The Russell Brand Complex

I find Russell Brand impossible not to like. He is a local lad, from Grays, which is just up the road from where I was born. He has had his share of issues and certainly comes across as a flamboyant extrovert. Yet he is intelligent and articulate and often what he says is rather deep and thought provoking. Recently he has written a number of newspaper articles, some of them have been fairly bland (if not Brand), but some have been very interesting.

I guess he offends many people, and you might be surprised that I'm not among those who are critical of Russell, but I have to be honest, I think he's mostly, very funny, also very interesting. He's a bit like a wise, fascinated child, who is into everything. He has obviously read a fair bit and he has a beautiful mind for connecting up lots of ideas. I find that for the most part rather charming.

On Monday, Russell was invited to appear on MSNBC's Morning Joe programme, ostensibly to talk about his controversial world comedy tour Messiah Complex.

What's great about this clip is how clearly nervous of him everyone is. Brash, irreverent, but also relaxed, calm and confident, Brand takes control of the situation, lecturing them about how the media distracts from real news by obsessing about superficial distractions. This insight is so apposite, the others seem completely lost for words. He almost immediately wrong foots host Mika Brzezinski by describing his tour as an exploration of how Malcolm X, Gandhi, Che Guevara and Jesus Christ
"are significant culturally and how icons are appropriated and used to designate consciousness and meaning....they're all people that died for a cause, they're all people whose icons are used to designate meaning, perhaps not in the manner in which they intended."
There is visible discomfort when Brand suggests that mass media was an operation in changing information "so it suits a particular agenda" and that viewers were being manipulated. Unfortunately, instead of addressing Brand's point, the anchors instead witter on about the comedian's accent and his clothing.

At about the 5:30 mark, Brand decides he's had enough of these stuttery, inept anchors and seizes control of the show, demonstrating to the "journalists" how professionals conduct interviews and deliver news.

Of course, Russell Brand being Russell Brand, he would likely be remiss if he didn't at least once during the program call Brzezinski a "shaft grasper" and advise her to "lose the [wedding] ring." Personally, this is the only thing that constantly disappoints me about him--his need to revert to smutty innuendo. Ultimately, he is brighter than that, and doesn't need it to be funny.

What do you think? Is Brand a comedy genius or just a clown who's read the dictionary a few times? Were the anchors rude to Brand by referring to him in the third person? Or are we all being manipulated? I mean look at the tag line-- "RUSSELL BRAND TAKES OVER DOMINATING THE MJ SET" have we just been set up to improve ratings?


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