Russell Brand facts for kids
Quick facts for kidsRussell Brand
Brand in 2011
|Russell Edward Brand
4 June 1975
Grays, Essex, England
Russell Edward Brand (born 4 June 1975) is an English comedian and actor known for his flamboyant, loquacious style and manner. Brand has received three British Comedy Awards: Best Newcomer (2006), Best Live Stand-Up (2008), and the award for Outstanding Contribution to Comedy (2011).
After beginning his career as a comedian and later becoming an MTV presenter in the UK, in 2004 Brand gained a role as the host of Big Brother's Big Mouth, a Big Brother spin-off. In 2007, he had his first major film role in St Trinian's, and the following year he landed a major role in the romantic comedy-drama Forgetting Sarah Marshall; the film led to him starring in a spin off, the rock comedy Get Him to the Greek, alongside Jonah Hill in 2010. He also worked as a voice actor in the animated films Despicable Me in 2010, Hop in 2011, and Despicable Me 2 in 2013, and played the title character of the 2011 remake of the romantic comedy Arthur. In 2013, he released the successful stand-up special Messiah Complex.
Since guest-editing an edition of British political weekly New Statesman in 2013, Brand has become known as a public activist and campaigner, and has spoken on a wide range of political and cultural issues, including wealth inequality, corporate capitalism, climate change, and media bias. In 2014, he launched his political-comedy web series The Trews, released a book entitled Revolution, and began work on a documentary about financial inequality with Michael Winterbottom.
Over the course of his career, Brand has been the subject of frequent media coverage and controversy for his political views, his outrageous behaviour at various award ceremonies, his dismissal from MTV and resignation from the BBC, and his two-year marriage to American singer Katy Perry. He has incorporated many of his controversial public acts into his comedic material. A biographical documentary called Brand: A Second Coming was released in 2015.
Russell Edward Brand was born in Orsett Hospital in Grays, Essex, England. He is the only child of Barbara Elizabeth (née Nichols) and photographer Ronald Henry Brand. Brand's parents separated when he was six months old, and he was raised by his mother.
When Brand was 8, his mother was diagnosed with uterine cancer and then breast cancer one year later. While she underwent treatment, Brand lived with relatives. When he was 14, he suffered from bulimia nervosa. When he was 16, he left home because of disagreements with his mother's partner.
Brand made his theatrical debut at the age of 15 in a school production of Bugsy Malone, and then began work as a film extra. Brand attended Grays School and in 1991, he was accepted to the Italia Conti Academy and had his first year of tuition funded by Essex County Council. After his first year at Italia Conti Academy, Brand was expelled for poor attendance.
Brand performed stand-up at the Hackney Empire New Act of the Year final in 2000. Although he finished fourth, his performance attracted the attention of Bound and Gagged Comedy Ltd agent Nigel Klarfeld. That year, he also made his Edinburgh Festival Fringe debut as one-third of the stand-up show Pablo Diablo's Cryptic Triptych, alongside ventriloquist Mark Felgate and Anglo-Iranian comic Shappi Khorsandi. In 2004, he took his first one-man show, the confessional Better Now, to the Edinburgh Festival. He launched his first nationwide tour, Shame, in 2006. Brand drew on embarrassing incidents in his own life and the coverage about him in the tabloid press. The show was released on DVD as Russell Brand: Live. Brand appeared in a sketch and performed stand-up at Amnesty International's Secret Policeman's Ball in 2006 and again at the 2012 edition at Radio City Music Hall.
In March 2007, he co-hosted an evening of the Teenage Cancer Trust gigs with Noel Fielding. In December 2007, Brand performed for Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip as an act in the 2007 Royal Variety Performance. His second nationwide tour, in 2007, was called Russell Brand: Only Joking and released on DVD as Russell Brand: Doin' Life. Brand began performing in the US, and recorded a special for Comedy Central titled Russell Brand in New York, which aired in March 2009. Brand began touring the UK, America and Australia from January to April 2009 on a tour called Russell Brand: Scandalous. In October, a further four dates that were performed in November were added to raise money for Focus 12.
In 2013, Brand presented and toured his comedy show Messiah Complex, in which he tackled advertising and the portrayal of his heroes, such as Gandhi, Guevara, Malcolm X and Jesus, and how he is, in comically contrived ways, similar to them.
