Something changed for his Force Majeure tour, or perhaps I've become more sensitive to criticism of religion since making an honest effort to resume my faith journey last year. Religion has long been a part of Izzard's routines, but his bits about the Bible needing an editor and the Holy Ghost running around with a sheet over his head—sacrilegious as they may be—are (arguably) still funny to a person of faith because the humor isn't presented as an affront. Through silly scrutiny, Izzard invites the audience to see the world the way he does, and they don't have to agree with him to enjoy riding those trains of thought. Suddenly, he's peppering his jokes with "...because there is no God," as though the audience should already have boarded that train of thought. Without any real lead-in, he fires off a few clever zingers at the oft-derided Tea Party, takes a few unkind jabs at conservatives in general, and continues jabbing unapologetically off and on for the duration of the show, almost like he's got a chip on his shoulder. I can understand tailoring your performance to better suit your audience, but this felt less like playing to the crowd and more like letting frustrations from his personal life spill over into his act.
That's not to say the show wasn't funny. The performance was more consistently entertaining than a couple of the ones I've seen, I had some wonderful belly laughs, and my wife and I brought home some new favorite Eddie Izzard quotes. But that uncharacteristic emphasis on criticizing religion and politics—not simply making light of certain aspects of the subjects—had the same effect on the show that raspberry sauce has on a chocolate lava cake: some people might like it, but for me, it spoils the enjoyment and seeps into the heart of the experience even after you've scraped it off.
What bothers me most is how he seemed to associate intelligence and open-mindedness with atheism and liberalism. He expressed that we were clearly an educated, unbiased audience to have paid money to hear a foreign cross-dresser crack wise about such erudite subjects as Buddhist monks and European history. Then he proceeded to rag on conservatives and belief in the divine, even during the bits that had nothing to do with them, because he saw it got a reaction from the audience. So the implication was that we, the audience, appreciated liberal, atheist speech because we were intelligent and open-minded. Maybe I'm reading too far into this, but that's definitely how it came across to me.
I'll reiterate that I'm a political moderate (though largely apolitical) and a Christian who's had plenty of exposure to a wide variety of belief systems. Ignorance and pigheadedness are neither exclusive nor inherent to conservatives and believers. Rejecting conservatism doesn't make you open-minded; it makes you liberal. Rejecting faith doesn't make you intelligent; it makes you an atheist. It's how you go about reaching your conclusions that determines whether you're open-minded and intelligent. Can you be open-minded, intelligent, and openly opinionated? Sure. But it's hard to listen to you if your opinions come across as facts that need no support, especially if those opinions hurt or disappoint the intelligent, open-minded people who came to listen to you despite their differences.