Russell Brand

Russell Brand

Infobox Comedian|#007BA7
name = Russell Brand

caption =
pseudonym =
birth_name = Russell Edward Brand
birth_date = birth date and age|1975|6|4|df=yes
birth_place = Grays, Essex, England
medium = Stand-up, television, film, radio
nationality = British
active = 2000 ndash present
genre =
subject =
influences = Morrissey, Peter Cook, Richard Pryor, Eddie Izzard, Jack Kerouac, Bill Hicks
influenced =
website =

Russell Edward BrandNick Barratt. [ "Family Detective: Russell Brand"] . "Daily Telegraph". 24 March 2007. Retrieved 20 September 2007] (born June 4, 1975) is a British comedian, actor, columnist and a presenter of radio and television. Born in Grays, Essex, he began his acting career at the age of 15 when he played the part of Fat Sam in a school production of "Bugsy Malone". [cite web|url=|title=Russell Brand - evolution of the 'Sex Insect'|publisher="This Is London"|date=2007-01-29|accessdate=2008-10-11] [cite web|url=|title=Russell Brand: A modern rake's progress|publisher="Daily Mail"|date=2006-06-23|accessdate=2008-10-11] He subsequently gained a three-year scholarship at the Drama Centre London. [cite web|url=|title=BBC Radio 2 Biography|publisher=" [BBC Radio 2"|accessdate=2008-10-11]

Early life

Brand was born in Grays, Essex, England, the only child of Barbara Elizabeth (née Nichols) and Ronald Henry Brand, a photographer.Nick Barratt. [ "Family Detective: Russell Brand"] . "Daily Telegraph". 24 March 2007. Retrieved 20 September 2007. This article gives his place of birth as "Thurrock". Thurrock is the unitary authority within which Grays is located.] His parents separated when Russell was six months old. Brand had a quite isolated and lonely childhood. [ [ Docklands24 - Author Interview: Russell Brand ] ] Brand made his theatrical debut at age 15, as "Fat Sam" in a school production of "Bugsy Malone", and his performances earned him a council funded education at the private Italia Conti Academy, which led to a three-year scholarship at the Drama Centre London, in Chalk Farm.



Brand's first significant stand-up appearance was at the Hackney Empire New Act of the Year final in 2000. Although he did not finish in the top three, his performance attracted the attention of an agent, John Noel. His first big tour was his show "Shame" which he toured the UK and performed to sell out audiences drawing on embarrassing things that have happened, and the tabloid press and how they have treated him since he became famous. In late November 2006 Russell put on a secret stand-up show for anyone who had added him as a friend on MySpace. This show featured unseen material not featured on his DVD. Brand performed a sketch with close friends Matt Lucas & David Walliams for a "Little Britain" live show for Comic Relief in which he played a crossdressing plumber who comes out to "fellow crossdresser", Emily Howard. Brand appeared in a sketch and did stand-up at the 2006 "Secret Policeman's Ball". In March 2007, Brand performed a charity show with Noel Fielding centred around the "Goth Detectives". The idea for the show was inspired by Jonathan Ross, who, on "The Big Fat Quiz of the Year 2006", suggested that Fielding could play Bob Skeleton ("Indie Detective"), which led to Brand and Fielding jokingly describing a fictional scenario in which they were "Goth Detectives."

During a performance at the Royal and Derngate Theatre, Northampton in July 2008, Brand made a hoax call claiming he had spotted a man responsible for a series of assaults. Brand issued an apology for his actions, but Northamptonshire Police have not yet announced whether any charges will be brought. [ [ Brand apologises for prank call] ]


Brand's first presenting role came as a VJ on music channel MTV presenting "Dance Floor Chart" and MTV Select. However he was fired after coming to work dressed as Osama bin Laden the day after the September 11, 2001 attacks. [cite web
url =
title = And then I became a junkie ... | By genre | Guardian Unlimited Books
accessdate = 2007-11-18
last = Brand
first = Russell
date= 2007-11-13
format = HTML
publisher = "The Guardian"

After MTV, Brand featured in , a British documentary and comedy television programme that aimed to take a challenging look at cultural taboos. It was conceived, written and hosted by Brand, with the help of his comic partner for many projects, Matt Morgan. The series was shown on the now defunct digital satellite channel UK Play in 2002. As confirmed in his memoirs 'My Booky Wook' and mentioned in his radio shows, Brand was often drunk or on heroin during the filming of RE:Brand.

