Russell Brand is suddenly all over the place at once to promote the second season of his “BrandX” show, which premieres on Friday on FX. Since I’m a bit of a Russell junkie (an odd choice of words, I realize), I tried the show out for size, and it was passable but not something that I’d catch every week. Essentially, it’s a very topical program that probably won’t hold much relevance over time because Russell’s basing the episodes largely on current events; but Russell is quite charming, gives decent stand-up intros during each show, and interacts quite lustily with his audience members. It will be interesting to see how long the show will last, and I am happy that Rusty is finally finding a niche in Hollywood beyond Judd Apatow films. Because, you know, Apatow won’t be around forever.
In the interest of promotion, Russell hit Howard Stern’s show (here’s a video clip), and of course, Howard brought up the short-lived marriage to Katy Perry (because that’s what Howard does) by saying “I knew you’d never stay married.” Then Stern asked what Russell thought of Katy dating John Mayer: “Doesn’t she know that he’s a worse womanizer than you?” Russell’s response? “Worse or better, depending on how you view it,” and then Stern countered with “He’s a better womanizer, then.” Naturally, Rusty took it all in stride with a “Hold on, I resent that! I’m world class!” Then Russell admitted that he’s not dating anyone right now, and he took great care to deny the supposed rumors that he’s been banging Demi Moore. Wait … there were rumors?
Russell also stopped by Jimmy Fallon’s show, and in doing so, he hit on fellow guest Katherine McPhee by making her sit on his lap. She handled his advances quite well, but Russell eventually relented and moved over to the next seat with a sly, “I’ll just be here…with my sexual charisma.” A few moments later, Katherine made a pointed mention of her husband, and then Rusty good-naturedly made a show of leaving the stage to avoid future ill-advised flirtation. I am almost certain this was planned beforehand for Rusty to poke fun at his own reputation, but here’s the video in case you want to judge for yourself:
In addition to the jovial business referenced above, Russell is gearing up to host a Comic Relief special (at Wembley Arena in March) to raise awareness and money for addiction treatment. We’ve already heard a lot from Russell on his beliefs concerning drug, alcohol, and other addictions when he eloquently testified in front of Parliament in an effort to classify addiction as a medical condition instead of mainly as a criminal offense. Russell believes that punishment does not deter addicts because it doesn’t treat the underlying psychological maladies, and he believes that methadone-type programs only serve as a crutch and replace one addiciton for another. In summation, Russell believes that addicts should be directed to abstinence-based programs if they are to have any hope for recovery. Given that Russell has now been clean for nine long years yet still admits he still fantasizes daily about doing drugs, it’s easy to understand why he believes it is a disease. Here are excerpts from his interview with the Guardian:
He thinks 1 in 10 are susceptible to addiction: “And if you have this condition, and I call it an illness, then drugs will address it really well, because they create a physical craving to accompany the psychological malady.” That doesn’t mean, he’s quick to clarify, that prohibition is the answer. “It’s not a moral or judgmental thing about drugs and alcohol; I don’t give a f–k if people drink or take drugs if they’ve got no drug or alcohol problem. But for those people who become a menace to society, and a pain in the arse to the people that love them, there is a solution. And that’s why I’m frustrated. ‘Cos the solution’s very, very obvious.”
He was tempted to destroy his career at the Olympics: “It’s kind of like a psychological vertigo — the knowledge that you can jump off an edge makes you want to do it a little bit. Like, what will happen to reality if I do that? Just in that moment, when I had that live mic in my hand, and I could say anything, and the knowledge that I could say anything to a billion viewers — and I think, oh my God, if I could do something like that, it would be almost just to watch the consequences — to see it all unfold. It interests me.”
It doesn’t matter what you think of him: “One of the things I’ve learned is not to live my life through others’ perspective on me, as it is irrelevant. My experience of being alive ain’t contingent — thank f–king God — on what people think of me. Now when you first get famous, there’s nothing more gratifying or exciting than reading that people like you. What one quickly — or in my case slowly — learns is that it’s irrelevant what other people think of you. It’s none of your business. Now of course I require a certain number of people to like me for my livelihood. But I’m beyond the point where I need to do a head count. All I care about now is having an intrinsic relationship with what I do, as a performer, that’s legitimate and real and authentic.”
He’s not being ironic about it either: “It’s not like I don’t care, in some super aloof cool way. It’s the same reason why I don’t go to nightclubs. Not because,” and he adopts a comic posh drawl, “‘Oh maa-an, this is so trash.’ No, because I know what it will do to me, I know what it will awaken in me and stir up. So I don’t look at newspapers no more. We’ve only got a short time here and I can spend my time stimulating my mind however I want. I can read whatever I want. I ain’t ever reading another copy of the Sun until I’ve read the complete works of Goethe.”
When Brand speaks of being tempted to self-sabotage his career while performing “I Am the Walrus” at the Olympic closing ceremony, I totally believe him. In fact, I was actually wondering if he was struggling with the urge to execute some well-timed pelvic thrusts while he stood atop that psychedelic van. Perhaps Brand can relive the moment and post the results on YouTube one day. I’d certainly watch.
Photos courtesy of WENN