Eddie Izzard, comedy genius.
Be aware: Some strong language
Action Transvestite, serial marathon runner, funniest man on the planet?
I've been a huge fan of Eddie Izzard's offbeat humour since I was a child. He's one of the few comedians who regularly make me laugh - and whose jokes I can still remember ten years later; drilling cats, chickens driving range rovers, Noah's failed speedboat plans, old ladies - with cake hats - using their hopscotch skills to cheat the Grim Reaper, dinosaurs arguing with Jesus, and of course, "Cake or Death?"
Izzard's appeal comes from his anarchic, conversational style, and the fact that he makes up most of his routine as he goes along. He laughs at his own jokes, goes off on wild tangents, heckles the audience, and if a joke falls flat he simply glosses over it and carries on regardless. He goes on in French randomly, throws in impersonations of Sean Connery and James Mason - as well as his old teacher Mrs Badcrumble, whom none of the audience has ever heard of. He doesn't seem to care, as long as he's making people laugh.
I take my hat off to anyone who can make up sketches about Darth Vader arguing with the Death Star canteen staff, or beekeepers trying to flirt - unsuccessfully - with passing pedestrians, or possible non-lethal Star Trek phaser settings below "Kill" and "Stun"...
Serial marathon runner?
So... Yes. Eddie ran not just one marathon for the charity Sport Relief, but a total of 43 marathons in the space of 51 days. Perhaps uncharacteristically, he wasn't wearing heels.
There was a great deal of media hype, certainly in England, at the time - how could an untrained, relatively unfit 47-year-old perform such an amazing feat? He complained about "blisters on blisters," but hasn't seemed to suffer any long-term ill effects, and is planning to keep on running in the future.
How's that for human endurance, David Blaine?
Of course, he wasn't the first comedian to attempt grand sporting feats for charity: David Walliams swam the English Channel in 2006, and the Gibraltar Strait in 2008.