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Eddie Izzard: It’s time to make humanity great again

Like Churchill’s generation before us, we have been chosen to fight against the extreme right, comedian and activist Eddie Izzard told The Big Issue
Eddie Izzard appears on the cover of The Big Issue

As a mob in Make America Great Again hats stormed the US Capitol buildings, Eddie Izzard was doing her bit to bring some good back into the world.

Every day this month, she will run a full marathon followed by a live comedy show. The aim is not only to raise money for charity, but to unite people in the fight against the extreme right.

“Churchill’s generation was chosen by fate to fight against the extreme right. And our generation has been chosen again to fight against the extreme right. So that’s the way it’s going to be,” the comedian and activist said, in an interview for the cover feature in this week’s Big Issue.

“This is our fight. This is a fight for people, for our place, our continent, for our world. For humanity. The fight is now and so we have to step up to the plate.”

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Despite the events in Washington DC, Izzard said Trump’s electoral defeat was a positive sign for the future: “I feel a corner is turning, a tide is changing.”

Izzard’s latest charity challenge follows a series of previous feats of endurance. In 2009 Izzard ran 43 marathons in 51 days through the UK for Sport Relief. In 2016 she ran 27 marathons in 27 days across South Africa as a tribute to Nelson Mandela.

And last February she ran through 29 marathons through European capital cities over 29 days, in the first part of the Make Humanity Great Again mission.

Due to Covid restrictions, 2021’s challenge will be restricted to a treadmill in London, but all the marathons are being streamed live on her website.

“It’s a positive thing at a time that’s very negative. People are having a very tough time. And the money raised goes into charities that make humanity great,” added Izzard.

“So I think everyone will be positive about this, except the extreme right wing who will hate it.”

Izzard’s gender-fluidity has been a prominent feature of her 40-year career in comedy but she made headlines in December after using she/her pronouns instead of he/him on the Sky Arts programme Portrait Artist of the Year. She wanted “to be based in girl-mode from now on”, she said at the time.

Izzard expressed surprise at the resulting media attention, telling The Big Issue her feelings have not changed since she was a child.

“I’ve known I was trans since I was four or five. My feelings from the age of five have not moved an inch. Have not moved a centimetre, a millimetre even,” she said. 

“Thirty-five years ago, I came out. The rest is language. I went through such hell since ’85 that the idea that I’ve come out recently just sounds ridiculous.”

Read more from Eddie Izzard in this week’s edition of The Big Issue. Subscribe to get the magazine through the Big issue app, or to get the print edition through your door.

To follow Izzard’s marathon progress, buy tickets for the nightly streamed shows or donate to the charity appeal, see www.eddieizzard.com