Russell Brand talks hookers, drugs & Bush in Playboy


Russell Brand is interviewed in Playboy’s “20 Questions” section for the June issue. He’s promoting Get Him To the Greek, which comes out sometime soon, I’ve just started seeing the ads for it on TV. I have to admit, now that I’ve read the full piece, Russell is very lovable. I wouldn’t let him within ten feet of my vadge, but I like to listen to him and read his interviews. He’s not brilliant, but he’s very funny and witty, and there are many priceless verbal gems thrown around in his normal conversation. The full piece is here, and here are the highlights – I included a large part of the interview, just because I did enjoy it so much:

PLAYBOY: You’ve starred in several stand-up comedy specials, you hosted the MTV Music Video Awards, and you’re appearing in your second Judd Apatow-produced movie this summer. Why aren’t you a household name yet?
BRAND: I haven’t been here long enough. Aside from the bits you just mentioned, I’ve spent most of the past few years in England. I’ve actually been focusing on becoming a household name in Russia and China, because that’s the future. I hope you enjoy this innocent era before your empire collapses.

PLAYBOY: In your memoir, My Booky Wook, you describe a childhood and early adulthood filled with heroin addiction, bulimia and sex with prostitutes. While you were living it, were you thinking, Oh man, this is going to make great fodder for comedy someday?
BRAND: I sort of did, yeah. I had enough foresight at the time to think, This is pretty horrible, but it’ll make for a good story. That was the only thing that made it tolerable, to have a bemused detachment about it. I think finding the humor in your life is sometimes the only thing that makes it bearable. You can contend with that sense of sadness by opposing it, by overwhelming it with comedy. It’s a useful method for navigating through sadness and misery.

PLAYBOY: Your father bought a prostitute for you during a trip to Hong Kong when you were just 16 years old. Was that experience terrifying or exhilarating?
BRAND: It wasn’t as irresponsible as it sounds. It was just the consequence of a night of drinking. I was in no way coerced. It was actually one of the most exciting things that ever happened to me. I can still recall everything about that night—the women in their high heels clinking across the floor and the smell of perfume and booze. I’ve had a strange attraction to prostitutes ever since. I just liked hanging out with them and talking to them. Prostitutes are some of the most fascinating women I’ve met in the world.

PLAYBOY: At least until recently you had a tremendous appetite for groupie sex. What are the reasons you wouldn’t sleep with a fan?
BRAND: It’s just aesthetics. When I was at my most promiscuous, I was like a charging locomotive. My selection process was outsourced. I had a team of experts who took care of finding women for me. They had very specific instructions. It was as if I was talking to a wine steward. “I’m looking for something French, a bit fruity, smells of oak.” [laughs] I’ve reached a point in my life where I understand empirically that this is not the answer. When you sleep with loads of women, it becomes a bit pointless and futile.

PLAYBOY: You went to rehab for sex addiction. Weren’t you just surrounded by nymphomaniacs?
BRAND: Not at all! The majority of people in sex rehab are just disgusting men. There aren’t hot blondes ripping off their clothes and saying, “I’m gorgeous, and I just can’t get enough c-ck!” It’s just sleazy men wanking off in dark corners. Let’s not shy away from it: They’re pedophiles. Pedophiles and perverts. I’m sorry if I burst your bubble and took some of the magic out of it, but you had to think about it for only 10 seconds. I was there for a month.

PLAYBOY: You’re engaged to pop singer Katy Perry of “I Kissed a Girl” fame, and you’ve talked about your relationship with her in your stand-up comedy. Does that mean she has free license to write songs about you?
BRAND: I don’t like to speculate on her creative process. That’s not my jurisdiction. God knows what she gets up to in that laboratory. I suppose if I talk about her a lot, it’s going to be odd if I decide at some point to go, “Listen, I changed my mind. This is private.” I’ll make jokes about it, but the rest of the time I try to keep my relationship with her close to the chest. It’s the first time in my life I’ve had something I’ve cared about this much and wanted to protect.