In 2004, he hosted "Big Brother's Eforum" on E4, a sister show to Big Brother 5. The show gave celebrity guests and the public the chance to have their say on the goings-on inside the Big Brother house. For Big Brother 6 the show's name changed to "Big Brother's Big Mouth". The ratings for "Big Brother's Big Mouth" during Big Brother 7 were good. [ [ TV Viewing Figures Summary] ] Following the racism row of "Celebrity Big Brother 5", Brand confirmed he would not return to host the "Big Brother 8" series of "Big Brother's Big Mouth" (although the row was not cited as the cause); in a statement Brand thanked all the producers for "taking the risk of employing an ex-junkie twerp" to front the show and of his time presenting the show, he said: "The three years I've spent on "Big Brother's Big Mouth" have been an unprecedented joy." [ [ Brand quits Big Brother spin-off] at BBC News] Brand hosted a one-off special called "Big Brother According to Russell Brand" in which Brand takes a surreal, sideways look at Big Brother through the ages. On 8 January 2008, Brand was the fifth celebrity to hijack the Big Brother house, [ [ Russell Brand speaks to the house] ] in the E4 show "".

Brand returned to MTV in the spring of 2006 as presenter of the chat show "1 Leicester Square" initially going out at 8 p.m. on Sundays before being shifted to a post-watershed time of 10 p.m. on Mondays, allowing a more adult theme to the show. Guests have included Tom Cruise, Uma Thurman, McFly and Boy George. A second series began in September 2006 on MTV UK. After "Big Brother 7" finished, Brand presented a debate show called "Russell Brand's Got Issues", on digital channel E4. The viewing figures for the first episode were seen as disappointing, being beaten by nearly all of E4's main multi-channel rivals, despite a big publicity and promotional campaign for the show and achieving only 148,000 viewers on the opening night.Then on 9 November 2006, it was announced that Brand would host his own chat show called "The Russell Brand Show". The first episode was broadcast on Friday 24 November on Channel 4 [ [ Brand and Ross to go head-to-head] at BBC News] and the show ran for five weeks. In December 2006, he took part in Channel 4's annual "The Big Fat Quiz of the Year", presented by Jimmy Carr. He was teamed with Noel Fielding from "The Mighty Boosh". They went on to win the quiz after receiving 22 points for one question (quizmaster Jimmy Carr had jokingly said that he'd give them 22 points if they got it right, assuming that they would get it wrong, as they were giving blatantly incorrect answers to the other questions).

Brand presented the 2006 NME Awards, and was famously called a "cunt" by Bob Geldof, to which Brand replied, "Really it's no surprise he's [Geldof] such an expert on famine he has after all been dining out on, "I Don't Like Mondays," for 30 years." [ [ Interview with Russell Brand | Media | The Observer ] ] Brand hosted the 2007 BRIT Awards and presented Oasis with their Outstanding Contribution to Music award at the event. [ [ Russell Brand to host Brit Awards] at BBC News] He also hosted one hour of Comic Relief. On 7 July 2007, he presented at the UK leg of Live Earth at Wembley Stadium, London.

Brand returned to Channel 4 to host "Russell Brand's Ponderland", in which he discusses various topics like childhood and science through stand-up comedy. The show first aired on Monday 22 October 2007, and was on every weeknight that week. A second series has been recorded, but it is not known when it will be aired. A documentary presented by Brand and Matt Morgan about the writer Jack Kerouac and his novel On the Road called "Russell Brand On the Road" aired on 12 December 2007 on BBC Four.

