Russell Brand in New York City (2009)
Ok, it’s not quite a documentary and definitely not a movie, so forgive me for defying my own blog guidelines.... "Russell Brand in New York City" is exactly what the title is, an hour of Russell Brand’s stand up comedy, on stage in NYC, and sadly not up the standard which has quickly made him a budding comic star in Hollywood.
Brand burst out into North America last year with a one-two publicity punch of the scene stealing role in “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and before that the hosting gig on the 2007 Brit Awards and then after the 2008 MTV Music Video Awards hosting gig. So his stand up routine was worth the shot to watch and review.
Brand's persona takes precedent over the material, or perhaps I should say his persona is his material. His extravagant glam haircut and Freddie Mercury spandex identifies him more as a rockstar than a comedian. His confident stage swagger has the same self-confident superiority as a Liam Gallagher. So how he could possibly get away telling jokes without referencing himself.
The first 15mins understandably includes bit on his new fame from his role on “Sarah Marshall” and his MTV bit. So it’s a mix of self-referential mockery and false British overconfidence.
Despite his reputation as a bad boy, his material is surprisingly tame and uninspired – much of it out of comic stand up 101. British people get knocked around a bit, same with the same old Brit-American cultural differences. Apparently he got fired from an early MTV gig when he dressed up as Osama Bin Laden the day after 9/11. That’s not particularly funny, but certainly risky. There’s little risk taken in this New York gig.
"Russell Brand In New York City" is available on DVD from Paramount Home Entertainment