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Russell Brand protests pending eviction with residents and supporters from the New Era housing estate in East London in 2014. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Russell Brand protests pending eviction with residents and supporters from the New Era housing estate in East London in 2014. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Russell Brand protests pending eviction with residents and supporters from the New Era housing estate in East London in 2014. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Nobody’s going to accuse English comedian and actor Russell Brand (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Arthur) of being a wallflower these days, but he wasn’t always so confident and outspoken. He grew up feeling alienated, driving him to seek fame and fortune, which he thought would translate into happiness. In a monologue for his American talk show BrandX, he said before he was famous, people treated him like this complete oddball. But when he started to get paid for his antics, saying the same things he had been saying all along, people started to listen to him. Fame didn’t bring him the salvation that he had sought, ultimately making him reevaluate his decisions and lifestyle choices. Sure, sometimes he may have gotten it wrong, but in honor of his 40th birthday today (June 4) here’s him getting it right:

• On animal rights: “How we treat the vulnerable is how we define ourselves as a species.” (Source: We Women)

• On balance: “When it comes to your career, you must always try and allow the positive aspects of your character to dictate what happens to you. Be led by your talent, not by your self-loathing; those other things you just have to manage.” (Source: My Booky Wook)

• On revolution: “But before we change the world, we need to change the way we think.” (Source: NewStatesman)

• On not settling: “We are human beings. We can live gloriously. Gloriously! We can create magnificent worlds; we can pull down new realms. Don’t be sold off with the crumbs. Don’t accept the crumbs, no more. Because let me tell you, there are some people that are feasting on a banquet. If you’re unhappy with your life, you can do something about it. If you’re not unhappy, you’re cool, then I’m not talking to you.” (Source: TIME)

• On being sincere: “Come on, mate. Anyone can pull it off for ten minutes. I mean, I’m nice (on the show) for ten minutes.” (Source: CONAN)

• On respecting women: “I’m one of the best damn feminists ever there was, aren’t I?” (Source: The Russell Brand Podcast)

• On his preference of film, television or stage: “The thing I enjoy most is stand-up comedy because you’re direct with your audience. You can’t be misinterpreted. People can’t get confused. You know what happens if you work in media? People like to change the information so it suits a particular agenda. If you’re in a room with people then what you’re saying is clear.” (Source: MSNBC’s Morning Joe)

• On misrepresentation in the media: “A lot of this stuff, I don’t know where it comes from, Piers (Morgan). I’ve stopped reading stuff in the papers. I don’t even Google my name, and that was my favorite hobby. I don’t do it anymore. Gone. Forever.” (Source: Piers Morgan’s Life Stories)

• On etiquette: “You shouldn’t say ‘he’ when the person is present. You should refer to the person by their name. That’s basic good manners.” (Source: MSNBC’s Morning Joe)

• On choices: “We have been told that freedom is the ability to pursue petty, trivial desires when true freedom is freedom from these petty, trivial desires.” (Source: Revolution)

See More: 
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50 Sir Winston Churchill Quotes to Live By
30 Terry Pratchett Quotes to Guide You Through Life

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Filed Under: Russell Brand
By Brigid Brown