PLAYBOY: You’re starring in a new movie called Get Him to the Greek, in which you play a rock star who’s also a drug addict and a sex fiend. Aside from the rock star part, how is this character not based on you?
BRAND: Admittedly, we do have some similar characteristics. We have the same face, voice and body, for instance. We were both drug addicts, and as you pointed out, we both enjoy sex a great deal. But Aldous Snow, my character, is actually markedly different from me. While we were shooting the film, the director was constantly stopping me and saying, “No, no, no, not like that. Stop playing yourself.” I’m very verbose and fast; Aldous is much more cool and laconic.

PLAYBOY: You first portrayed Aldous Snow in the 2008 comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall, in which he is just a minor character. Are you ready for the pressures of being a leading man?
BRAND: Absolutely. To tell you the truth, once you’re in a film, you have to be on the set an awful lot regardless of how much you’re in the script. I’d much rather be acting than sitting around in my trailer, thinking of new ways to masturbate.

PLAYBOY: This is your second movie playing the same character. Would you mind if Aldous Snow becomes more famous than you?
BRAND: If that happens I’ll destroy him. [laughs] Honestly, no, I’d be fine with that. My ego is big enough to compete with an alter ego. I actually like the idea. I can just pin all my bad behavior and poor decisions on him. “Oh goodness no, that was Aldous who was caught drunk driving. I never would have agreed to be in those terrible commercials. That was entirely Aldous’s idea. He must value money more than integrity.” I can remain in the Van Gogh school of tortured genius, and he can deal solely with the commerce and the tabloids.

PLAYBOY: There’s a scene in Get Him to the Greek in which Aldous admits that being famous is essentially lonely and empty. Do you feel the same way?
BRAND: Yeah, I do. And I wish more people would understand that. I certainly don’t mean that fame is all about sitting atop your mansion and feeling sorry for yourself, because obviously loads of it is really good. But fame is in no way a solution for being a bit sad or lonely. It’s mostly unfulfilling unless you’re very careful about yourself. The courage and determination it takes to become famous can be a detriment if not balanced with some kind of spirituality or self-awareness. I’ve been lucky to be surrounded by people who’ve known me for quite some time, and they are resolutely, pigheadedly, obstinately determined not to let me lose myself in the illusion of fame. [pauses] I’m thinking about firing those people.

PLAYBOY: Many Americans have preconceived notions about British people. We think of them as overly polite and dreadfully afraid of embarrassment. You’re not any of those things. Are we wrong about the British?
BRAND: I don’t know that you can define a people by a landmass. I suppose there are characteristics that all British people have in common, but you could say the same of Americans. I’m surprised when [Forgetting Sarah Marshall co-star] Jason Segel talks about me and says, “Oh, he’s just this wild, freespirited person and doesn’t give a f-ck what anybody thinks.” I do care what people think. I care that you think British people are all repressed, for a start. So I guess in that way I have constructed a comedy personality that’s partly a reaction to the very stereotypes you’ve mentioned. But it’s not as though I’m deliberately trying to address this stereotype or that I feel as if English people are being unfairly judged. I just desperately don’t want to be one of those people who is awkward, embarrassed and slightly repressed.

PLAYBOY: You once stuck a Barbie up your ass during a show in London, claiming it was a protest against consumerism. Is it possible there’s a less personally invasive and painful way to protest consumerism?
BRAND: If there is, I haven’t found it. [laughs] If I remember correctly, I chose the Barbie doll because it represents the oppression of women, the stereotype of femininity, the commercialization of sexuality, blah blah blah. But what I learned from the experience, at least in hindsight, is that if you’re going to make a satirical point involving putting things in your rectum, be selective. Don’t take requests from the audience. I ultimately went with a Barbie doll because of the shape. It goes in easier, if you know what I mean.

