Russell Brand is not my favorite person in Hollywood. I would personally brand (pun intended) his acting as “Even though my character is named Aldous/Arthur/Lonny, I’m still just Russell Brand.” You can love him, hate him, or even fear a text from him, but there comes a time when one discovers that the actor-comedian is by no means an idiot; in fact, he’s a pretty smart guy.
If you only know him from Forgetting Sarah Marshall (certainly his acting prime) or Rock of Ages, then you have every reason to be skeptical. But take a look at his instantly classic interview on MSNBC that took place last month. Some thought it was rude; others saw it as a refreshing take on the stale and boring interview model. (I agree with the latter.) Brand recently penned a column for The Guardian, astutely pointing out some problems in the age of the interview talk show.
Here’s a sample Brand observation: “One of the things that’s surprising when you go on telly a lot is that often the on-camera ‘talent’ (yuck!) are perfectly amiable when you chat to them normally, but when the red light goes on they immediately transform into shark-eyed Stepford berks talking in a cadence you encounter nowhere else but TV-land – a meter that implies simultaneously carefree whimsy and stifled hysteria. There is usually a detachment from the content. ‘Coming up after the break, we’ll be slicing my belly open and watching while smooth black eels loll out in a sinewy cascade of demented horror.’ This abstraction I think occurs through institutionalisation. If your function is to robotically report a pre-existing agenda, you needn’t directly interface with the content.”
Brand goes on to discuss more issues, including that of the politician as an entertainer. It’s clear that Brand isn’t just the yoga-loving womanizer the media has him pegged for. And while his intelligence might be seen as a momentary spark for some, here’s hoping Brand’s canny insights are here to stay.
So what do you think: Has Brand shocked you with his intelligence? Do you agree/disagree with any of his thoughts? Are you now willing to forgive him for Arthur? Maybe not that last one, but I’m definitely intrigued enough to hear more about his grand insights.