Is Russell Brand ‘planning to run for London Mayor’ in 2016?

Russell Brand

Here’s a still from Russell Brand’s appearance on Newsnight to promote his new book, Revolution. Presenter Evan Davis asked Russell about 9/11 conspiracy theories. If you’ll remember, Rusty showed up dressed up to his MTV UK gig as Osama Bin Laden the day after the terrorist attacks. He was fired, rightfully so. Russell later apologized for his behavior, saying he was high on drugs and lacked judgment.

The Newsnight episode resulted in backlash as people interpreted Russell’s words as supporting 9/11 conspiracies. He did not do so. Gawker has the full transcript of Russell’s response to the 9/11 question. Russell started out with “I think it’s interesting that at this time, we have so little trust in our political figures, that ordinary people have so little trust in our media.” Evan Davis kept pressing until Russell said, “I don’t want to talk about daft conspiracy theories here on Newsnight, mate!

Russell’s been doing a ton of publicity for his book. He’s been marching in Labour rallies (to support higher pay for nurses) and delivering shirtless speeches against austerity. He told the Financial Times how his fame and wealth are “worthless and meaningless” and make him “feel guilty.” He would “give up everything” for revolution and said, “I’m 100% willing to go to prison or die for this.” Here’s where things get weird. Last October, Russell published a New Statesman essay telling people that voting is pointless. Now there’s a rumor that Rusty will run for Mayor of London in 2016:

Comedian Russell Brand is considering running as London Mayor — despite saying that voting is a waste of time.

The controversial comic has told close friends he wants to succeed Boris Johnson when the Tory Mayor’s second term ends in 2016.

Essex-born Brand would stand for the mayoralty on an independent “anti-politics” ticket.His spokeswoman did not deny the reports last night. Asked if Brand intended to stand, she said: “I’ve spoken to Russell and he has no comment to make on this.”

However he has sketched out his bizarre manifesto in his new book, Revolution. In it he says: “I can’t get my head around economics” and adds that he has no idea about the “obtuse” FTSE stock exchange index. He declares his support for “collectives,” and wants to ban fracking and the monarchy.

[From Daily Mail]

This is a ridiculous notion. I say this as a Rusty fan. The man can school clueless talk show hosts and argue in front of Parliament, but he will never run for political office. Let me clarify: Russell may someday run for office, yet he won’t do it to win. He’d do it to make a statement. Right now, I believe that the rumor will work in his favor and sell books.

Russell has acknowledged the rumors by tweeting a Mirror poll about his potential candidacy. He’s having fun with this rumor, as are his fellow comedians:

Here’s that Newsweek video where Russell didn’t advocate for 9/11 conspiracy theories.

Russell Brand

Photos courtesy of Newsweek & WENN

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28 Responses to “Is Russell Brand ‘planning to run for London Mayor’ in 2016?”

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  1. mystified says:

    This is silly to say, but I wish Russell and Katy Perry would get back together. That marriage made both of them seem a lot more likeable. Now that they are single they have both become even more annoying in their own distinct ways.

  2. Sixer says:

    I hope it sells books – the profits from this one are going to set up a community cafe entirely staffed by recovering addicts.

    I read the book. And not for work! It’s just like Rusty – messy, unfocused, articulate, funny. I don’t think you need to be treading Rusty’s journey into anarcho-syndicalism to believe that politicians aren’t properly representing us. You can be from any part of the political spectrum and agree with that. And really, that’s its main thrust (plus a bit of woolly spiritualism, which I confess I do have trouble getting on board with).

    I don’t think he started this rumour. It was The Mirror itself, wasn’t it?

    • LadySlippers says:


      Wooly spiritualism? Please elaborate.

      Overall, I find him very scattered but also extreme on pointe with his message. And boy, he is smart. I’d bet Mensa smart too.

    • Sixer says:

      Sorry to be ages replying, missy. Was having a big cooking-fest!

      Woolly spiritualism – I mean he has a new-agey approach with a bit of Buddhism (he does TM), a bit of universal consciousness, a bit of this, a bit of that, yadda. Nothing wrong with a bit of peace and love and cool energy all around but you know me – feet of clay atheist. It’s all about the physics, baby. He can think these things if he wants but they aren’t for me. That’s all.