In January 2017, Brand announced his new tour Re:Birth, which debuted in April 2017 and was meant to go through November 2018. However, on 30 April 2018, he was forced to cancel the remaining dates after his mother was critically injured in a hit-and-run accident. Russell Brand: Re:Birth, which was filmed in London in April 2018, was released as a standup comedy film on Netflix on 4 December 2018.
Over the years, Brand has named Richard Pryor, Bill Hicks, Peter Cook, Lenny Bruce, Tony Hancock, Jack Kerouac, Stewart Lee, Tenacious D, Eddie Murphy, and Monty Python among his comedic influences. In choosing one comedy film among his five favourite movies he picked Monty Python's Life of Brian. In 2009 he appeared in the television documentary, Monty Python: Almost the Truth (Lawyers Cut).
Brand's first presenting role came in 2000 as a video journalist on MTV: he presented Dancefloor Chart, touring nightclubs in Britain and Ibiza, and hosted the tea-time request show Select. Brand was fired several days after coming to work dressed as Osama bin Laden the day after the 11 September 2001 attacks. After leaving MTV, Brand starred in RE:Brand, a documentary and comedy television program that aimed to take a challenging look at cultural taboos. It was conceived, written, and hosted by Brand, with the help of his comic partner on many projects, Matt Morgan. The series was shown on the now-defunct digital satellite channel UK Play in 2002.
In 2004, he hosted Big Brother's Eforum on E4, a sister show to Big Brother 5. The show gave celebrity guests and the public the chance to have their say on the goings-on inside the Big Brother house. For Big Brother 6, the show's name changed to Big Brother's Big Mouth. Following Celebrity Big Brother 5, Brand said he would not return to host the Big Brother 8 series of Big Brother's Big Mouth. In a statement, Brand thanked all the producers for "taking the risk of employing an ex-junkie twerp" to front the show. Of his time presenting the show, he said, "The three years I've spent on Big Brother's Big Mouth have been an unprecedented joy". Brand hosted a one-off special called Big Brother According to Russell Brand, in which Brand took a surreal, sideways look at Big Brother through the ages. On 8 January 2008, Brand was the fifth celebrity to "hijack" the Big Brother house, in the E4 show Big Brother: Celebrity Hijack.
Brand next returned to MTV in the spring of 2006 as presenter of the chat show, 1 Leicester Square, which had its broadcast time revised to allow for a more adult-oriented theme. Guests included Tom Cruise, Uma Thurman, The Mighty Boosh, and Boy George, and a second series began in September 2006 on MTV. After Big Brother 7 finished, Brand presented a debate show called Russell Brand's Got Issues, on E4. The viewing figures for the first episode were seen as disappointing, being beaten by nearly all of E4's main multi-channel rivals, despite a big publicity and promotional campaign for the show. The poor ratings prompted the network to repackage the show as The Russell Brand Show and move it to Channel 4. The first episode was broadcast on 24 November on Channel 4, and it ran for five weeks.
Brand presented the 2006 NME Awards. He hosted the 2007 BRIT Awards and presented Oasis with an "Outstanding Contribution to Music" award at the event. He also hosted one hour of Comic Relief. On 7 July 2007, he presented at the UK leg of Live Earth at Wembley Stadium, London.
On 12 December 2007, BBC Four aired Russell Brand On the Road, a documentary presented by Brand and Matt Morgan about the writer Jack Kerouac and his novel On the Road. Brand returned to Channel 4 to host Russell Brand's Ponderland, in which he discussed topics like childhood and science through stand-up comedy. The show first aired on 22 October 2007 and continued for the next five nights. A second series began on 30 October 2008. The show ran for 12 episodes over the two series. Brand was later announced as the host of the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs), which drew scepticism from the American media, as he was relatively unknown to the American public. Brand's appearance led to controversy for numerous reasons. He said the night "marked the launch of a very new Britney Spears era", referring to it as "the resurrection of [Spears]". He also said, "If there was a female Christ, it's Britney". Brand implored the audience to elect Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and later called then–U.S. President George W. Bush "a retarded cowboy fella", who, in England, "wouldn't be trusted with scissors". He also made several references to the purity rings worn by the Jonas Brothers, but apologised for the comments later in the show.
