By Dave Mulligan
My wife, Wendy, and I attended a comedy show at the Silver Legacy over the weekend with another couple we greatly enjoy. Eddie Izzard is a brilliant British comedian, perhaps my favorite in the world. He brings a sophisticated, learned perspective to his observations and shares a history lesson in almost every story. He enjoys teasing his American audiences about our general lack of knowledge of geography and world history. Eddie Izzard is also a transvestite.
In case you’re not up on your definitions, a transvestite is generally a man who feels more comfortable wearing women’s clothes. Eddie almost always performs wearing heels and makeup, including lipstick of various colors. A transvestite may or may not be a homosexual, and, as Eddie explains when he describes his own preferences, he “fancies women.”
When he walked out under the lights on stage this weekend, it was the first time I’d seen him with breasts, clearly visible under his pantsuit jacket. Knowing this was a feature unfamiliar to his loyal fans, he even made reference to his new accessories and explained they were just inserts into his top, as opposed to surgical enhancements.
I’ll explain why I’m sharing these details. You see, Eddie’s choice of dress is something that I, and most audience members, don’t even notice after he gets into his comedy routine. He’s amazingly smart and funny and quite lovable. I bring it up because I became acutely aware that a man stood on stage here in northern Nevada in high heels, make up, and with boobs. I wondered if the conservative element here could be accepting of such behavior. While the audience howled with laughter repeatedly as the show went on, I noticed a few pairs of patrons getting up and leaving together. I even leaned to my right and whispered to Wendy, asking if she thought they were leaving because they showed up and discovered that the man on stage was wearing women’s clothes. She shrugged.
Just then, two men sitting directly in front of us stood up and walked out together. One wore a cowboy hat.
I whispered to Wendy again, “Oh crap, those cowboys are leaving because Eddie’s a transvestite. Maybe they didn’t know about him when they got tickets.” She shrugged again, then said, “I hope not.”
The show continued. Eddie was wonderful.
Perhaps five minutes later, the two men returned to their seats in front of us. They remained until the end of the show.
After the end of a lengthy standing ovation at the conclusion of the show, the lights came up and we all made our way to the aisles to make the slow walk out with the crowd. I found myself standing right next to the man in the cowboy hat, the one who’d walked out with his friend and then returned.
“How’d you like the show?” I asked him, cheerily.
“Oh, it was was great!” he said, enthusiastically. “I’ve loved Eddie for years and I brought my son because he’s never seen him. Now he’s a big fan, too.”
I was happy to learn that I’d been wrong. But I also felt a pang of guilt for having pre-judged a guy who turned out to be a very friendly gentleman. I don’t know if the several other folks I saw leave had done so for others reasons, but I was happy to discover that I was wrong about this one.
And I realized that I had been guilty of the very thing I’d suspected was wrong with others. Lesson learned.
Dave Mulligan is a local Reno resident of over 25 years. He is a published author (Mulligan’s Wake), television producer and a left-leaning political activist (Masses Unite). He lives happily on the Truckee River and is the married father of three (his most important role, according to Dave).