      He is disorganised, yes. And bright. And it’s extremely clear he knows a lot, has done his research and understands what he’s saying. But the book isn’t so much about that as it is about engaging people to ask their own questions and break through the swamp of the Overton window. I think he’s done a great job.

      I’ve spent a lifetime trying to decide whether change is best effected from within the system or whether the system is so broken that change can only come from without. Brand’s decided it’s that broken.

  3. Kiddo says:

    I’ve actually gained a good deal of respect for him.

  4. cherry says:

    Fellow comedian and ‘executive transvestite’ Eddie Izzard is actually quite serious about running for mayor of London in 2016, so these things do happen.

    • Grrl says:

      I would totally vote for Eddie ‘Cake or Death?’ Izzard in 2016. I hope this happens!

    • Sixer says:

      But Eddie would run as a Labour candidate, since he’s a fully paid up member and major contributor to the party coffers. Different thing.

      (Although if I were still in London, I’d happily vote for Eddie).

    • Janet Planet says:

      Look up Jon Gnarr, the comedian who kicked out the old power blocks when his Best Party won the election and he became the mayor of Reykjavik, Iceland. Rusty’s met with him. Many have.

  5. Amelia says:

    No way.
    He might end up dropping hints about it just to get the papers all in a fluster, but actually running – nah.
    In the nicest possible way, it’s too much work for him (in a pen-pushing sense). I reckon all the bureaucracy would drive him bonkers. I’m sure he recognises he can do better and more productive work in the position that he’s in now rather than showing up Boris Johnson.

  6. TTMuch says:

    I love Russell Brand, but I so clearly remember him saying at an awards show that he democracy was a sham in much better, fancier words that made me love him all the more. Cupcake McBigBoobs made me actually LOL

  7. Lee says:

    Thanks for this Rusty post. In the words of “Derek”, I loves him. I’m also fascinated with and a little awed by his energy.

  8. LAK says:

    Well Eddie Izzard is running for mayor either this round or next so don’t rule Russell out completely.

  9. Yeah says:

    I have a lot of respect for him. I really think he’s trying to change the world for the better. Whether or not he can do it or even just get the ball rolling, time will tell.

  10. Eleonor says:

    I think he is looking for something to fulfill is life, but he should find a cause or organization to work with, because like this he is throwing away a lot of energy, which could be invested in something better than random sit in and rumors.

  11. SuePerb says:

    Did anyone see Jonathan Ross on Saturday night? Russell Brand was on there too as well as Lindsay Lohan. She’s not great in interviews is she? She was after the sympathy vote but struggled severely between Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand’s wit, maybe she never saw the show before, but she was weird on it.

  12. Pepsi Presents...Coke says:

    Would this be the same Russell Brand who suggested that refusing to vote sends some kind of dumbass message to politicians regarding citizen dissatisfaction? There’s no one to vote for, so let’s run away until, ex nihlo, someone fancies him or herself a latter day Spartacus and BOOM: case closed, nation repaired, celebrations in the streets? How exactly would this come to pass? Qualifications? That’s the tool of the MAN, and anyway, it’s just the capital of England, of the nation, so good vibes will surely suffice.

    Perhaps his mood will change if it turns out that people can’t even be assed to vote against him because voting is giving in to the sickness that plagues modern democracy–you know, the democracy part of it. But, no, no, no, he’s not like them, he’s different for some reason and surely his purity would remain forever in tact in the arena that breeds hardness in everyone else.

    ‘As a comedian, in all seriousness…’.

    He’s an articulate and intelligent, sympathetic person who certainly isn’t complacent, but if it turns out that he does have plans to run for mayor, that’ll be…just darling.

    How fitting that this should come out on the day of a mayoral election in my city. Well, guess who’s deciding on a weather-appropriate leather jacket for the walk to the polling station? I don’t dislike the man, but I thought that marrying Katy Perry after a nanosecond of dating was the silliest thing he’s ever done. Actually, that high point of silliness remains as it is because telling young people to throw their votes away isn’t silly, it’s woefully irresponsible.