His comments at the 2008 MTV VMAs led to Brand receiving death threats from some offended viewers. Brand claimed that MTV asked him to host the 2009 awards after the ratings for the 2008 show were 20 percent higher than the previous year. Also in 2008, Brand hosted a one-off stand up comedy show called Comedy Live Presents: Russell Brand and Friends, which was shown on Channel 4 on 25 January 2008. Brand returned to host the 2009 MTV VMAs, on 13 September 2009, at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. The ratings for the 2009 show were the best since the 2004 VMAs. On 12 February 2011, Brand guest hosted an episode of the hit American sketch comedy Saturday Night Live. In 2012 he hosted the MTV Movie Awards and Brand X with Russell Brand, a late-night talk show on FX that received lukewarm reviews and middling ratings. The show was cancelled in 2013 after running for two seasons.
In 1994, while still a teenager, Brand appeared in episodes of The Bill and the children's adventure series Mud. In 2002, Brand appeared on the TV shows Cruise of the Gods and White Teeth. In 2005, he played Tommy in the BBC sitcom Blessed, which was written and directed by Young Ones co-writer Ben Elton. In 2007, Brand appeared in Cold Blood for ITV, playing an ex-con called Ally. Brand played Terry in the pilot for the ITV comedy The Abbey, written by Morwenna Banks. He voiced an Earth Guardian in Robbie the Reindeer in Close Encounters of the Herd Kind. Brand appeared in a small role in the 2006 movie Penelope; although his first major film role was as Flash Harry in the 2007 film St Trinian's.
Brand achieved American fame when he starred in the 2008 film Forgetting Sarah Marshall, in which he played rock star Aldous Snow, the boyfriend of the title character (played by Kristen Bell). Brand received rave reviews for his performance as Snow, and he revealed the character was changed from an author to a rock star because of his audition. Brand starred alongside Adam Sandler in the Disney film Bedtime Stories, which was released on 25 December 2008. He reprised the role of Aldous Snow for a buddy comedy titled Get Him to the Greek, co-starring Jonah Hill. He reunited with Forgetting Sarah Marshall director Nicholas Stoller and producer Judd Apatow for the film.
Brand starred in Julie Taymor's 2010 version of William Shakespeare's The Tempest, as Trinculo. In 2010, Brand voiced Dr. Nefario in the Universal movie Despicable Me, and reprised the role in the 2013 sequel. Brand also guest starred in The Simpsons episode "Angry Dad: The Movie" as himself. Brand also starred in the April 2011 live action/CGI animated film Hop with James Marsden, voicing the film's protagonist E.B. Hop opened at number one at the Friday box office in the US, earning $11.4 million. The same month, he played the title character in a remake of Arthur, written by Peter Baynham, which was a box office disappointment. Brand starred as Lonny in a film adaptation of the 1980s-set musical Rock Of Ages, released in cinemas in June 2012.
After appearing as William Carr in the Diablo Cody film Paradise (2013), Brand went on hiatus from acting. His return role was as Creek in the DreamWorks animated film Trolls (2016), followed by his portrayal of God in the comedy Army of One (2016) with Nicolas Cage. In 2018 and 2019, he portrayed Sports X Network founder Lance Klians in a recurring arc In the last two seasons of the HBO series Ballers. Brand appeared as Tristan Trent in the 2020 fantasy film Four Kids and It, and in 2022 played Linus Windlesham in Kenneth Branagh's remake of Death on the Nile.
Other projects Brand has been tied to include a remake of Drop Dead Fred, an Adam Sandler-produced film about a con-man posing as a priest tentatively entitled Bad Father, co-written by Brand and Matt Morgan; and a film adaptation of the children's television programme Rentaghost a project that was picked up by Fox Studios in 2011 with Ben Stiller attached.
As of October 2008, Brand's own production company is called Vanity Projects. The company's most recent production, Russell Brand Doing Life, was released in 2009.
Brand also established his own production company in 2011 with friend Nik Linnen. Called 'Branded Films', the company operates from the Warner Bros. studios in Burbank, California, United States. The company's primary focus is to develop films that Brand stars in.
