English, though some of it is in French for demonstrative purposes). Highly entertaining on both counts.

Keeping on the rather odd feel to the extras section, the next piece is a photographic montage which pays tribute to Ken Burns. Basically just some monochromatic photos put to violin music, there’s very else to it even though the pictures themselves are particularly well shot.

Eddie Izzard: Dress To Kill
The last meaningful extra on the disc is a trivia track, which is the kind of thing you can really have on from the outset to add more weight to the first viewing. With this on you get to learn various other tidbits along the way, so it’s a neat addition which does no harm.

Rounding out the supplements is a weblink, but the other extras really do make this a worthwhile disc, especially considering you get an extra performance thrown in, albeit in a different language. Great stuff as far as stand-up discs go.

Overall
Budding transvestites unite! Here’s your hero, in the flesh and complete with glorious high heels. Those not into that sort of thing shouldn’t worry, as Izzard’s brand of comedy is pretty standard even though he’s dressed as a woman. You’ll get used to it and chuckle along for the duration, no doubt. Video and audio do the job adequately, while the extras provide some real value which one wouldn’t usually expect. Stand-up fans should pick this one up, others are encouraged to take a look anyway.


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