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It’s a (literally) vintage Izzard show, covering the ascent of man, why he doesn’t believe in God, the different mentality of the PC and the Apple Mac, the impossibility of Noah’s Ark (if it were real, for one thing, all the animals would be dead except for the lions and the tigers), a giraffe signalling lion-danger through charades and a cough, and a jazz-crowing cockerel.There are nods to the French (s’il vous plaît, no more holes in the ground for WCs, they make it hard to balance your i Pad, for one thing – and how come there’s no broccoli, just endless haricots verts?
We had met back in London, a couple of weeks earlier, where our conversation was not unlike one of his shows; indeed, on the odd occasion, the interview was the show, albeit with an audience of one, in that he was trying out new material on me.
His 5ft 7in frame looked stockier then - in fact, with his big square face, he looked like a giant toddler. Indeed, the day of Lord Levy's arrest, earlier this month, coincided with the publication of an advertisement in which prominent people declared their pride in contributing to Labour party funds - and Izzard was the most prominent. Where were all those luvvies, rock stars and captains of industry who had jumped on the New Labour bandwagon in 1997? Last autumn, in a double act with Neil Kinnock, he spoke about his vision for a federalist Europe at a fringe meeting of the Labour party conference.
Today, he is leaner, more sculpted, wearing a navy-blue suit, open-neck shirt and a goatee. A few weeks ago, he accompanied Tony Blair to Brussels to record a podcast for the Downing Street website. As Churchill said, as a sitting MP your job is just to support the government. There are plenty of other people rocking the boat at the moment.' He leans forward and knits his fingers together.
He also claimed that he knew his transvestism had nothing to do with his mother, that it pre-dated her death. 'I get that from my dad.'But he does need therapy, doesn't he?
'Actually, I did see a therapist recently to talk about my mum dying, because I've never talked about that properly.
Also, I wanted to talk about being a transvestite because I've never really talked that through. I want to meet the top expert on transgender and find out what the current thinking is, because I don't think I will agree. We could do it every nine years until we are on Zimmer frames.' The Big Short, the film adaptation of Michael Lewis' book of the same name about the causes of the financial crisis, opens in UK cinemas this weekend.
At college I went to the doctor and asked if he would arrange for me to see a psychiatrist, but I was never given an appointment. They keep talking about gender dysphasia, but that means confusion, and I'm not confused. I thought you were supposed to have been decommissioned." If we had anything else that lay idle for years and then one day decided to blow itself up we wouldn't tolerate it. I do still get into fights in America, verbal fights. It's a little bit weird, but the alternative is to live my life ushered from cars to planes to hotels.'His answer makes you suspect that his transvestism can't just be about skirts and make-up, because that would be too trivial, hardly worth the stress of coming out. How will the story stack up against the greatest films about business?I know what I am.'He's wearing a suit and no make-up today; is that because he woke up in a blokey mood this morning? Like all straight transvestites, I know my military history. That just sits there for 20 years doing nothing, then one day decides to blow up. We would write letters to our MPs.'Laughter is always just below the surface with Izzard. He is quite subtle in the way he wears make-up, I suggest, but why are some men so obvious about it? Europe has been a place of battles and political intrigue for centuries.'I am in boy mode at the moment and have been for two or three years. I just have an extra girl bit, which is the heels and skirts and make-up.' Certainly, he is not effeminate and he doesn't want a sex-change operation. Just when you think he is taking you, and himself, seriously he will wrong-foot you. 'Like a bloke puts on make-up and heels and goes out looking for a fight.' Izzard won and the gang were fined. Is it that in applying make-up in a crude way they are trying to be caricatures of femininity? As we approach a vote on the UK's membership of the European Union, we look at what 50 writers, actors, historians, artists and comedians have said about Europe and its nations.Besides, it would confuse things because I like girls.'There is something that has always puzzled me about transvestites, I say. It is, after all, quite arbitrary historically that women ended up wearing them, not men. It's like, what would transvestites in caveman times wear? I do know that all foetuses start as girls and then some change into boys. The other six just aren't out there and waving.'There is also an early stage in gestation when we have scales, I note. As soon as they leave the house, they hoick up their skirts and put on more make-up.' As a straight transvestite, has he acquired his look through the advice of girlfriends? 'Yes, I tend to keep everything in, like my dad did when my mother died, keep everything going. No good at that.'But surely when you are famous - and famous for having a loveable comedy persona - all the hard work has already been done? I wouldn't even start flirting with them.' His assistant walks in to tell him it is time for his next appointment. In ancient Greece and Rome it was men who wore them. Why do transvestites talk about needing to wear them almost as a biological imperative? And the penis and the clitoris are essentially the same thing. 'Yeeeah,' he rolls the word out, fluffing up the vowels. They wouldn't get a project green-lit by being seen out with me … I do try to be open about everything else in my life.'Is he difficult to live with? Maybe I over-think things because I'm constantly planning in a military way how to keep clicking forward. Apropos of nothing, he says he wants to leave me with a final thought. He was sent to an English boarding school where he cried up to the age of 11.