Kathy Reviews Eddie Izzard and 'Good Joke/Bad Joke Bingo' 

click to enlarge Eddie Izzard. - PHOTO BY ASHLEIGH DESKINS
  • Eddie Izzard.
I’ll admit, my knowledge of Eddie Izzard’s comedy before he came to the Rochester Fringe Festival was limited. I had seen him in a few cameo roles in movies like "Ocean’s 12" and "Ocean's 13," and "Across the Universe," as well as a few late-night shows on which he was a guest. I knew he was funny. I just didn’t realize how funny.

On Friday evening, Izzard took to the stage in Kodak Hall at the Eastman Theater, clad in a crisply tailored black jacket and tight pants and black boots with a 3-inch heel. Performing for a sold-out crowd, Izzard paced back and forth across the stage, reciting a rapid-fire, stream-of-consciousness, whimsical and sometimes rambling monologue, spitting out jokes and characters with speed and incredible comic timing. The show, “Believe Me,” chronicles parts of his life; he touches on everything from his atheism to running 43 marathons in just as many days to meeting Nelson Mandela and Neil Armstrong minutes apart.

In between his asides about his life (which are silly and self-depreciating), he meanders off into joke after joke, hitting on evolution and what monkeys would say if they could talk, to dogs’ thought process behind barking at strangers (hint: there isn’t one) to Bat Giraffe and Bat Bat (you had to be there). The show ended on a surprisingly introspective note that brings the jokes full circle: “everything is random, like his act,” he tells us, with that classic wink and a nod that he knew what he was doing the whole time it seemed like he was just (hilariously) rambling on and on.

Friday was the only performance for “Eddie Izzard: Believe Me” for Rochester Fringe 2018. The show will continue its tour across the country. For more info, visit eddieizzard.com/en/shows.

Back for its second year at the Fringe, “Good Joke/Bad Joke Bingo" mixes comedy with your grandma’s favorite game for a refreshingly fun night cap. Shawn Wickens is the mastermind behind it all, and tells jokes and stories based on whatever Bingo ball gets drawn, so every show is different. It was a small, but energetic crowd for the 11 p.m. performance, which started with a charmingly witty warm-up act by Penny Sterling (who also performed her own show at Geva at the Fringe).

As Wickens admits at the beginning of the show: it could be good, it could be bad – it all depends on what jokes get pulled. While some jokes land – like his anecdote about gluttonously ordering cheesecakes in a “Golden Girls”-themed diner – others, including jokes about granny porn and death, are a bit of a dud. But Wickens moves on to the next Bingo ball and the next joke quickly, and waits for someone to yell “Bingo!” before handing over a (dollar store?) prize.

Friday was the only night “Good Joke/Bad Joke Bingo" was performed at Rochester Fringe 2018.

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