|Russell Edward Brand|
Brand at the premiere for Arthur in 2011
4 June 1975 |
Grays, Essex, England
|Medium||Stand-up, television, film, radio|
|Influences||Richard Pryor, Bill Hicks, Peter Cook, Lenny Bruce, Tony Hancock, Jack Kerouac, Stewart Lee|
(m. 2010–2011; divorced)
Russell Edward Brand (born 4 June 1975) is an English comedian, actor, radio host, and author.
In 2004, Brand achieved notoriety as the host of Big Brother's Big Mouth, a Big Brother spin-off. In 2007, he had his first major film role in St Trinian's. In 2008, he had a major role in Forgetting Sarah Marshall; the film led to a starring role in Get Him to the Greek in 2010. He also worked as a voice actor in the animated films Despicable Me in 2010, Hop in 2011, and Despicable Me 2 in 2013. He played the title character of the 2011 film Arthur.
Brand has received significant media coverage for controversies such as his dismissal from MTV, his controversial behaviour as a presenter at various award ceremonies, and his drug use. In 2008, he resigned from the BBC following prank calls he made to actor Andrew Sachs on The Russell Brand Show. He has incorporated his drug use, alcoholism, and promiscuity into his comedic material.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Career
- 3 Personal life
- 4 Filmography
- 5 Awards
- 6 Stand-up DVDs
- 7 References
- 8 Further reading
- 9 External links
Russell Edward Brand was born in Orsett Hospital in Grays, Essex, England. He is the only child of photographer Ronald Henry Brand and Barbara Elizabeth Nichols. Brand's parents divorced when he was six months old, and he was raised by his mother. He has described his childhood as isolated and lonely. When he was seven, a tutor sexually abused him. When Brand was eight, his mother contracted uterine cancer and then breast cancer one year later. While she underwent treatment, Brand lived with relatives. When he was 14, he suffered from bulimia nervosa. When he was 16, he left home because of disagreements with his ill mother's live-in partner. Brand then started to use illegal drugs such as cannabis, amphetamines, LSD, and ecstasy.
His theater debut was at the age of 15 in a school production of Bugsy Malone and began work as a movie extra. Brand attended Grays School Media Arts College and in 1991, he was accepted to the Italia Conti Academy and had his first year tuition funded by Essex County Council. After his first year at Italia Conti Academy, Brand was expelled for illegal drug use and poor attendance.
Brand performed stand-up at the Hackney Empire New Act of the Year final in 2000. Although he finished fourth, his performance attracted the attention of Gagged and Bound Comedy Ltd agent Nigel Klarfeld. That year, he also made his Edinburgh debut as one-third of the stand-up show Pablo Diablo's Cryptic Triptych, alongside ventriloquist Mark Felgate and Anglo-Iranian comic Shappi Khorsandi.
In 2004, he took his first one-man show, the confessional Better Now, to the Edinburgh Festival, giving an honest account of his heroin addiction. He returned the following year with Eroticised Humour. He launched his first nationwide tour, Shame, in 2006. Brand drew on embarrassing incidents in his own life and the coverage about him in the tabloid press. The show was released on DVD as Russell Brand: Live. Brand appeared in a sketch and performed stand-up at the 2006 Secret Policeman's Ball. In March 2007, he co-hosted an evening of the Teenage Cancer Trust gigs with Noel Fielding. In December 2007, Brand performed for Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip as an act in the 2007 Royal Variety Performance. His second nationwide tour, in 2007, was called Russell Brand: Only Joking and released on DVD as Russell Brand: Doin' Life.
Brand began performing in the US, and recorded a special for Comedy Central titled Russell Brand in New York, which aired in March 2009. Brand began touring the UK, America and Australia from January to April 2009 on a tour called Russell Brand: Scandalous. In October, a further four dates that were performed in November were added to raise money for Focus 12, the drug charity for which Brand is a patron. Russell Brand: Scandalous was released on DVD on 9 November 2009.
In November 2013 Brand released his latest stand up DVD Messiah Complex marking a difference in both tone and material as Brand takes on political themes.