Brand's radio career began in early 2002, when he hosted a Sunday afternoon show with Matt Morgan on London's Indie Rock station Xfm. In 2005, Brand co-hosted three one-off shows on BBC Radio 6 Music with Karl Pilkington. Brand then co-hosted The Russell Brand Show beginning in April 2006 on BBC Radio 6 Music. In November 2006, the show transferred to BBC Radio 2 and aired on Saturdays from 9–11 pm. The show regularly drew about 400,000 listeners.
Brand and Noel Gallagher hosted a one-off football talk show on 19 April 2009 for Talksport. Brand returned to Talksport on 9 October 2010, with a Saturday night show that lasted 20 weeks. The show featured clips and back-stage recordings from his Booky Wook 2 promotional tour. Brand was joined by a host of guests, including Noel Gallagher and Jonathan Ross.
On 25 February 2015, Brand launched a twice-weekly podcast called The Russell Brand Podcast through audioBoom. The podcast reunited Brand with his radio presenting team of Matt Morgan and poet Mr Gee. The podcast ended after 24 episodes. In 2017, Brand launched a new podcast called Under the Skin with Russell Brand in which he interviews guests from areas such as academia, popular culture and the arts.
Talk show host
Beginning 2012, Brand hosted Brand X with Russell Brand, a late-night talk show on FX that received lukewarm reviews and middling ratings. The show was cancelled in 2013 after running for two seasons.
From 2006 until 2009, Brand wrote a column for The Guardian sports section that focused on West Ham United and the England national football team. A collection of the columns from 2006 and 2007 was released in 2007 in his book Irons in the Fire.
Brand's first autobiography, My Booky Wook, was released on 15 November 2007 and received favourable reviews.
Brand signed a £1.8 million two-book deal with HarperCollins in June 2008. The first book, Articles of Faith, examined Brand's philosophy and consisted of a collection of his columns from The Guardian that first appeared there in 2007 and 2008. The book was published on 16 October 2008, and also includes Brand interviewing Noel Gallagher, James Corden, and David Baddiel about football. The second book for HarperCollins, Booky Wook 2: This Time It's Personal, was Brand's second autobiography and was released on 30 September 2010.
Brand has written articles for The Guardian that offer his perspectives on current events and pop culture, including the deaths of Amy Winehouse and Robin Williams. Following the 2011 London riots, Brand wrote a column in which he criticised the government's response to the riots in Summer 2011 as a failure to address the root causes.
Brand made his children's book debut in November 2014 with Russell Brand's Trickster Tales: The Pied Piper of Hamelin. It is the first instalment of an intended series, featuring illustrations by Chris Riddell. In The Guardian, reviewer Lucy Mangan noted: "The on-Brand need to be noticed is there on every page, his unwillingness to get out of the way of the story tripping the reader up at every turn" and adding that Chris Riddell's illustrations "give the book a beauty it does not deserve and a coherence the text does not deliver".
His book Revolution, in which Brand develops his earlier ideas, was published by Random House in October 2014 and received much publicity. Nick Cohen of The Observer called Brand's writing "atrocious: long-winded, confused and smug; filled with references to books Brand has half read and thinkers he has half understood." On the other hand, Steve Richards in The Independent commented: "Brand writes and speaks with verve, words flowing effortlessly and musically. The contrast with the tame wooden prose of elected politicians is marked."
In September 2017, Macmillan published Brand's book Recovery: Freedom from Our Addictions. His next book, Mentors: How To Help and Be Helped, was published in January 2019. It deals with the people who have had a positive impact on his life and encourages us to look to others to become better individuals.
2009–2012: Early interventions
In January 2009, Brand participated in a celebrity letter to The Independent—as a supporter of the Hoping Foundation—to condemn Israel's assault on Gaza, and the "cruel and massive loss of life of the citizens of Gaza". In February 2009, Brand and several other entertainers wrote to The Times in defence of leaders of the Baháʼí Faith, who were on trial in Iran at the time. In April 2009, he attended the 2009 G-20 London summit protests and spoke to the press.
