Recording information: Shaftesbury Theatre, London, England (12/16/1995); The Shaftesbury Theatre, London, England (12/16/1995).
Briefly available on CD upon its 1996 release but not widely distributed until Anti Records reissued all of Eddie Izzard's early albums in 2004, Definite Article is the second of Izzard's mid-'90s run of stand-up showcases. A huge creative leap forward from 1994's much more conventional Unrepeatable, Definite Article was recorded in December 1995 on the last night of a ten-week stand at London's Shaftesbury Theater. (The first several minutes, in fact, are a hilarious routine about how difficult it is to locate the theater.) Coming as it does at the end of a long run of doing the same material, Definite Article features Izzard being so comfortable with the material that he's largely dispensed with his usual linking material and just sort of rambles back and forth between routines. Unlike comedians like Robin Williams and Billy Connolly, whose routines were primarily improvised, Izzard is working from a script, which means that although the album's central long routine -- 20 hilarious minutes about supermarkets -- is broken up by digressions about Hitler's vegetarianism and the Queen Mum's hip replacement surgeries, he always returns to his main themes, making Definite Article a meandering but quite often hilarious journey. ~ Stewart Mason