Brand's first presenting role came in 2000 as a video journalist on MTV. He presented Dancefloor Chart, touring nightclubs in Britain and Ibiza, and hosted the tea-time request show Select. However, Brand was fired after coming to work dressed as Osama bin Laden the day after the 11 September 2001 attacks and bringing his drug dealer to the MTV studios.
After leaving MTV, Brand starred in RE:Brand, a documentary and comedy television program that aimed to take a challenging look at cultural taboos. It was conceived, written, and hosted by Brand, with the help of his comic partner on many projects, Matt Morgan. The series was shown on the now-defunct digital satellite channel UK Play in 2002.
In 2004, he hosted Big Brother's Eforum on E4, a sister show to Big Brother 5. The show gave celebrity guests and the public the chance to have their say on the goings-on inside the Big Brother house. For Big Brother 6, the show's name changed to Big Brother's Big Mouth. Following Celebrity Big Brother 5, Brand said he would not return to host the Big Brother 8 series of Big Brother's Big Mouth. In a statement, Brand thanked all the producers for "taking the risk of employing an ex-junkie twerp" to front the show. Of his time presenting the show, he said, "The three years I've spent on Big Brother's Big Mouth have been an unprecedented joy".
Brand hosted a one-off special called Big Brother According to Russell Brand, in which Brand took a surreal, sideways look at Big Brother through the ages. On 8 January 2008, Brand was the fifth celebrity to "hijack" the Big Brother house, in the E4 show Big Brother: Celebrity Hijack. Brand next returned to MTV in the spring of 2006 as presenter of the chat show 1 Leicester Square, which initially aired at 8 pm on Sundays before being shifted to a post-watershed time of 10 pm on Mondays, allowing for a more adult-oriented theme. Guests have included Tom Cruise, Uma Thurman, The Mighty Boosh, and Boy George. A second series began in September 2006 on MTV UK. After Big Brother 7 finished, Brand presented a debate show called Russell Brand's Got Issues, on digital channel E4. The viewing figures for the first episode were seen as disappointing, being beaten by nearly all of E4's main multi-channel rivals despite a big publicity and promotional campaign for the show. The poor ratings prompted the network to repackage the show as The Russell Brand Show and move it to Channel 4. The first episode was broadcast on 24 November on Channel 4, and it ran for five weeks.
Brand presented the 2006 NME Awards. At the ceremony Bob Geldof, who was accepting an award from Brand, said at the podium, "Russell Brand – what a cunt", to which Brand replied, "Really it's no surprise [Geldof]'s such an expert on famine. He has after all been dining out on 'I Don't Like Mondays' for 30 years". Brand hosted the 2007 BRIT Awards and presented Oasis with an "Outstanding Contribution to Music" award at the event. He also hosted one hour of Comic Relief. On 7 July 2007, he presented at the UK leg of Live Earth at Wembley Stadium, London.
On 12 December 2007, BBC Four aired Russell Brand On the Road, a documentary presented by Brand and Matt Morgan about the writer Jack Kerouac and his novel On the Road. Brand returned to Channel 4 to host Russell Brand's Ponderland, in which he discussed topics like childhood and science through stand-up comedy. The show first aired on 22 October 2007 and continued for the next five nights. A second series began on 30 October 2008, drawing more than a million viewers, and was broadcast every Thursday night for four weeks, plus a Christmas special that aired in December.
Brand was later announced as the host of the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards, which drew skepticism from the American media, as he was relatively unknown to the American public. Brand's stint as host of the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards created controversy. At one point, he said the night "marked the launch of a very new Britney Spears era", referring to it as "the resurrection of [Spears]". He also said, "If there was a female Christ, it's Britney". Brand implored the audience to elect Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and later called then–U.S. President George W. Bush "a retarded cowboy fella", who, in England, "wouldn't be trusted with scissors". He made several references to the purity rings worn by the Jonas Brothers, but apologized for the comments later in the show. These comments led to Brand receiving death threats by some offended viewers. Brand claimed that MTV asked him to host the 2009 awards after the ratings for the 2008 show were 20% up from the previous year. Also in 2008 Brand hosted a one off stand up comedy show called Comedy Live Presents: Russell Brand and Friends shown on Channel 4 on 25 January 2008. Brand hosted the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards on 13 September 2009, at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. The ratings for the 2009 show were the best since the 2004 VMAs. On 12 February 2011, Brand guest hosted an episode of the hit American sketch comedy Saturday Night Live.