Brand was selected by the Dalai Lama to host the Buddhist leader's 2012 youth event in Manchester. The Dalai Lama's representatives explained that Brand was selected because he had proved "the power of spirituality to effect change in his own life", while Brand stated to the BBC after the event: "I said yes because he's the living incarnation of Buddha and I thought, if you're around the Dalai Lama, that can only be good for your spiritual quest through life. He's an amazing diplomat, an incredible activist, a wonderful human being and an inspiration to us all."
2013: New Statesman, Newsnight
Brand has appeared frequently as a campaigner for serious issues. In June 2013 he appeared in a video in support of Chelsea Manning.
On 23 October 2013, Brand was interviewed by Jeremy Paxman for the BBC's Newsnight in which he disparaged the British political system as ineffectual and encouraged the British electorate not to vote. He was challenged about his call for "revolution" and whether someone who had never voted could edit a political magazine. When asked by Paxman what a revolution would look like, Brand replied:
A socialist egalitarian system based on the massive redistribution of wealth, [with] heavy taxation of corporations...I think the very concept of profit should be hugely reduced...I say profit is a filthy word, because wherever there is a profit there is also a deficit.
Brand guest-edited a special issue of the New Statesman that was published on 24 October 2013 and explored the theme of Revolution, and in which he explained his objection to the destruction of Earth through greed and exploitation, and called for a change in consciousness to accompany political and economic measures to achieve a more sustainable future. A few days later Nick Cohen in The Guardian commented about Brand: "He writes as if he is a precocious prepubescent rather than an adolescent: a child, born after the millennium, who can behave as if we never lived through the 20th century."
In November that year Brand joined the Anonymous Million Mask March in London that protested against "cuts, corruption and an increase in state surveillance".
Brand launched his YouTube series The Trews: True News with Russell Brand on 27 February 2014, in which he "analyses the news, truthfully, spontaneously and with great risk to his personal freedom." In addition to news analysis, he regularly has guests on the show, including economists, journalists and activists. By the end of the year, more than 200 episodes had been released on the channel. The show was halted for nearly a year as he decided to be away from social media to focus on his personal and professional growth.
In June 2014, he took part in the People's Assembly Against Austerity, that attracted an estimated 50,000 people marching from the BBC office to Westminster. Brand addressed the crowd, saying, "The people of this building [the House of Commons] generally speaking do not represent us, they represent their friends in big business. It's time for us to take back our power. Power isn't there, it is here, within us. The revolution that's required isn't a revolution of radical ideas, but the implementation of ideas we already have."
In September 2014, Brand lent his support to the Fire Brigades Union, giving a speech at the union's rally against cuts in London and asking the public to support the firefighters.
In a November 2014 YouGov poll, involving a selection of celebrities, Brand was chosen as the one with the most negative influence on political debate (46%). The poll also found that 60% of poll participants disliked him and 28% liked him.
On 2 December 2014, Brand joined East London residents to protest over the increase in rents at the New Era housing estate. During a protest for the New Era residents, Channel 4 News reporter Paraic O'Brien continually pushed Brand to answer questions about the value of his own property, which is rented. The line of questioning irritated Brand, who ended up calling the reporter a "snide"—the short clip went viral on YouTube.
The film documentary Brand: A Second Coming, which reflects on Brand's journey into political activism, premiered at the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, Texas, in March 2015. Brand and director Michael Winterbottom worked together to produce a documentary, The Emperor's New Clothes, that had its international premiere on 24 April 2015 at the Tribeca Film Festival. The film features archival footage with appearances by Brand in London and New York City, examining the financial crisis of 2007–2008 and global economic inequality. The documentary is produced by Brand's Revolution Films company and distributed by StudioCanal UK.
Brand has been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and bipolar disorder. He also suffered from bulimia. Brand has described the concept of fame as "like ashes" in his mouth.
Brand used to be a Buddhist; speaking to The Guardian in 2017 he said he believes in a higher power as described by Alcoholics Anonymous. Brand has shown interest in the Hare Krishna Movement and wrote in a 2007 Guardian column: "I say Hare Krishna as often as possible, sometimes even when I'm not being filmed". Additionally, during an interview on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in October 2010, Brand talked about his love of Transcendental Meditation (TM). This love of TM was reaffirmed in a 2013 New Statesman editorial he wrote: "Through Transcendental Meditation, twice daily I feel the bliss of the divine..... I connect to a boundless consciousness that has no palpable relationship with my thoughts, fears or desires." He has also gravitated towards Christian spirituality and practice by daily reciting the Lord's Prayer and attempting to have Christ consciousness.
