Comedian Eddie Izzard — who rose to worldwide fame as a transvestite comedian in the mid 1990s before embarking on a career in TV and film — has decided to run for mayor of London in the year 2020. While the initial response has been fantastic, the date seems very far off: this is largely in part due to the fact that the current 2016 Labor Party roster is reportedly already crowded with candidates, including British MPs Tessa Jowell, Sadiq Khan and David Lammy.
Izzard reportedly wants to finish his current projects before embarking on a career in politics. He has expressed interest in the political world before, hinting at an Apple store event in 2010 that he was considering, at the time, “having a go” at politics.
Izzard started out as a struggling street performer in the late 1980s before finding his footing as a (still struggling) comedian in the early 1990s. He parlayed his stream-of-consciousness style of delivery into several London stage shows, which transformed him from an oddity into a kind of comedic rock star. With his penchant for wearing makeup and occasionally fake breasts on stage without so much as batting an eyelid to what people might think, he became an unstoppable force in the world of comedy for much of the late ’90s and early 2000s. He soon found a modicum of fame stateside in movies and television, starring alongside Brad Pitt and George Clooney in the “Oceans” trilogy, and portraying Charlie Chaplin in the cult hit “The Cat’s Meow.”
Even though his rock-star-of-comedy days may be behind him, Izzard continues to wear makeup and nail polish even to political galas. It’s refreshing to see someone so open with who they truly are sitting alongside party leaders and other, shall we say, more compromised persons.
British MP Tessa Jowell was quoted as saying, “Eddie is a man of enormous substance, generosity and conviction. His decision to do this is a vote of confidence in Labour,” while current Labor Leader Ed Miliband has said to London’s Evening Standard that Izzard was his preferred candidate. Indeed; what Izzard offers most is leagues of fans that number in the hundreds of thousands and an already identifiable personality, not to mention the already impossible task of name brand recognition.
Current Mayor of London Boris Johnson is enough of a lovable, bumbling (yet deceptively intelligent) fool that he became somewhat of a visible attraction himself during the London 2012 Olympics, paving the way for a more outgoing and — dare we say it — American-style mayorship in London. If British voters — in 7 years time, mind you — can get past the makeup and the nails on a man — and I think they will — England might be in a position to do something pretty incredible in opening up the transvestite and transgender communities to politics at large.
Izzard’s decision to run for political office may open up politics to a whole swath of people who weren’t interested in it before. It’ll be interesting to see what happens in seven years’ time.