In 2002, Brand appeared on the TV shows Cruise of the Gods and White Teeth. In 2005, he played Tommy in the BBC sitcom Blessed, which was written and directed by Young Ones creator Ben Elton. Brand auditioned for the part of Super Hans in the Channel 4 sitcom Peep Show; the role eventually went to Matt King. In 2007, Brand appeared in Cold Blood for ITV, playing an ex-con called Ally. Brand played a recovering crack addict named Terry in the pilot for the ITV comedy The Abbey, written by Morwenna Banks. He voiced an Earth Guardian in Robbie the Reindeer in Close Encounters of the Herd Kind. Brand had a small role in the 2006 movie Penelope, though his first major film role was as Flash Harry in the 2007 film St Trinian's. He did not reprise the role for the sequel, St. Trinian's II: The Legend of Fritton's Gold. He achieved American fame when he starred in the 2008 film Forgetting Sarah Marshall, in which he played Aldous Snow, the boyfriend of the title character (played by Kristen Bell). Brand received rave reviews for his performance as Snow, and he revealed the character was changed from an author to a rockstar because of his audition.
Brand starred alongside Adam Sandler in the Disney film Bedtime Stories, which was released on Christmas Day 2008. He reprised the role of Aldous Snow for a buddy comedy titled Get Him to the Greek, co-starring Jonah Hill. He reunited with Forgetting Sarah Marshall director Nicholas Stoller and producer Judd Apatow for the film. Brand had a role in Julie Taymor's version of William Shakespeare's The Tempest, as Trinculo. In 2010, Brand voiced Dr. Nefario in the Universal movie Despicable Me, and reprised the role in the sequel, in 2013. Brand also guest starred in The Simpsons episode "Angry Dad: The Movie" as himself. Brand also starred in the April 2011 live action/CGI animated film Hop with Kaley Cuoco, in which he voiced the film's title character and protagonist E.B. Hop opened at number one at the Friday box office in the US, earning $11.4 million. The same month, he played the title character in a remake of Arthur, written by Peter Baynham.
Brand starred as Lonny in a film adaptation of '80s-set musical Rock Of Ages, released in cinemas in June 2012. His other projects include a remake of Drop Dead Fred. Sandler has cast Brand in another film and will produce yet another, co-written by Brand and Matt Morgan, about a con-man posing as a priest; it is tentatively titled Bad Father. and he is also set to star as Fred Mumford in a film adaptation of the children's programme Rentaghost.
Brand also established his own production company in 2011 with friend Nik Linnen. Called 'Branded Films', the company operates from the Warner Bros. studios in Burbank, California, US. The company's primary focus is to develop films that Brand stars in.
Brand's radio career began in early 2002, when he hosted a Sunday afternoon show with Matt Morgan on London's Indie Rock station Xfm. Brand was fired from the job after reading pornographic material live on-air.
Brand co-hosted The Russell Brand Show beginning in April 2006 on BBC Radio 6 Music. In November 2006, the show transferred to BBC Radio 2 and aired on Saturdays from 9 – 11pm. The show regularly drew about 400,000 listeners. In an episode of the show broadcast on 18 October 2008, Brand and fellow Radio 2 DJ Jonathan Ross made a series of phone calls to actor Andrew Sachs that crudely discussed Sachs' granddaughter. Sunday tabloid The Mail on Sunday broke the story and regarded the phone calls as obscene. Both presenters were later suspended by the BBC due to the incident, and Brand resigned from his show. The BBC was later fined £150,000 by Britain's broadcast regulator for airing the calls.
