Thursday, June 20, 2013

Russell Brand Brilliantly Exposes The Emptiness of American TV News/Talk Hosts/Anchors

Gryphen had this video posted over at Immoral Minority. 

It's amazing video.  Russell Brand is a comedian I'd never heard of.  He's on Morning Joe, an MSNBC Talk Show promoting his tour Messiah Complex.  They treat him like a bimbo.  Turns out he's sharper and more aware than all three of them and turns the whole process upside down.  He chastises them  for objectifying him and for talking about him in the third person as though he weren't there.  He literally exposes the shallowness of what they're doing.  This is especially clear when he talks about the theme of his tour:
RB:  I'm talking about Malcolm X, Che Guevara, Gandhi, and Jesus Christ and how these figures are significant culturally and how their icons are appropriated to designate consciousness and meaning, particularly posthumously.  
Q:  And what brings all those people together?
RB:  They're all people that died for a cause, they're all people whose icons are used to designate meaning, perhaps not in the manner in which they intended.
Q:  That sounds dead serious.
RB:  [Hard to hear but sounds like "It's a lot funnier when I do it as comedy on stage."
Q:  Can't we get like 30 seconds now?
RB:  Not really love, this is my work. (hard to hear exactly because the third host is saying, and pointing, "Gandhi, go."

This is the point where we get a direct hint at the depth of Brand's thinking.  The hosts are simply not up to his level of adult seriousness.  But while they slip back into silliness, he calls them on it.  And he does it so politely, and with a big smile.  And as they fall apart, he takes over as an anchor and starts doing their job for them. 

I was watching him thinking how vapid these hosts were and this whole nonsense he has to go through to promote his show in the US, thinking about which way to take this, then deciding to say directly what he's thinking about what they're doing to him (and us the audience.)  Did they do any preparation for this interview?  They have no idea of who this man is. He turns this into a brilliant expose/satire.

This is what people should be doing all the time - articulately, politely, and with humor pulling of the facade of all the bullshit we deal with daily.  But not many people have the wit and stage presence to pull it off.    

It made me think of The Newsroom.  I only saw the first episode online of this satire series on television news.  But here is Russell Brand doing it on a real television newsy/talk show.  


  1. I was never a fan of his until I saw him on Rosie once. He really is, funny, and devastatingly to the point. I bet his show is terrfic, and far more important than anything done on cable 'news.'

  2. Well, this really reflects poorly on American news entertainment then, as Mr Brand is considered a bit of a bad-boy raconteur in the UK -- less than fully mature, shall I say?

    He is smart; I will grant him that. Perhaps that's where the others in the room were simply out-gunned, to use a oddly appropriate American expression.

  3. Anon, He certainly nailed them in this video.

    Jacob - I did look at a couple of his videos on line. He walks a fine line at times, but he's basically right on the mark about some things I think are important - like distinguishing between the facade and what it hides. Why "Bad boy?" Because he shows how ridiculous 'respected names' really are? What he did in the video was incredible, particularly so because it was spontaneous. Sure, these are themes he's discussed before, but you just watch him as he assesses the situation and how he reacts. Calling them out for talking about him in the third person was great. They didn't seem to get it and did it again. And the discussion of the icons being used for purposes counter to what they stood for - an issue I've been concerned about for a while. Well more than just icons, also the ripping off of indigenous people's art and names for mascots, car names, design, etc. He's hitting critical issues.


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