PLAYBOY: When you hosted MTV’s Video Music Awards a few years ago, you called President George Bush “that retarded cowboy fella.” Were you surprised by the backlash?
BRAND: When I said it, I thought, Well, this is a statement nobody can possibly have a problem with. I thought it was a very populist thing to do. It was meant as a compliment. I wasn’t remarking on Bush’s mental retardation but the fact that Americans are so forward thinking they wouldn’t object to putting a man with his limited intellectual capabilities into political office. It’s quite a compliment that you let Bush run things for as long as you did. In my country he wouldn’t have been trusted with a pair of scissors.

PLAYBOY: Didn’t you get death threats because of the joke?
BRAND: I did, yeah. I was surprised my agency forwarded them along to me. It was like, “Look at all these death threats you’ve been getting!” I was also getting sexy letters with messages like “Hello, Russell. Here are photos of my t-ts. I wish you’d come around and f-ck me.” But they never passed those along to me. Those letters they just burned. All I got were the death threats. I never took any of it seriously. If you think about it, a death threat is really futile, given the nature of mortality. If you want somebody to die, just wait.

PLAYBOY: You also made some jokes at the VMAs about the Jonas Brothers and their vow of premarital abstinence. Is it safe to assume you’re not a big proponent of virginity under any circumstances?
BRAND: I’m not morally opposed to the idea of sexual abstinence. It’s just not practical for me, because I’ve got to have sex. I do think legitimate abstinence can be a good thing. I abstain from drugs and alcohol, so I understand the impulse. It’s the public nature of it that I find interesting. Michel Foucault, the poststructuralist French philosopher, said that in Victorian society, the preeminence and celebration of chastity was in fact the mirror of hedonism. In other words, if you’re constantly drawing attention to your abstinence from sex, you’re also drawing attention to sex. With somebody like Mick Jagger, it’s all about sex, sex, sex. But with the Jonas Brothers, it’s no sex, no sex, no sex. You see what I mean? The emphasis is still on sex.

PLAYBOY: You’ve been arrested 11 times thus far in your life. When you reach double digits, does getting arrested lose some of its magic?
BRAND: It definitely does. It becomes routine and a little humdrum. You start unthinkingly raising your wrists to be cuffed. And you bow your head automatically as they put you into the back of a police car. Occasionally you’ll encounter an overly vicious policeman who perhaps gets a bit rough with you, and that’s when it gets exciting again. It’s quite similar to promiscuity. You take pleasure in small details, the shape of an ankle or a distinctive eyebrow. Everyone has something magical. Every police officer has something unique about him or her, some part of the arresting technique that makes it special.

PLAYBOY: You’ve twice been voted PETA’s celebrity Sexiest Vegetarian Alive. Please explain how being a vegetarian is sexy.
BRAND: Being the world’s sexiest vegetarian is akin to being the world’s most lovable pedophile. In a way it’s as much a condemnation as it is an endorsement. But I’m proud to be considered sexy, let alone the world’s sexiest in any category. If I were nominated to be the sexiest man on this sofa, I would happily accept that title.

[From Playboy]

See? Isn’t he interesting? It weirds me out that he’s serious about Katy Perry, and that they’re planning their wedding. You’d think that Russell would go for someone with a bit more substance. What am I saying? “Prostitutes are some of the most fascinating women I’ve met in the world.” Obviously, he has a type. No, I jest. I think he probably really cares about Katy. I just don’t know how long it will last. And what happens when it goes south? Yikes.

Comedian Russell Brand, who will next appear in Get Him to the Greek, heads to a Yoga studio wearing acid wash jeans and flip flops

Header: Russell in LA on May 7, 2010. Credit: WENN.

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52 Responses to “Russell Brand talks hookers, drugs & Bush in Playboy”

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  1. Lisa says:

    I know I may get hell on here for this, but I think he is hysterical and intelligent. But I will note that there HAS to be another way to protest consumerism.

  2. JulieNewmar says:

    I was not aware he had shoved Barbie up his ass … Now, that is hilarious !!