Brand's stint as host of the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards [ [ Russell Brand to host MTV Awards] ] was not without controversy. At one point, he said the night, "marked the launch of a very new Britney Spears era," referring to it as, "the resurrection of [Spears] ," and, "if there was a female Christ, it's Britney." [ "BBC - Brand makes controversial comments at MTV awards".] 8 September 2008.] Brand implored the audience to elect Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and later called U.S. President George W. Bush, "a retarded cowboy fella," who in England, "wouldn't be trusted with scissors." [Schmidt, Veronica. [ "Russell Brand calls George Bush a 'retard' at MTV awards."] "Times" (London). 8 September 2008.] He made several references to the purity rings worn by the Jonas Brothers, but later in the show, apologised for those comments. [Reynolds, Simon. [ "Brand apologises for Jonas Brother's VMA Gag"] . 8 September 2008.]


Brand's first major TV acting work was an appearance in an episode of "The Bill" in 1994. In 2002, he filmed roles in the television comedy dramas "Cruise of the Gods" and "White Teeth". In 2005 he played Tommy in the BBC sitcom "Blessed" which was written and directed by Ben Elton. He auditioned for the part of Super Hans in the Channel 4 sitcom "Peep Show", but was rejected by the writers in favour of Matt King. [cite news|url=|title=Brand 'rejected for Peep Show role'|accessdate=2008-04-16|date=2008-04-16|publisher=BBC Newsbeat]

In 2007, Brand played a recovering crack addict called "Terry," in the pilot for ITV comedy "The Abbey", written by Morwenna Banks. [ [ 3am Entertainment Gossip & Celebrity News -] ] "The Abbey" was commissioned for a full series to be shown on ITV2. Filming was due to begin in January 2008 but the series has since been cancelled. Also that year, he appeared in "Cold Blood" for ITV playing an ex-con called Ally.

Brand first major film role was as Flash Harry in the 2007 film "St Trinian's", although it is not known if he will reprise the role for the upcoming sequel "St Trinian's: The Legend of Fritton's Gold". He filmed a small role in 2006 for "Penelope". His breakthrough role was in the 2008 film "Forgetting Sarah Marshall", in which he played Aldous Snow, the boyfriend of the title character (played by Kristen Bell). Brand received rave reviews for his performance as Snow. [ [ FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL - Russell Brand] ] He will again play the character of Aldous Snow for a buddy comedy entitled "Get Him to the Greek", co-starring Jonah Hill. [ [ Apatow, Stoller speak 'Greek'] ] He is reuniting with "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" director Nicholas Stoller and producer Judd Apatow for the film also. [ [ Apatow, Stoller speak 'Greek' Universal buddy comedy stars Hill, Brand] ] It is described in "Variety Magazine" as a "very dirty take on "Almost Famous".

Brand has finished filming a starring role alongside Adam Sandler in a new Disney film "Bedtime Stories", to be released Christmas 2008. [ [ Russell Brand Tells Adam Sandler Bedtime Stories] ] Sandler has cast Brand in another film and will produce another, co-written by Brand and Morgan, about a conman posing as a priest tentatively called "Bad Father". [The Russell Brand show August 23, 2008] [ [ Adam's own Brand of comedy] ]


Brand's radio career began in early 2002, when he hosted a Sunday afternoon show with Matt Morgan on London's Indie Rock station Xfm. Brand was fired from this job after reading out pornographic material live on-air. Brand has also co-hosted "The Russell Brand Show" since it began in April 2006 on BBC 6Music. As of November 2006, the show airs on BBC Radio 2 on Saturdays from 9pm until 11pm. The show has over 2 million listeners.Fact|date=August 2008


Brand has written a column in "The Guardian" since May 2006 which has been about West Ham United and the England national football team. A collection of the columns from May 2006 till June 2007 was released on 15 November 2007 in a book entitled, "Irons in the Fire". [ [ Irons in the Fire (Hardcover)] at] A second collection of the columns for the 2007/2008 season will be released on 16 October 2008 and will be called "Articles of Faith." [ [ Brand, Russell. "Articles of Faith".]]