In 2011, Brand served as best man at Noel Gallagher's wedding to Sara MacDonald.
Since 2016, Brand has been training in the martial art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and has earned a purple belt in the discipline. He credits the art with improving his life in several ways.
Brand first met American singer Katy Perry in mid-2009. They began dating after meeting again at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards in September. The two became engaged on New Year's Eve 2009 during a holiday in India, and married there on 23 October 2010 in a Hindu ceremony, near the Ranthambhore tiger sanctuary in Rajasthan.
In October 2011, Brand and Perry announced via Twitter that they had switched to a vegan diet after watching the documentary Forks Over Knives which explores ways that plant-based diets can reduce risks for cardiovascular disease and other chronic conditions. On 30 December 2011, Brand filed for divorce, citing irreconcilable differences, which was finalised in July 2012. Perry's July 2012 autobiographical documentary, Katy Perry: Part of Me, revealed that conflicting career schedules and Perry not feeling ready to have children led to the end of their marriage. Perry later said in an interview that Brand did not like the idea of her "being the boss" of things, and that the last time she had heard from him was on 31 December 2011, when he text-messaged that he was divorcing her.
Days after his divorce was finalised, Brand said in an interview with Howard Stern that he was extremely in love with Perry, but after marrying her realised "this isn't really working out ... I was really, really in love with her, but it was difficult to see each other ... it mostly didn't work for practical reasons." Brand, who married Perry without a prenuptial agreement, was eligible to claim half of the estimated $44 million she earned during their marriage, but declined.
From 2013 to 2014, Brand was in a relationship with Jemima Goldsmith (f.k.a. Khan), an editor of the New Statesman, and a daughter of financier James Goldsmith. Brand and Khan ended their relationship in September 2014.
Since 2015, Brand has been in a relationship with Scottish blogger and former restaurateur Laura Gallacher, whom he had dated on and off since 2007. Gallacher is the sister of television presenter Kirsty Gallacher. Their first daughter Mabel was born in November 2016. Brand married Gallacher in Henley-on-Thames on 26 August 2017. In July 2018, Brand and Gallacher had a second daughter named Peggy.
|Forgetting Sarah Marshall
|Get Him to the Greek
|Dr. Nefario (voice)
|E.B. (voice) / Production Assistant
|Rock of Ages
|Katy Perry: Part of Me
|Despicable Me 2
|Dr. Nefario (voice)
|Brand: A Second Coming
|The Emperor's New Clothes
|Army of One
|Four Kids and It
|Tristan Trent III
|Death on the Nile
|Minions: The Rise of Gru
|Dr. Nefario (voice)
|Catherine Called Birdy
|Suitor from Kent
|Episode: "Land of The Blind"
|Episode: "The Peculiar Second Marriage of Archie Jones"
|Cruise of the Gods
|Woolly Hat Fan
|A Bear's Christmas Tail
|Big Brother's Big Mouth
|Celebrity Big Brother's Big Mouth
|Russell Brand's Got Issues
|The Big Fat Quiz of the Year
|Russell Brand's Ponderland
|2008 MTV Video Music Awards
|2009 MTV Video Music Awards
|Big Time Rush
|Episode: "Big Time Beach Party"
|Saturday Night Live
|Episode: "Russell Brand/Chris Brown" (Season 36)
|2012 MTV Movie Awards
|Brand X with Russell Brand
|Episode: "The Health Guru"
|British Comedy Awards
|33rd Annual Television and Radio Awards
|Best Television Performer in a Non-Acting Role
|British Comedy Awards
|Best Live Stand-Up
|Variety's Power of Comedy Award
|British Comedy Awards
|Outstanding Contribution to Comedy
|GQ Men of the Year Awards
|Foot in Mouth Award
- Live (20 November 2006)
- Doing Life – Live (26 November 2007)
- Scandalous – Live at the O2 (9 November 2009)
- Live in New York City (21 November 2011)
- Messiah Complex (25 November 2013)
In Spanish: Russell Brand para niños
Russell Brand Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.