12 Oct 2014

‘I want to address the alienation and despair’

Interview in The Guardian, Simon Hattenstone, Saturday 11 October 2014

Last year, Russell Brand caused another to-do. This time he wasn’t playing nasty jokes on Andrew Sachs, or boasting about the millions of people he’d slept with; he wasn’t calling George Bush a “retard”, or giving a Nazi salute at the GQ awards, or turning up to work dressed as Osama bin Laden (as he did the day after 9/11), or stripping naked to cover the May Day protest for MTV. No, this time he simply made a political statement.

Brand was asked to guest-edit the New Statesman, and chose revolution as his theme. He agreed “because it was a beautiful woman asking me”, associate editor Jemima Khan – not the most revolutionary reasoning. He then admitted he had never voted and encouraged others not to, in order to nobble the establishment. A few weeks later, he was grilled on Newsnight by Jeremy Paxman: who was he to advocate revolution, a here-today, gone-tomorrow comedian, an apathetic whinger who couldn’t even be arsed to exercise his democratic right, a “very trivial man” who believed in nothing?

One year on, Brand has got his answer. Now, his revolution isn’t just a throwaway comment. It’s a new book, a slogan on his necklace and, he believes, a real possibility. The book is a classic Brand potpourri: brilliant and infuriating, part travelogue, memoir, rant, riff, a call to arms and, ultimately, to love. It is not as readable or funny as his two Booky Wooks; more stream-of-consciousness tract. In short, he argues that the planet is being destroyed, the poor are being shafted, the rich are getting richer and he has had enough.

Continue reading on The Guardian website


24 Apr 2012

Russell at the Home Affairs Select Committee

Earlier today Russell testified to the Home Affairs Select Committee who are currently conducting a review of UK government drugs strategy.

He shared his belief in the merits of abstinence-based recovery programmes and the compassionate treatment of addiction as an illness rather than a crime.

You can watch the entire session courtesy of Parliament TV

Learn more about the brilliant work of Focus 12 here

16 Jan 2012

Russell launches new TV show by calling U.S. Presidential Election ‘A Meaningless Spectacle’

Yesterday, Russell promoted his new late-night TV show, Strangely Uplifting.

The Hollywood Reporter chronicled what transpired at the gathering of the Television Critics Association

“TCA: British Comedian Russell Brand Calls U.S. Presidential Election ‘A Meaningless Spectacle’
“I don’t see myself as a malevolent jester attacking people who are already disenfranchised,” said Brand. “All I want is to make people feel better than they do now.”
2:28 PM PST 1/15/2012 by Marisa Guthrie

Russell Brand closed winter TCA with a side-splitting, blasphemous and deliciously crude question-and-answer session to promote his new late-night program, Strangely Uplifting. Set to bow in April on FX, details on the format are still a little vague – it will be part standup, part topical humor with an element of audience participation. FX has ordered an initial six installments of the program. But if Brand’s TCA session is any indication, it has the potential to be a barnburner.
Following are highlights from Brand’s session:
U.S. politics provided copious fodder for the British brand. Asked if his show would examine the 2012 president election, Brand allowed that the current crop of GOP contenders are “an interesting bunch. I don’t know much about them. But that could be a good thing.”
On Mitt Romney’s vast wealth: “Other billionaires must seem like Dickensian street urchins eating gruel with fingerless gloves.”
On the presidential race in general: “We know it’s meaningless who the president is. Don’t we? So I’m not going to be part of the meaningless spectacle. It’s like describing individual termites. The only legitimate distinction in global politics, I think, is: are you rich or poor?”
On former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum’s name: “[His] surname rhymes with sanitarium.”
On former Speaker Newt Gingrich’s name: “ludicrous, amphibious, bizarre.”
On U.S. Marines videotaped urinating on Afghan corpses: “It’s bad to wee on a dead body, but it’s worse to kill someone! A lot of people consider the old golden shower elitist.”
On Gingrich’s TV spot skewering Romney for speaking French: “Like that makes him elitist and a bit of a whoopsy. It’s so extraordinary that someone would be criticized for [speaking another language].”
On whether his show will traffic in the gossip of the moment, even if it involves him: “At the risk of plunging myself into a post-modern, self-referential vortex, I could analyze myself. If I’d done something actually newsworthy, then I’d cover it.”
On his goals as a comedian: “I don’t see myself or my role as a malevolent jester attacking people who are already disenfranchised. All I want is to make people feel better than they do now. All I want is to make people laugh. My goal is to acknowledge that within each of us is a divine and beautiful light.”
On the culture at large: “I consider contemporary culture to be a pink pony trotting through the world shitting glitter. They’re filling our minds with shit glitter!”

