When I told people I was going to see Russell Brand’s live stand up show I would get one of two reactions. The first being “oh awesome, I love him I’m so jealous”, and the second being “why would you do that?” followed by a face like they just ate something gross and a statement of how much they dislike him. There are a lot of things that people say are black and white, you either love them or hate them, and usually I tend to disagree. I find there’s room for grey area in almost anything. But I have yet to meet someone who has a neutral opinion on Russell Brand.
I find when people tell me they don’t like him, it’s often because they don’t realize what kind of a person he actually is. Russell has this reputation for being edgy, and he is, but he’s moved on from the big hair persona that most people associate with him. (Here I am talking about him like I know him. Whatever, I’m not going to stop.) Russell as of late, and particularly if you read his books, acknowledges the fact that he his not perfect, revels in it even, and from that imperfection he is able to draw comedy from the world and I think that is beautiful.
But the thing people really don’t realize about him is the fact that he is actually quite smart. He thinks deeply about human issues, politics, religion, and maybe his views are not something everyone in the world agrees on but At least he’s making an effort.
Brand has a way of making you laugh (I automatically typed “making out” there, Freudian slip be damned) and also making you think. His show Brand X does that to an extent, and his stand up show on this tour takes it to the next level.
I left the show not only recalling certain parts that made me laugh until I couldn’t breathe, but also sparking religious and philosophical discussions with the people who attended the show with me.
It takes talent to do that, and it takes smarts. I may not go so far as to say that Russell Brand is a genius, but only because I’m afraid his ego does not need any more boosting.