Not too long ago, the ever ruthless Paxman interviewed the infamous Russel Brand, serial shagger and general tabloid fodder. He’s always been far more cogent than people give him credit for – this interview shows his painfully quick and erudite mind, which is his prime strength as a comedian.
When being funny, he excels. This is more obvious when he’s talking with people, infinitely so when with other comedians. His verbosity is an asset to his comedy, his image built on the young Oscar Wilde dandy figure, a celebrity who doesn’t take his own celebrity too seriously at all – as well as his highly documented drug and sex addictions, he was fired from MTV for dressing up as Bin Laden the day after September 11th, and Sachsgate – we all know what happened there.
But oddly enough, when being serious, he seems utterly convincing, entrenched in a real discussion about the real Brand here with someone who, for once, takes him seriously.
His comments on narrative are interesting. It’s blindingly obvious that the uneducated chunk of the public who can’t or rather don’t read still desire some tantalising narrative to keep the clock ticking. We’re spoonfed tripe from the media, and a small insignificant event can spiral into the next ‘gate’, the most talked about, most scandalous thing since sliced bread. Take the Rooney saga for example. Love him or hate him, he’s a genius manipulator of the twisted modern age, contorting a transfer request into a pay rise.
At my graduation, theatre director and writer Declan Donnelan remarked, ‘don’t take you career seriously, but take your work seriously.’ Brand’s career is his image, the written in the tabloids celebrity – it’s what people see him as, what people sum him up as which he clearly takes with a pinch of salt (he has to).
I’ve stopped worrying about the word career, about what I do or my title or my position. If i take my work seriously, take what I do seriously and forget everything else, perception, conjecture and opinion, then maybe everything else will fall into place.
It certainly has for Brand, I guess time will tell.
n.b – I must at this point credit my good pal Sam Stockley for bringing this interview to my attention. He very generously recently published me in his Uni zine which promotes the latest talent in the creative realm. Check it out at http://www.ballpointzine.co.uk