  3. Beck says:

    Sometimes I like him. He was awesome as Aldous Snow. So funny. However, sometimes he is just irritating to me. I find him a bit condescending to Americans. This is the first time that I have heard about the Barbie thing. What is artistic about that? Please.

    Yeah, I find it strange that he is so in love with Katy Perry. It is a strange coupling for sure.

    I don’t think I could be with someone that has a thing for prostitutes. I couldn’t be with someone that puts Barbie up their butt either. Like Kaiser, I would never let him get close to my privates. I would never want to use the same bathroom he uses either.

  4. Lynne says:

    Ugh it’s been 2 years since bush, move on! The countrys plenty angry with obamanomics and obamacare- get some new material!

  5. Missmilly says:

    This guy is nothing but a nerd that grew up and now thinks he is cool. I wish he would just go away. I don’t get it…

  6. a says:

    neat guy!

  7. Leticia says:

    Agreed, Lynne.

  8. ade says:

    I don’t even bother reading anything this guy has to say…I can’t believe he is relevant…I guess making comments about his irrelevance makes him relevant:()

  9. kelbear says:

    He is definitely interesting. I like him most of the time. Wish he dressed a little less weird though.

  10. jeannified says:

    I heard an interview with him on NPR with Terry Gross. he IS VERY funny and VERY intelligent. I can’t remember, but I THINK that his father was some sort of big wig in England, and that he is from the upper crust society.

  11. tooey says:

    Love him; won’t apologize for it! ;0

  12. gg says:

    Thank you Beck and Missmilly. I agree.

    Please SHAVE NOW, Osama bin Laden!

  13. TaylorB says:

    While it does look a titch dirty, he really does have very nice hair; thick, wavy, beautiful color. And nice bone structure.

  14. Corina says:

    I can’t get on board with Anal Expedition Barbie but I do really enjoy him! I never would have thought that he or Katy Perry would settle down but I can sorta see them sticking it out for decades now. They seem to be just the right breed of crazy for one another. I don’t mean that as an insult – still hoping to find the guy that’s the right breed of crazy for me lol. 🙂

  15. Demos says:

    “Russell is very lovable.”

    Jesus. You people have the lowest standards possible. Women are insane.

  16. susan says:

    half the fun of a Russell Brand interview is listening to that voice, that accent. doesn’t quite come across the same on paper

  17. juicyjackie says:

    As a Brit I sometimes find him funny, but in small doses. He does seem happy with Katy, anyone that finds love or at least gives it a go gets a thumbs up from me.

    With regards to the comments about getting new material regarding Bush …. are you not reading that he was responding to a question from a journalist, the man was simply answering. Perhaps the journalist needed new material????

    There was another comment about him being condescending about Americans …. there isnt a very nice way to answer that without upsetting a nation!!! I am afraid rather a lot of the world does errrmmm look down on the US. I am not trying to be nasty, just being honest.

    Before you all start flaming me, spend a moment about how the USA is portrayed, especially in the media (think celebrity culture, politics, economy).

    I have met a few Americans and you have all been very nice, just super-dooper loud 🙂 …… I accidently thought a couple that were Canadian were American and they didnt find it funny at all and ranted at me about all Canadians dislike Americans ….. eeeek, I am keeping out of that one!!

  18. Bodhi says:

    I think he is hilarious!

  19. Praise St. Angie! says:


    it’s not been “two years” since bush.

    he left office one year and four months ago. and he and his admin did so much damage to this country and its reputation that, like it or not, people are going to be talking about him and what he did for YEARS to come. sort of like people STILL, to this day, make reference to Clinton’s shortcomings while he was in office.

    that being said, Russell Brand is NOT perpetuating any bashing of bush. he is simply responding to a question that the interviewer asked about something Brand had said about Bush previously, and people’s reactions to it.

  20. Jeri says:

    He’s always interesting, sometimes in a good way & sometimes, not. I hope he & Katy make it, they seem happy together.

