Russell Brand and Jim Piddock in What about Dick, 2012 (above)
He’s a narcissistic, preening, puerile, hyperactive, attention-seeking fame whore. But I love him. Partly because Russell Brand is the first person to tell you all of the above, but also because that’s only the half of it.
…Above all, though, he’s a walking, talking contradiction. Who else delivers such smart and humorous ruminations using the most grandiose and antiquated language, but in the broadest and crudest of Essex accents? Who else spends so many waking hours feeding his own ego, yet spends an equal number seeking oneness with the universe through Eastern philosophies and practices? Who else suffers from such severe ADHD and yet is so engaged in the one-on-one conversations he’ll have with literally anyone?
Like many others, I wasn’t predisposed to like Russell Brand before I knew him. But he turned out to be one of the very few people I’ve ever worked with—and that list is a veritable who’s who of film, television, and stage comedians—about whom I wouldn’t hesitate to use the “genius” epithet. I only wish I were that clever, bold, funny, and eloquent. But casting aside petty envy for a moment, I admit that I love Russell for being a larger-than-life, splendidly confounding concoction of enfant provocateur, Buddhist, intellectual, sinner, and moral compass. And when I look around and see all the dishonest, uncaring, fear-driven jerks out there (yes, even in show business!), I can’t help thinking we need more Russell Brands in the world.
Just not too many more.
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