Russell Brand – 27 Oct Review
Russell Brand and 'controversial comedian' come hand-in-hand but shouldn't all comedians be at least a little controversial?
Fresh from his much talked about Newsnight appearance the precocious funny man hit the Last Laugh Comedy Festival at the City Hall with the ‘Messiah Complex’ tour. Brand is very good at his job, quick-witted, super clever and knows some really big words but from the start he has always been more than just a comic, unfortunately his fame and bad behaviour have over shadowed his talents.
Prior to the main attraction comedic poet Mr Gee got things off to a good start before an array of The Smiths songs were played but it was Marilyn Manson’s Personal Jesus which saw Brand bounce on stage oozing with charisma and an attention seeking white blazer.
‘Messiah Complex’, an illness where the victim truly believes that they are Jesus Christ, is Russell Brand toying with irony here? The long haired, tight leather jean wearing lothario paced up and down the stage like the most enthusiastic lecturer, wanting to teach a subject he knows better than anybody else, himself, confident without arrogance. His statements often get lost in gusts of bravado and idealism but don’t mistake him for a jester or fool, he not only believes in what he preaches (the political ones, not the jokes) but he can back them up too.
Early on Russell got amongst the Sheffield crowd, overly dressed women flung themselves at him whilst he gimmicked the city and culture in a way that came across well researched and endearing with plenty of ‘thee’s’ and ‘thou’s’ throughout the set as well as nods to localisms.
There’s a certain charm that the former junkie expresses, he’s self-deprecating as he constantly takes swipes at his own appearances as a political figure (on Newsnight/trips to Downing Street/voice of the people etc…) and the perception that the tabloids portray him. He understands that using words with many syllables and sporting cowboys boots and ripped jeans to a serious meeting with the Prime Minister is going to help him be taken seriously but he doesn’t have the powers to change the world but he is in the position to throw sensible (sometimes over-the-top) ideas out there.
Over the two hour set Brand talked about his heroes, Gandhi, Che Guevara, Malcolm X and Jesus Christ who spoke in great depth and passion about whilst comparing himself to each and everyone of them, in trivial ways but worded so eloquently that you bought in to it. There was even a moral to the show, ‘Pick Your Own Hero Or Society Will Choose One For You’, a positive message that had an underlying message of how unimportant he seems himself in a world full of any-bodies and nobodies.
The comedian took jibes at David Cameron, the Daily Mail, the Jesus Christ in-which the Americans believe in (he spoke in length about how the religious figure is being used as a mask for homophobia) and the GQ Awards reaction.
Two hours of constant unstoppable laughter and learning, Brand might have just hit his peak on this, his fourth stand up tour. If you missed out I highly recommend you get tickets when he returns to the City Hall in March.
The comedian closed the set, following his Jesus segment re-enacting the image of the cross and he did it frighteningly well, a gasp of ‘did that really just happen’, followed by a rapturous applause.
Words: Matty Pinder
Sheffield City Hall