  21. gen says:

    Also embarressed to admit it, but I think he’s funny & smart. I totally don’t think he’s attractive in pictures but in real life I bet he would get into my pants in 10 minutes. I’m a sucker for those witty types that flatter you. And then you wake up in the morning pissed at yourself for falling for their routine.

  22. B says:

    He’s funny, intelligent and interesting in this interview, IMO. He also looks like he might smell of ‘fromunda and leftover sex, eww.

  23. viz says:

    he cracks me up.and I’m not embarassed to say it. Who cares.

  24. Dallas says:

    Russell, when you become an American Citizen and vote then, and only then, will you have the right to criticize an American president.

    One more thing Russell, it is “mentally challenged”.

  25. gg says:

    I too think he is condescending to Americans and reminds me of a precocious teenager. I find a little humility a necessary requirement in a guy’s personality to make him human.

  26. Mistral says:

    I love the line about each cop having something special and different about their arresting technique.

    How horrible that his father bought him a prostitute on a business trip. It’s better for the kids to experience that stuff in a more natural/accidental way, with people their own age. What does that teach a boy about sex?

  27. LolaBella says:

    I like him; I think he’s smart and funny.

    This interview was very funny – disturbing in parts – but funny.

    Loved him as Aldous Snow in Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

    I will never be able to look at another Barbie without thinking about him desecrating her. LOL.

    I still can’t believe that he is really going through with this wedding to Katy Perry. I guess we all mature at some point, huh.

  28. Trillion says:

    Lynne and Leticia: He made the statements a couple of years ago.

  29. Praise St. Angie! says:

    Dallas, respectfully, I don’t agree with your position.

    I don’t think you have to be an American voter to criticize the American president.

    I hear people, including our elected government officials and news pundits, criticize leaders of other countries every day.

    You certainly have the right to disagree with his criticism, but to say Brand is not allowed to say negatives things about anyone is just…well…not very American of you.

    Rush Limbaugh has had some pretty rough criticism for Nancy Pelosi, whom he’s unable to vote for. and yet I still believe that he’s got a right to criticize her.

  30. annie says:

    You seriously think him condescending to Americans? Do you understand humor? You should read his book to gain better perspective.

  31. Anti-icon says:

    I think he’s hysterical, and very self aware, which is why I like him. Americans need to realize that we are frequently deserving of being made fun of—as a country. I am not an ugly American at all.

  32. Kim says:

    He will be cheating on her within months after being married – actually im sure he already is. Katies preacher father must be so proud =(

  33. Kim says:

    If a female comedians shtick was what his is we would all be yawning. I might find him funny if he had some original jokes but sex & being anti Bush in comedic act is soooooooo be there done that.

  34. Kim says:

    He also kisses and tells about his personal exploits naming names (if they were famous) which is trashy and for attention. We already have a John Mayer in America- dont need another thank you very much.

  35. jover says:

    Sorry, but I’m not on board with this douche and I’m an independent. Dropping a quote from Foucalt might impress a Playboy interviewer, but that hardly makes an intellectual. Slamming Bush doesn’t make you a populist; taking on the big money boys that support bush, obama (its well known that obamas supported by several chicago billionares)and most politicos would be more populist but don’t count on that. What’s more annoying is that douches like Brand act like progessive boundary pushers but they’re just ticket punchers for the corporate entertainment industry. For God sake he’s marrying Katy Perry about as corporate commercial (she’s doing zit cream commercials)and bland a pop creation as they come and he hosts MTV sponsored crap; and what is MTV but a corporate whore and subsidiary of Viacom – He would be braver if he lambasted MTV and their ilk for contributing to the ruination of pop music.

  36. DiMi says:

    Blogger – Why was it necessary to say that he isn’t brilliant? Don’t be ashamed of your admiration of his intelligence. I think he deserves it. He’s more than witty. Robert Pattinson is witty. This guy is genuinely deep, smart and funny.

