Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Oh dear Russell Brand, what have you done...

There I was listening to the Russell Brand podcast last week, and heard all those phonecalls he made to Manuel from Fawlty Towers about maybe shagging his granddaughter. The phone messages got worse and worse as Brand and Jonathan Ross tried to outdo each other in the mischief stakes and now their 'safe futures' is in doubt. They've been suspended from the BBC and there might be an investigation into harrassment and you have to wonder whether a mountain is being built out of a lump in the ground. Sure it was distateful and it got more cringey as the show progressed as they seemed to enter into a competition to outdo each other. But isn't the point of comedy to push the boundaries and challenge taboos. Maybe sometimes pushing those boundaries can go too far? Well, 18000 complainers think so. Whatever people think of Russell Brand and his apparent ego-ridden public persona, he is a funny talented man with a lot of charisma, and an excellent broadcaster. When you don't have to see him preen and play up to the camera, he is great. Now, he may have offended America with his spot-on if a little awkward political plea, and is now in books, movies, radio, television, risking over-exposure, so maybe the Brand bubble, cultivated for so long is ready to burst. I don't think it should be though. He's extremely funny and talented and it would be a shame to see this stall his career. Maybe he'll set his sights on one thing now rather than trying to conquer every media medium, and maybe he'll think twice about playing live ego games with other comedians constantly trying to outdo each other. If the comments had stayed between them it would have been fine, it's just that they have now reached someone's voicemail that suddenly people are out to villify him. His faults are evident and he's the first one to admit them, but maybe working for the establishment carries responsibility that he should take seriously. Although we shouldn't forget that the podcast was in the public domain for at least 9 days before the Mail on Sunday decided to make a fuss and use it in their crusade to make Brand the bad guy. So without Mail on Sunday fuss and the lucrative cash-ins that kiss-and-tells and exclusive interviews will no doubt throw up, god knows what the actual players involved think. In the meantime, I hope they don't take him off the air for this, as his Radio 2 podcast is one of the highlights of my listening week.

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