Heard of him?
Does cheeky British comedian and celebrity activist trying to promote world peace, yoga and Transcendental Meditation ring a bell?
If you are British, you definitely have. In fact, Brand has become a bit like Marmite (the English ‘version’ of Vegemite). You either love him or hate him, it’s as simple as that.
His highly silly, energetic, and often comically aggressive approach to sharing his opinions and wisdoms can make even the most skilled yogis amongst us to lose our zen at times.
Following his debates often seems similar to watching a father and son arguing over modern vs. classic rock.
But regardless of what angle he’s coming from, one thing is for certain and that is that Brand is speaking his mind. He is being honest and, often, he’s saying what a lot of us are thinking but either afraid or unable to articulate.
I didn’t like the Brand who was an addict and slept around, a-lot. However, the one with noble principles who takes a stand against world poverty, I LOVE!
Especially after having the pleasure of seeing him live (centre fourth row!) at the Opera House last Friday night for his Trew World Order Tour.
Russell Brand is one of the most entertaining live performers you will, ever, see.
He is thought-provoking, satirical, sexy, self-deprecating, exciting, and wacky – and all at the same time!
The best part about Brand, however, is the love that radiates from him.
He spends a good 20 minutes of the show mingling with the audience, hugging grown men, and even giving cougars a moment they will never forget. Yes, that’s me in the photo!!!
During his performance he hecklers the crowd and enthusiastically informs us we can be part of the change. It is totally inspiring.
It is strange to think that I first came across Russell in the movie Forgetting Sarah Marshall and all I can recall is: “What a weirdo!”
Then he became a yoga junkie and married Katy Perry. I was intrigued.
By the time he made his foray into political (and often satirical) commentating, my interest was fully piqued.
Since 2009, Brand has been causing quite a stir in the world of activism: He spoke to the press at the G-20 London summit protests in 2009; he is a supporter of the Hoping Foundation and has openly stated that voting is a waste of time; and in 2012 he spoke to the Parliament Addiction Committee about his experiences with drugs, urging them to view addiction as a health condition rather than a criminal predilection.
Between February 2014 – August 2015, Russell targeted the state of modern politics through his daily YouTube show The Trews—in which Brand offered “the true news so you don’t have to invest any money in buying newspapers that charge you for the privilege of keeping your consciousness imprisoned in a tiny box of ignorance and lies”.
One of his episodes took American Fox News host Sean Hannity to task for the brusque way in which he questioned Jerusalem Fund executive director Yousef Munayyer on a recent broadcast of his show. This 111th episode has been viewed over 3 million times!
But Brand’s mission behind The Trews was not just to rip the media to shreds, it was about providing you with food for thought.
He also looked at the idea of branding by big corporations like McDonalds, noting that people used to know their suppliers personally—they knew the baker they bought their bread from, they knew the man behind the newspaper stand, etc. These days, the cheesy ads try to buy this familiarity, which many of us sadly buy into.
It’s not surprising that more and more people are rallying around what Brand has to say. Including me!
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that people are a lot more susceptible to the views of someone they can relate to, someone who speaks their language and is actually approachable.
The other alternative is people in suits who offer many empty promises. I know what I’d rather…