    In fact, he may very well be brilliant; only time will tell. He’s already thoughtful, self-aware, politically astute, intellectually creative, and frigging hilarious. Even his interest in the inner lives of prostitutes reveals his willingness to see beyond their profession and recognize them as people. It’s unfortunate that what may in fact be brilliance has not been fully revealed in his art, but he’s young. I think this man may one day be a brilliant artist. I’m looking forward to it. Thanks for sharing this.

  37. Kaboom says:

    His mother dresses him funny.

  38. DiMi says:

    Also, as somebody who’s studied Foucault, I can tell you that Brand didn’t just drop his name. Brand actually UNDERSTOOD the primary thesis of The History of Sexuality. It’s clear that he actually READ it instead of just pretending like most people.

    Oh, and regarding the comparisons to John Mayer. This is the brand of irreverent humor Mayer is TRYING to achieve but can’t because he’s not smart enough. John Mayer WISHES he were this funny.

  39. Me says:

    He’s a genius. You’re so right, Dimi, John Mayer WISHES he were this funny.

  40. Emily says:

    I’ve liked him since I saw St Trinians. I’m a sucker for those witty cockney types though.

  41. Aussie Mama says:

    Great interview, very intelligent guy!
    Love the “Oh so true” Bush comments, the Barbie thing, he’s genius, he’s real, he’s lived, had life experience and that’s what makes him so cool.

  42. Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

    Initially, I had a hearty dislike for this guy, but after hearing about the positive feelings surrounding his interview on NPR, I gave it a shot. Colour me surprised to find that my opinion of someone could be altered so quickly. I still don’t care for his stand-up, but he’s absolutely more intelligent, funny and self-aware than his public antics would suggest. Perry must have hidden depths to which no other person on earth is privy–or an opium den.

  43. Isobel says:

    He’s surprisingly un-hot in real life. I saw him a few years ago in London, near Hampstead Heath–he was chatting to friends and then to us. He’s very short and has child-bearing hips accentuated by the incredibly tight pants he was wearing. And there was a manic vibe to him that made me back away. In fact, I think he was much, much more polite than I was in that encounter.

  44. Maggie says:

    How pretentious do you have to be to not only name-drop, quote, and then EXPLAIN the quote? I’m talking about “Michel Foucault, the poststructuralist French philosopher”. Stupid.

  45. Camille says:

    I’ve seen him on talk shows before (British ones) and have found him charming and hilarious. I kind of dig him, but yeah I’m with you Kaiser, no way would I let him near my lady bits! lol

  46. Aussie Mama says:

    Isobel…..I agree he’s too baby face, BUT, short???
    He’s six foot two luvey, that’s anything but short!

  47. Lita says:

    I don’t find him very humourous but I do think Dallas is! Dallas alone made this thread a cracking read!

    LOL @ “Russell, when you become an American Citizen and vote then, and only then, will you have the right to criticize an American president.”

    Sorry, can’t stick about, I’m off to burn my collection of critique essay books and call a halt to my opposition of the Afghani regime because I certainly didn’t vote for them …

  48. Diva says:

    Isobel, he’s well over six feet tall… how is that short???

    I went and saw his show in Seattle last month. I laughed so hard I cried and got makeup in my eyes which stung like a mother, but I couldn’t stop!

    I think he’s pretty brilliant. He sometimes plays to the lowest common denominator in his humor, but he also readily refers to things alot of people know nothing about, and he can TALK about it, he READS, he STUDIES… he’s incredibly self-educated.

    Love him, always have!

  49. mO says:

    I’m sure he’s an idiot.

  50. oh hey says:

    He kind of looks like Megan Fox in that pic. That is all.

  51. Erin says:

    I love this guy, even if he did romance Courtney Love. He is smart and witty, and even though I don’t want to, I kind of get the Katy Perry love. Hate to admit it, but she too, is funny and slightly intelligent. Hope they do well. 🙂

  52. Rachel says:

    Get Him To The Greek, also featuring Jonah Hill, looks hysterical. Can’t wait until June!