Contemplating Eddie Izzard is an invitation to think globally. The English actor and comic was born in what was once called Aden – now Yemen – and lived in Northern Ireland and Wales before launching a career that has embraced busking through Europe, London stages, American television and international renown for film appearances and comedy concerts.
This week, Izzard brings the second leg of his two-year world comedy tour “Force Majeure” though the Bay Area; he’s been performing the show since 2013 and even created French and German versions as part of a World War II anniversary tribute. (Shows here will be in English.)
“I actually did a two-hour Q&A interview at the end of my two months in Berlin,” he says, adding emphatically, “in German! It was a point of confidence. It was kind of amazing what you could do at an extreme speed.”
Though the show’s title is frequently interpreted as divine intervention, Izzard, an atheist, says he was not making a religious reference with “Force Majeure.”
“It actually came up from my manager-agent in Hollywood,” he says. “I was looking for a French title that would also mean something in English. It means ‘major force’ – force of nature, really. If you believe in God, it means ‘act of God.’ In contracts, it is used for, ‘If some huge thing happens, guys, then all bets are off.’ So I was using it as something that existed in the English culture and in American culture.”
“I think we all actually have to be our own forces of nature,” he continues. “I think life has to be seen as an adventure. If you see it as a gift to you – that it will be really easy and you can just walk through it – then it won’t work.”
That self-directed stance is one part of his atheism: “I was agnostic for ages, but I realized that being agnostic is like a political position that thinking people take in case there is an end of days. If God does turn up, you can say, ‘Hey, I was never sure. Now that you’re here, I’m sure that you’re right.’’
“I decided, ‘OK. Stuff it. The guy, the woman, the ham sandwich, the whatever, no god of any religion has ever turned up in front of CNN or BCC or Fox News and said, ‘I am here. I’m God and I made this whole thing, except for the Tea Party, who are crazy.’”
IF YOU GO
Where: Golden Gate Theatre, 1 Taylor St., S.F.
When: 8 p.m. June 18-20
Tickets: $61 to $94
Contact: (888) 746-1799, www.shnsf.com
Note: Izzard also appears at 8 p.m. June 22-23 in San Jose; visit www.ticketmaster.com.