    Vote. Always vote.

  13. sparrow says:

    I went to see him at a live political debate on Thursday and he was good. He acknowledges upfront that he isn’t the most qualified to speak about certain topics, but he is a fantastic orator and he has opinions on everything – he takes an interest in all matters and does his best to make his thoughts well-informed.

    The only difficulty is that he doesn’t lead them to their natural conclusion; his ideas are idealistic and slightly naive, and even though I agree that we live in a world of pointless politicians and disillusioned people, I don’t think democracy has quite had its run yet. When I saw him he spoke at length about the importance of protests and “taking back the power”, but protests are a small reflection of a gathered opinion, not an agreed majority consensus. “Taking back the power” is anarchy when there is no agreement or legislation. A complete, uncontrolled overthrow of our current system is not what is needed – a carefully architected redesign is. We need more diversity, less tradition, more involvement, and we need to make politics an ageless game, one where all persons feel a part of something. Russell’s brand of politics (no pun intended) is a young man’s politics, and it all just reminds me of Candide sometimes.

    • Pepsi Presents...Coke says:

      I’m sure that all you say is true, you did have the opportunity to see him and I have not. I did have some compliments about him and I certainly don’t think he’s stupid or has completely lost his grip on reality and I trust that he understands that he has blind spots. Again, I don’t dislike him at all, there was a time when I did but I was directed to some of his candid interviews and my opinion of him greatly improved. I’m open to correction or at least reconsideration.

      But once he started telling the youth that it’s pointless to vote because it’s just a selection of evils I did lose some respect for him. I’m not saying that he’s wrong about the crap politicians–no one would– but he had better hope that the senior citizens around him share his views because he has given their votes that much added weight and they are the ones going out to the polls. And I suspect that there might not be such huge overlap on the Venn diagram of their convictions.

      I think that you forfeit some of your credibility in making criticisms of the results when you stayed silent when your community needed you. Look, we already know that…it’s not hard to get screwed over by politics and that’s always been a universal truth and it’s right and good that we criticize our leaders because that stuff is going to happen regardless of who wins the election. I still don’t think it’s an excuse.

      Public servants are only that, not personal footmen and citizens have a duty to themselves and those around them to remember that working for that desired society isn’t a one-way street lined with magicians and mindreaders. A lot of these public servants are slime or incompetent either way, but if your leaders suck, say so in a meaningful fashion. Even if it feels like it doesn’t mean anything (I’ve certainly thought so in the past and, um, present) when the people you elected lie or change or just can’t make good on their promises. But then, if they spend all of your tax dollars on novelty wax lips, if it was in the platform it might have been a good idea to vote ‘No’ on the Wax Lips Referendum.

      On a personal note, I feel like I need to bear witness to all of the people who fought for me. I feel that it is greatest ingratitude to throw that gift away. I’m not American, but I see the renewed attacks on voting rights there and it just reinforces my confusion at people who don’t even think of what it is that they’re doing when they opt out.

      I agree with the poster below, Cirien. John Lydon read Brand the riot act and I’m glad that he did. Granted, Russell was probably taken aback by the level the vitriol aimed at his ‘first year at university’ pronouncements, but his response concerning Lydon’s remarks were quite feeble and I almost think that he’s already beginning to eat crow.

      And these instant overhauls, yes, that’s naive. Charles I was most definitely a tyrant, but what happened after the execution? You get Oliver and Tumble-Down Dick and George Monck having to beg the erstwhile Kong’s son to come back.

  14. Cirien says:

    Dear Russell. Give up your tickets to the corporate box at West Ham then I’ll believe you. John Lydon is much better to listen to on this subject

  15. Pepsi Presents...Coke says:

    Erstwhile king. Auto correct.

  16. annie says:

    NO. He said that there isn’t a vote because the two parties are representing the same thing, which is not the voice of the people.. I.e if he was in parliament, he would bring something to vote for, because at the moment it’s just right wing and a little bit less right wing.