Brand's autobiography, "My Booky Wook", published by Hodder & Stoughton, was released on 15 November 2007. The book gained a positive reception upon release. The Observer commented that "Russell Brand's gleeful tale of drugs and debauchery in "My Booky Wook" puts most other celebrity memoirs to shame." [ [ A shot in the arm for Brand awareness] , The Guardian review] Brand was to play himself in a film adaptation of his autobiography, to be directed by Michael Winterbottom, but the project has since been shelved by Brand, who did not want American audiences to learn of his "chequered past" without reading the book first. [cite news|author= Hilton, Beth|title= Brand scraps "Booky Wook" film|url=|work= Digital Spy|date= 2008-05-31|accessdate= 2008-05-31] [ [ Russell's ego takes a bashing] ]

He signed a £1.8 million two-book deal with HarperCollins in June 2008. The first book will be released Christmas 2008, with the second expected to be released the following year. [ [ Brand: 'Book will be about philosophy'] ] [ [ Brand signs £1.8 million book deal] ]


Brand recorded The Beatles song "When I'm Sixty-Four" with Grammy Award-winning composer David Arnold for the 40th anniversary of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band". He contributed two songs to the soundtrack of the 2008 film "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" as part of the fictional band, "Infant Sorrow." [cite web|title=HMV|url=;-1;-1;-1&sku=797475]

Personal life

Brand lives in Hampstead, London. [14 July 2007 – "The Russell Brand Show" on BBC Radio 2] He is a big fan of The Smiths and, in particular, their ex-frontman Morrissey, so much so that he has a cat of the same name. He has been a vegetarian since the age of 14, [cite news | url= | title= Interview with Russell Brand | publisher=The Observer | date=2006-06-18 | accessdate=2008-04-14 ] does yoga and Capoeira. [ [ Russell Brand to get tattoo of a castrated rooster on his back | Celebrity News | Now Magazine ] ] Brand is a fan of West Ham United and has a season ticket. His love of football is a big part of his life; he claims it is "intrinsically about my relationship with my father." [ Interview - LIVE Magazine, 29th July 2007 ] He dresses in a flamboyant bohemian fashion describing himself as looking like an "S&M Willy Wonka." ["Friday Night with Jonathan Ross" – [12 May 2006] He has bipolar disorder. ["]

He is a former heroin addict, sex addict, alcoholic and has had numerous run-ins with the police, having been arrested 11 times for public indecency. [ [ This charming man] , interview between Brand and The Observer] During the time of his addiction, he was known for his debauchery, a notable example being his ejection from The Gilded Balloon, in Edinburgh. [ [ Pleasance, Edinburgh] , review by The Guardian. Brand attended Hockerill Boarding School (now called Hockerill College) from 1980 to 1984.] He has abstained from drug use since 2003 and is now a patron of the addiction charity "Focus 12". [ [ Focus 12] ] His abandonment of drugs and alcohol was instigated by his agent John Noel. [ [] .] He did so with the help of the Hare Krishnas, to whom he feels "indebted". [ [,,1989933,00.html Pendennis] at The Guardian]

Brand dated Australian actress Teresa Palmer between May and September 2008. [ [,23663,23978096-10388,00.html?from=public_rss Teresa Palmer woos British comic Russell Brand] ] [,26278,24346632-5013560,00.html]


