Tuesday 12 December 2017

Critics pan Russell Brand's comedy circuit revival

Russel Brand
Russel Brand

Amy Willis

RUSSELL Brand’s hotly-anticipated revival on the comedy circuit was hanging in the balance last night after critics in America panned the show, dismissing it as humourless and uncomfortable to watch.

The British performer, who divorced singer Katy Perry earlier this year, opened the 30-minute show with a segment on meeting the Dalai Lama earlier this month.

“Why isn’t there an American or British Dalai Lama?” Brand crowed, swiftly followed by a declaration that Charlie Sheen and Kim Kardashian act as spiritual equivalents in America.

The show, shown at 11pm on the US FX channel, transcended into a personal rant about religion which television critics said left an uncomfortable “ocean of silence” from the audience.

At one point audience members awkwardly held their head in their hands as Brand’s tirade touched on Jewish and Muslim partnerships, and circumcision.

“There isn’t a precedent about Muslims and Jews not getting off,” he said, and as the audience remained muted, he jumped up saying: “You’re allowed to laugh at that. Are you worried because of Islam because of the under current of that global holy war that we are meant to be scared of? Don’t be scared about that global holy war, it isn’t real. It doesn’t matter about Jews or Muslims or Christians or nothing.”

His straight-faced jest about not knowing the roles of Alan Greenspan or Warren Buffett also appeared lost on the American audience.

“Is he called Greenspan? And is he called Buffett?” Brand asked, seemingly bewildered by the two major financial figures.

But much of the criticism came from Brand’s decision not to feature guests on the show, instead choosing a half-way point between stand up comedy and a talk show.

On Twitter viewers called it the “worst show” to air on American television, saying “Other talk shows have celebrity guests. Brand X with Russell Brand has a host talking about meeting celebrities.”

Twitter: Ryan Benjamin - thirty seconds in and Brand X is already the most unfunny show i've ever seen

Twitter: Vaughn Fry - Other talk shows have celebrity guests. BrandX with Russell Brand has a host talking about meeting celebrities. #Fail

Since moving to America, Brand has featured in several roles in Hollywood films including Rock of Ages, Get Him to the Greek and Arthur but this was the first time American viewers have seen the comic on stage doing stand up.

Asked about how he expected American audiences to react to the show before it aired, he said: "I imagine they will say, he is quite warm and sweet. But chaotic."

Brand X will be shown in the US on Thursdays on FX for at least six episodes, after that it is unclear whether the network will continue the programme.


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