Brand returned to talkSPORT on 9 October 2010, with a Saturday night show that lasted 20 weeks. The show featured clips and back-stage recordings from his Booky Wook 2 promotional tour. Brand was joined by a host of guests, including Noel Gallagher and Jonathan Ross.
Brand signed a £1.8 million two-book deal with HarperCollins in June 2008. The first book, Articles of Faith, examined Brand's philosophy and consisted of a collection of Guardian columns that were published between 2007 and 2008. The book was released on 16 October 2008, and also includes Brand interviewing Noel Gallagher, James Corden and David Baddiel about football. The second book, Booky Wook 2: This Time It's Personal, was released on 30 September 2010 and is Brand's first autobiography. Published by Hodder & Stoughton, the book was released on 15 November 2007 and received favorable reviews. Andrew Anthony from The Observer commented that "Russell Brand's gleeful tale of drugs and debauchery in My Booky Wook puts most other celebrity memoirs to shame".
From 2006 until 2009, Brand wrote a column for The Guardian that focused on West Ham United and the England national football team. A collection of the columns from 2006 and 2007 was released in a book entitled Irons in the Fire.
On 18 June 2013, the Business Insider website wrote about his appearance on the MSNBC program Morning Joe. The article was titled, "Comedian Russell Brand Humiliated These MSNBC Anchors On Live TV For Being Unprofessional." He appeared on the show to promote his comedy tour, Messiah Complex. Instead he interviewed the anchors and asked what they did for a living.
Brand was ejected from the GQ Awards show on 3 September 2013 after receiving the 'Oracle' award. In his acceptance speech he mentioned sponsor Hugo Boss's business making uniforms for the Nazi regime.
Newsnight and New Statesman
In October 2013, it was announced that Brand would guest-edit an issue of the New Statesman magazine later that month. On 23 October 2013, Brand was interviewed by Jeremy Paxman for the BBC's Newsnight and was challenged about his call for "revolution" and whether someone who had never voted could edit a political magazine.
In the issue of the New Statesman, published on 24 October 2013, Brand's essay explained his objection to the destruction of earth by greedy exploiters and called for a change in consciousness to accompany political and economic measures to achieve a more sustainable future. British commentator Joan Smith dismissed the "canny self-publicist" who indulges in "adolescent waffle about 'revolution'" as "one celebrity, I'm afraid, who's more idiot than savant." Former Independent editor Simon Kelner largely defended his appearance on Newsnight: "It sounded rather attractive, even if it wasn't exactly worked through. But Brand's rhetorical flourishes made up for the lack of detail".
Brand dresses in a flamboyant bohemian fashion, describing himself as looking like an "S&M Willy Wonka". He has been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and bipolar disorder. He has also suffered from bulimia and went through a period of self-harming. Brand has shown interest in the Hare Krishna Movement and chanted the Hare Krishna mantra for drug rehabilitation. During an interview on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in October 2010, Brand talked about his love of Transcendental Meditation. In a 2013 New Statesman editorial he wrote: "Through Transcendental Meditation, twice daily I feel the bliss of the divine. .... I connect to a boundless consciousness that has no palpable relationship with my thoughts, fears or desires."
Brand met Katy Perry in summer 2009 when she filmed a cameo for his film Get Him to the Greek (although the cameo did not make it into the final cut of the film). They began dating after meeting again in September 2009 at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards. Brand became engaged in December 2009 while on a holiday in India and got married on 23 October 2010 in a traditional Hindu ceremony, near the Ranthambhore tiger sanctuary in Rajasthan, India. After 14 months of marriage, Brand filed for divorce on 30 December 2011 in Los Angeles. After the couple had reached an agreement on financial issues, a judge granted the divorce request in February 2012.
In January 2009 Brand participated in a celebrity letter to The Independent (as supporters of the Hoping Foundation) to condemn Israel's assault on Gaza, and the "cruel and massive loss of life of the citizens of Gaza". In February 2009, Brand and several other entertainers wrote to The Times defending Bahá'í leaders then on trial in Iran. In April 2009, he attended the 2009 G-20 London summit protests and spoke to the press. He has been a long time defender of the Tibetan cause. In June 2013, Brand appeared in a video showing support for Chelsea Manning.
