Russell Brand returns to stand-up on TV's "Brand X"

Thu Jun 28, 2012 8:03am EDT
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(The story contains sexual reference in the fifth paragraph)

By Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - He's played an out-of-control rocker in Hollywood movie "Get Him to the Greek" and a drunken playboy in "Arthur," but in his first U.S. television show, Americans will see raucous British comedian Russell Brand as they haven't before - doing stand-up.

Brand returns to his roots in new show "Brand X," a late-night, once-a-week program debuting on the FX network on Thursday. It shows off the comedian's sexually charged humor, as well as his more serious take on spirituality, consumerism and celebrity culture in front of a live audience.

"I love doing stand-up because you have a direct interaction with the audience. There is no mediation, no script, no direction. It is my great love. What is it other than telling the truth to human beings that are identical to me?" Brand told Reuters.

Inspired by topical events and filmed in a small, nightclub-like studio north of Los Angeles four days ahead of broadcast, "Brand X" finds the ex-husband of pop singer Katy Perry in reflective and provocative form.

No target is off limits for the 37-year-old, whose discourse in Thursday's first episode begins with an account of his recent meeting with the Dalai Lama (Brand is an ardent disciple of transcendental meditation) and takes in Charlie Sheen, circumcision, Mel Gibson, Oprah Winfrey, oral sex, the media, Nietzsche, capitalism and hiccups in under 30 minutes.

Audience participation and off-the-cuff mockery also play a part in the show that the FX basic cable network says brings "an unmistakably irreverent attitude" to its late-night programming.

"The main thing I am interested in is the difference in the way information is portrayed and the truth behind that information," Brand said of his themes.   Continued...

British actor Russell Brand arrives at the Hollywood FX Summer Comedies Party in Los Angeles, California June 26, 2012. REUTERS/Gus Ruelas