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Russell Brand on the BBC's Newsnight
Russell Brand on the BBC's Newsnight
Russell Brand on the BBC’s Newsnight

Comedians sometimes like to think of themselves as agents of social change, because they have seen through the commonly-handed down myths of society, and realize that a good percentage of them are hooey. Then presented their findings in the form of comic monologues.

But there aren’t that many of them that are prepared to be roasted on current affairs TV shows for their beliefs without throwing in a few one-liners and generally trying to lark their way out of trouble.

The astonishing thing about this interview Russell Brand gave to the BBC’s Newsnight last night, to discuss having been asked to guest edit the political magazine New Statesman, is that he very quickly drops out of being a comedian in the sense of playing around, zagging when you expect a zig, dropping a cheeky wink for the camera and flirting with his host.

The more lofty and bemused Jeremy Paxman appears to be, the angrier Russell becomes, and the clearer and sharper his focus, until what is coming out of his mouth at the end is a preposterously fast, unremittingly clear stream of reason that is enormously engaging—whether you agree or not—and crucially, not funny at all.

(Note: There are also moments that are NSFW, and indeed enormously politically provocative, as you’d expect)

And, even more unusually for a 10-minute long video that rapidly becomes a supercharged monologue, the end comes far too soon.

See more:
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By Fraser McAlpine