Substance abuse and legal issues
Brand is known for his heroin addiction and alcoholism. He has had numerous run-ins with the police, having been arrested 12 times. Brand was ejected from the Gilded Balloon in Edinburgh, and he introduced his drug dealer to Kylie Minogue during his time at MTV. He has abstained from drug use since 2003 and is now a patron of the addiction charity Focus 12. His abandonment of drugs and alcohol was instigated by his agent, John Noel, after Brand was caught taking heroin in a bathroom during a Christmas party. Brand cites his practice of Transcendental Meditation as a significant factor in his recovery from drug addiction.
On 16 September 2010, Brand was arrested on suspected battery charges after he allegedly attacked a paparazzo who blocked his and then-fiancé Katy Perry's way to catch a flight at the Los Angeles International Airport. The next day, he was released from custody after posting $20,000 bail. Footage of the incident was later sent to TMZ.
On 15 March 2012, an arrest warrant was issued for Brand in New Orleans after allegations that he had grabbed a photographer's mobile phone and threw it through a window. The paparazzo was taking pictures of him with an iPhone, when Brand wrestled it from him and tossed it into a law firm's window. The warrant was for "simple criminal damage to property". He handed himself in to the police, and also offered to reimburse the replacement of the window. Brand was in New Orleans, filming the movie Lamb of God.
|St Trinian's||2007||Flash Harry|
|Forgetting Sarah Marshall||2008||Aldous Snow|
|Get Him to the Greek||2010||Aldous Snow|
|Despicable Me||2010||Dr. Nefario||Voice|
|Hop||2011||E.B./"Hoff Knows Talent" Production Assistant||Voice/Live-action|
|Rock of Ages||2012||Lonny Barnett|
|Katy Perry: Part of Me||2012||Himself||Cameo
|Despicable Me 2||2013||Dr. Nefario||Voice|
|The Bill||1994||Billy Case||Land of The Blind|
|Mud||1994||Shane||Series 1 Episodes 1-6|
|White Teeth||2002||Merlin||The Peculiar Second Marriage of Archie Jones|
|Cruise of the Gods||2002||Glynn (Woolly Hat Fan)|
|A Bear's Christmas Tail||2004||Mr Wolf|
|A Bear's Tail||2005||Tony the Ringmaster|
|The Big Fat Quiz of the Year||2006, 2007, 2009||Himself|
|Cold Blood||2007||Ally Parkins|
|Big Time Rush||2011||Himself||Big Time Beach Party|
|Saturday Night Live||2011||Himself||Season 36, Russell Brand & Chris Brown|
|Brand X with Russell Brand||2012–2013||Himself||Host|
|Russell Brand: From Addiction to Recovery||2012||Himself||BBC Three Documentary|
|Time Out||Best Stand-Up||2006||Won|
|Loaded Laftas||Best Stand-Up||2006||Won|
|British Comedy Awards||Best Newcomer||2006||Won|
|33rd Annual Television and Radio Awards||Best Television Performer in a Non-Acting Role||2007||Won|
|British Comedy Awards||Best Live Stand-Up||2008||Won|
|Variety’s Power of Comedy Award||2010||Won|
|British Comedy Awards||Outstanding Contribution to Comedy||2011||Won|
|GQ Men of the Year Awards||Oracle||2013||Won|
- Live (20 November 2006)
- Doing Life – Live (26 November 2007)
- Scandalous – Live At The O2 (9 November 2009)
- Live in New York City (21 November 2011)
- "Monitor". Entertainment Weekly (1209/1210). 1/8 Jun 2012. p. 35.
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- Sean O'Neill Crime Editor. "Relative values: Russell Brand and his mother, Barbara". Women.timesonline.co.uk. Retrieved 17 January 2012.
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- "Shakespeare Gets A Sex Change". Empire. Retrieved 31 May 2010.