Read the original article here

16 Dec 2010

Russell in the New Statesman

Grab hold of a copy of the New Statesman’s Christmas Edition to read Russell’s article on Wikileaks – it’s a good ‘un and also a great magazine

12 Oct 2010

Live: Watch Russell’s New York Times Talk

Here is an clip from the live interview. Check the New York Times website for more

06 Apr 2010

The unstoppable rise of Russell Brand

When Russell Brand was 16, he inscribed a school-leaving card to his first girlfriend. “You might be as famous as me one day,” he wrote. “If so, see you at the top.” There was no “might”, not from the very beginning, about how famous Russell Brand expected to be.

But the rest of us might have been forgiven for thinking the game was up for Brand after the 2008 incident when, egged on by Jonathan Ross, he prank-called the elderly actor Andrew Sachs to boast he had slept with his granddaughter. The incident cost him his show on Radio 2 and turned much of the UK media against him. Yet, a year-and-a-half on from “Sachsgate”, while Ross’s star is falling, Brand has become a transatlantically famous name.

Having been eagerly photographed waltzing up the red carpet into Vanity Fair’s post-Oscars party with pop star fiancee Katy Perry, Brand now has six feature films either in development or post-production. A sequel to his bestselling autobiography, My Bookie Wook, is under contract with a new publisher, and Oliver Stone – who has said that Brand reminds him of Jim Morrison – is reported to be executive-producing a documentary about him. Less than two years after many were predicting the end of his career, this spindleshanked loon in women’s trousers looks set to take over the world. How, it’s fair to wonder, did this come about?

Read the full article HERE.

29 Mar 2010

‘The squad has turned into a Caligulan sex fiasco’

By Russell Brand, 28/03/2010
LIKE most people, when I pop to the lavvy during a football match something important happens.

I missed Gazza’s yellow card against Germany in 1990 because I was in the loo.

Michael Owen’s goal against Argentina in 98 – I was unwell that year and by the time Beckham scored a penalty against Argentina in 2002 I had quite a serious drug problem and never really left the toilet.

So now that I’ve been away from home for a few months, living with my future wife and squinting at football on the internet, I shouldn’t be surprised that the National game has gone berserk.

Oddly, I suspect that my absence has been an influence, in fact I feel like that bloke in Gremlins who entrusted the lad with the Mogwai with very simple, if mysterious, instructions only for bedlam to be unleashed when they were ignored.

Not that I offered the FA or the Premiership any guidelines before I departed. I didn’t say for example “Keep Wayne Bridge’s ex missus well away from Stamford Bridge” or “You might wanna confiscate Ashley Cole’s phone” or “Don’t feed Peter Crouch after midnight.” But after all the chaos that’s ensued I wish I had.

Not that Crouch has done anything weird yet, but I’ve a hunch that he is going to self subdivide into a tribe of malevolent Goblins and wreak havoc on a small American town any minute now.

Which in my view would be no more peculiar than Manchester City’s Roberto Mancini’s preppy sideline assault on grizzled Everton boss Davis Moyes. In history few men with great hair have been decent fighters and Mancini’s glorious silver summit looks like it could manage City without him and still find time to pick up chicks on it’s Vespa at the Trevi fountain. David Moyes on the other hand, comports himself as if he’s always on the precipice of nutting someone.

If I was gonna kick off against a premiership manager it would not be Moyes – he looks like a biter, plus he’s Iggy Pop wiry and them fellas can normally pummel ribs with whippety abandon.

I suppose Mancini, who along with Arsene Wenger, has too many letters of the side he manages in his name, is new to British football and probably hasn’t sized up who it’s wise to have a crack at yet, like a new kid at school trying to make a rep for himself. Yes, I was once that new kid and foolishly elected to establish myself by “offering out” Jeff Dawkins, who it transpired, was a man-child warlord for whom fighting was a kind of hobby, like Subbuteo but without being able to glue the broken legs back together. Mancini also ought to have considered removing his scarf before embarking on his boffin squabble, which I notice he’d tied in a Brit-Pop Chris Evans style, resembling a prefect afraid to leave Sixth Form and thus loitering in quads into his late forties.

