A GREAT BRITISH BRAND

Like many strong brands, Russell Brand divides opinion. It’s easy to deride him. Just choose your epithet. Libidinous lightweight. Naive dilettante. Political poseur. Amoral chancer. Degenerate Essex Boy. You can belittle him but it’s difficult to ignore him. As a degenerate Essex boy myself, I like him. He’s a great British brand that others could learn from.

Brand’s latest show, Messiah Complex is a riot. It’s a whirlwind of wild thinking interspersed with cock jokes. It’s phallocentric philosophising. Brand wants you to think – more deeply and more originally. He wants you to see the superficial, banal nonsense that surrounds you for what it is.

He’s seeking something more conscious and more spiritual and he wants to take you with him. Coming from partially reformed enfant terrible Russell Brand, the irony weighs heavy. It’s a huge part of what makes the show funny. Brand undercuts the potential for hypocrisy with brilliant self-mockery and faux bombast.

Russell Brand is unique. He has created a very successful composite of personae and the result is a very recognisable media presence. The satyr. The horny little devil. The naughty boy. The fop. The witty wordsmith. The cheeky Essex bloke. The actor. The subversive prankster. The well-read Bohemian. The rock n’ roll court jester. The intellectually curious observer.

Brand is all of these things and he is able to modulate between them while remaining utterly ‘Russell Brand’. Like him or not, you always know what you’re going to get. Sex, hedonism, mischief, wit, words, ideas. Now that’s what I call a set of brand values.

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