- Claudia Puig (10 December 2010), "Shakespeare gets lost in 'Tempest'". USA Today.
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- "Despicable Me (2010)". IMDb. Retrieved 18 December 2010.
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- BBC Fined for Lewd On-Air Pranks Yahoo News, 3 April 2009
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- "Comedian Russell Brand Humiliated These MSNBC Anchors On Live TV For Being Unprofessional". Business Insider. 18 June 2013. Retrieved 30 July 2013.
- Hyde, Marina (5 September 2013). "GQ award-winner Charles Moore cracks Russell Brand's 'Nazi' comment". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 September 2013.
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- "NEWSNIGHT: Paxman vs Brand - full interview". BBC Newsnight/youtube.com. 23 October 2013. Retrieved 25 October 2013.
- Brand, Russell (24 October 2013). "Russell Brand on revolution: "We no longer have the luxury of tradition"". New Statesman. Retrieved 25 October 2013.
- Joan Smith "Spare us the vacuous talk and go back to Hollywood ", The Independent on Sunday, 27 October 2013
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- Friday Night With Jonathan Ross – 12 May 2006
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- "Vaishnava blog feeds "Blog Archive" Russell Brand chants Hare Krishna mantra". Prabhupada.org. 22 February 1999. Retrieved 22 August 2010.
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- "Why Richard Dawkins is the best argument for the existence of God". New Statesman. Retrieved 27 October 2013.
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- "Katy Perry, Russell Brand finalise divorce". CBS News. 11 February 2012. Retrieved 17 June 2013.
- "We demand an end to the carnage in Gaza". Independent (London). 9 January 2009. Retrieved 23 May 2010
- "Stand up for Iran's Baha'is – Voices from the arts call for the imprisoned Baha'i leaders in Iran to receive a fair trial". The Times (London). 26 February 2009. Retrieved 23 May 2010
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- "Celeb video: ‘I am Bradley Manning’ - Patrick Gavin". Politico.Com. 20 June 2013. Retrieved 30 July 2013.
- Ellen, Barbara. "Interview with Russell Brand". The Observer. Retrieved 18 June 2006.
- Pleasance, Edinburgh, review by The Guardian.
- Brand, Russell. "Russell Brand on Heroin". Time Out Sydney.
- "Russell Brand: From Addiction to Recovery", BBC Three, 28 August 2012
- "Focus 12". Focus 12. 9 February 2010. Retrieved 31 May 2010.
- "Fashion". The New York Times. 20 March 2011.
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- 20th Time Out Live Awards Winners – Comedy by Time Out
- "Loaded Laftas". Loaded.co.uk. 27 May 2010. Retrieved 31 May 2010.
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- "Russell Brand to be honored at Variety's Power of Comedy". latimes.com. 10 November 10, 2010.
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- Brand, Russell (2007). Irons in the Fire. London: Hodder & Stoughton. ISBN 978-0-340-96136-0.
- Brand, Russell (2007). My Booky Wook. London: Hodder & Stoughton. ISBN 978-0-340-93615-3.
- Brand, Russell (2008). Articles Of Faith. London: HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-00-729881-5.
- Brand, Russell (2010). Booky Wook 2: This time it's personal. London: HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-00-729882-2.
- Carey, Tanith (2007). Russell Brand. London: Michael O'Mara Books. ISBN 978-1-84317-240-6.
- Stone, Dave (2007). Russell Brand: Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know. London: John Blake Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84454-396-0.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Russell Brand.|
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Russell Brand|
- Official website
- Russell Brand at the Internet Movie Database
- Brand's articles written for The Guardian
- Sex, Anarchy and Russell Brand by Joy Press, Salon, 9 April 2009
- Russell Brand Talks, Love, Sex, Ambition and Revolution by Caroline Frost, Herald Sun, 27 March 2009 (audio)
- Newsnight's Jeremy Paxman talks to Russell Brand about voting, revolution and beards. BBC Newsnight, 23 October 2013 (video)
|MTV Video Music Awards host
|MTV Movie Awards host