Wenger with his intellectual continental airs and graces (by which I mean glasses) would actually be a more befitting opponent if Mancini does want a row, unless he’s one of those blokes who looks a bit nerdy but then is surprisingly good at martial arts – like Spiderman.

What is more surprising than the fracas itself (and my presumed ability to induce the absurd bout by being in America) is the ridiculous punishment meted out by the officials at the match. “Gentleman! Stop fighting! You’re grown men and you’re behaving like schoolboys! Now go and wait in the changing rooms. When you’re ready to apologise you can come back out and play.”

I bet Moyes gave Mancini a right kicking in the tunnel: that scarf wrenched tight around his perfumed neck till his face was as red as Moyes’ is when relaxed. And none of this would’ve happened if I’d been watching – just like Gazza’s yellow card.

I know it’s daft to believe in these superstitions: sods law (my Dad calls it c**ts law, he loves swearing), knocking on wood, and toilet rituals but how else are we to cope with the chaos in the world around us generally and football specifically?

My team, West Ham, on current evidence seem like they would benefit from crossed fingers and lucky charms even if that were in the form of some novelty breakfast cereal and severed arthritic digits as the Championship plummet has begun at an eerily inconvenient time.

New chairman David Sullivan wrote an open letter to Hammers fans on Wednesday morning in spite of admitting “not having slept.” Never write anything that can be broadly read when exhausted. I’m writing this while buzzing on coffee and morning glory, when I write things late at night, mostly love-letters, I’m always incredibly relieved to see them on my pillow in the morning if I don’t send them. They’re always desperate and tear-stained (or worse) and are better off in my possession than tormenting their intended recipient.

The best thing about getting married is that now I only have one person to write to and we live together: in the past there were a lot of people to correspond with – I had to resort to spamming. I suppose I could’ve done a Sullivan-style open letter “I was disgusted by last night’s performance against Wolves” is a direct quote from Sullivan’s rant and directly applicable to a scenario I became involved in after once getting locked up after hours in London Zoo. The letter doesn’t cover all of the indiscretions committed that drunken night though, I’ll have to learn sign language to apologise to that chimp. Again, thank God I’m getting married.

It seems marital and conjugal relationships are destined to have an impact on England’s success in the South African World Cup this summer. Which is a pity because it seemed that when I left the shores of Albion all was well with the forthcoming campaign. The moment my back was turned and I embraced a life of cherished monogamy the England squad became a Caligulan sex fiasco.

Flirty texts, affairs and spurned handshakes, that’s no way to lure back the Jules Rimet to Blighty. Jules Rimet actually sounds like the sort of kinky move that Wayne Bridge’s ex, Vanessa Perroncel might enact.

I for one hope that Wayne Bridge changes his mind and joins the squad. The World Cup is once every four years, during that cycle a half-decent Premiership player could go through nine marriages.

Sadly David Beckham won’t be playing at the tournament due to his Achilles injury.

It’s a bit ironic that his Achilles heel turned out to be his Achilles heel, we should’ve seen that coming. That’s like discovering that Chernobyl was caused by someone literally throwing a spanner in the works.

I don’t know if Beckham should accept FIFA’s offer to “Play some part in the opening ceremony”. The opening ceremony is always rubbish, usually some combination of releasing balloons, spelling out words by getting people to hold bits of coloured paper above their heads or worst of all “Majorettes”. I can’t see David Beckham wanting to be involved in that: “David would you mind holding this purple card above your head? It dots the I in the ‘Kick Racism Out Of Soccer’ sign. No? Well could you twirl this baton? What do you mean you’ll drop your crutches?”

If something interesting does happen you can rest assured that I’ll miss it, although now that I’m a “fiancé” and happily engaged if I’m in the loo it won’t be for a fix or a threesome, I’ll be checking that I put the seat down.

If I wipe it as well and maybe arrange a little dish of Potpourri it might buy us enough time for England to win the World Cup.

Read the original article here

01 Feb 2010

video: Vanity Fair shoot March 2009

This vid from the photo shoot for Vanity Fair in March 2009 is well worth another viewing.
And here’s a trivia question for you – Both Charlie Chaplin and Russell were ‘discovered’ performing at which London theatre?