trivia|date=October 2008.
*Time Out
**2006 Best Stand-Up [ [ 20th Time Out Live Awards Winners - Comedy] by Time Out]
**"Most Stylish Man of the Year 2006" [ [ McCartney is GQ's Man of the Year] at BBC News]
**"Least Stylish Man of the Year 2007" [ [ Bond actor is 'most stylish' star] at BBC News]
**"Least Stylish Man of the Year 2008" [ [ Russell Brand named 'worst-dressed man'] at Digital Spy]
*Loaded Laftas 2006
**"2006 Funniest Man" [ [ Loaded Laftas] ]
*British Comedy Awards
**"Best Newcomer 2006" [ [ Little Britain's big win] ]
*33rd Annual Television and Radio Awards Broadcasting Press Guild
**"Best Television Performer In A Non-Acting Role" [ [ Broadcasting Press Guild] ]
*PETA Europe
**"Europe's Sexiest Vegetarian 2006" [ [ Fearne Cotton and Russell Brand Voted 'Sexiest Vegetarians'] by PETA]
**"Europe's Sexiest Vegetarian 2007" [ Fiona Phillips and Russell Brand Named PETA Europe's Sexiest Vegetarian Celebrities of 2007] by PETA]
**"World's Sexiest Vegetarian 2007"
*Channel 4's 100 Greatest Stand-Ups
**69th in Channel 4's 100 Greatest Stand-Ups programme
*The Sun
**"Shagger of the Year 2006"
**"Shagger of the Year 2007"
*British Book Awards
**"2008 Biography of the Year" [ [ 2008 Biography of the Year] ]
*University College Dublin
**"James Joyce Award"

elected works

TV appearances

*"Friday Night with Jonathan Ross" (2006, 2007 twice, 2008)
*"Rob Brydon's Annually Retentive" (2006)
*"Soccer AM" (2006)
*"Secret Policeman's Ball" (2006)
*"The Big Fat Quiz of the Year 2006" (2006)
*"Teenage Cancer Trust Benefit" (2007)
*"The Culture Show" (2007)
*"The Paul O'Grady Show" (2007)
*"Dawn French's Boys Who Do Comedy" (2007)
*"Have I Got News For You" (2007)
*"The Graham Norton Show" (2007)
*"The Big Fat Quiz of the Year 2007" (2007)
*"" (2008)
*"The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" (2008 three times)
*"The Late Show with David Letterman" (2008)
*"Late Night with Conan O'Brien" (2008)
*"Jimmy Kimmel Live" (2008)
*"The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" (2008)

DVD releases

* "Russell Brand: Live" (2006)
* "Russell Brand: Doing Life" (2007)
* "Russell Brand's Ponderland" (2008)
* "The Russell Brand Collection" (2008)
* "Russell Brand And Noel Fielding Live" (2008) []


*"St Trinian's" (2007) as Flash Harry
*"Penelope" (2008) as Sam
*"Forgetting Sarah Marshall" (2008) as Aldous Snow
*"Bedtime Stories" (2008) as Mickey
*"Get Him to the Greek" (2009) as Aldous Snow ["Richard & Judy" – July 11 2008]
*"Bad Father" (2009) as Unknown ["The Russell Brand Show (radio show)" – September 6 2008]
*"The Tempest" (2010) as Trinculo [ [ Shakespeare Gets A Sex Change}]


* "Russell Brand: Live" (2006)
* "Russell Brand: Doing Life" (2007)
* (2008)
* "My Booky Wook" (audiobook version) (2008)
* "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" - 40th anniversary re-recording (TBA)


*"My Booky Wook" (2007)
*"Irons in the Fire" (2007)
*"Articles of Faith: My Season" (2008)

Further reading

*cite book |title= My Booky Wook|last= Brand|first= Russell|year= 2007|publisher= Hodder & Stoughton.|location= London|isbn= 978-0340936153
*cite book |title= Russell Brand|last= Carey|first= Tanith|year= 2007|publisher= Michael O'Mara Books|location= London|isbn= 978-1843172406
*cite book |title= Russell Brand: Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know|last= Stone|first= Dave|year= 2007|publisher= John Blake Publishing|location= London|isbn= 978-1844543960


External links

* [ Russell Brand's website]
*imdb name|id=1258970|name=Russell Brand
* [ Russell Brand's BBC Radio 2 show homepage]
* [ Russell Brand's BBC Radio 2 Blog]
* [ Russell Brand's BBC 6 Music show homepage]
* [ Focus 12 Charity]

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