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Confessions of a Russell Brand superfan My obsession hasn't been entirely straightforward


September 22, 2023   3 mins

I have been obsessed with Russell Brand since I was 11. I thought he stole the show in St Trinian’s and again in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. I decided not to vote long before I legally could after he told Paxman he couldn’t be bothered. And I listened religiously to his podcasts and watched his YouTube channel since the late 2010s. That said, it hasn’t been an entirely straightforward obsession. Things turned a bit sour during his Messiah Phase. I felt foolish when he called for a real revolution, confused when he married Katy Perry on an elephant, and then deeply embarrassed when he had Ed Miliband round to tea. There followed a brief cooling-off period during which I registered to vote.

The two years I spent forgetting Brand coincided with him slipping off the radar. But it wasn’t long before he was back in the public eye — and in my life. Before the divide between establishment and anti-establishment became as unbridgeable as it is today, Brand hosted a podcast called “Under The Skin” in which he interviewed smart and thoughtful guests including Jordan Peterson, Yuval Harari, Sam Harris, Lena Dunham and Ekhart Tolle. Although his style could grate a little, with his unnecessarily long words and irksome innuendoes, the show was often fascinating. Brand’s engaged curiosity led the guests in unexpected directions.

It was 2020 when my wavering fandom solidified into something more concrete. For those of us who looked around and saw no rhyme or reason to the policies bringing our lives to a standstill, who couldn’t understand why anti-lockdown protests of thousands of people in the streets of London were barely mentioned in mainstream news, Brand was a breath of fresh air. There was such a scarcity of public figures questioning the Covid narrative that lockdown sceptics like me were willing to overlook almost all and any character defects when someone voiced an unorthodox opinion. I embraced all the Covid heretics, even those with a slightly unhinged “us and them” mindset. Over the years, however, I had grown weary of all my lockdown “heroes”. All of them, except Russell Brand.

2020 was quite the gateway drug, turning even reasonable people hyper-paranoid. And as Covid policies became a thing of the past, Brand’s channel made the transition from Covid Sceptical to Everything Sceptical. But what set Brand apart from the other “dissenters” was his surprising lack of anger. The monologues on the interests of Big Pharma, the Dutch farmers’ uprisings and BlackRock corruption were passionate and energetic but they were not vitriolic. Although the titles of his videos were cartoonishly clickbaity (e.g. “Shoespiracy EXPOSED: The HIDDEN Truth Of The Shoe Industry”), they were surprisingly un-prescriptive when compared to the monologues of, say, Tucker Carlson. Brand kept them open-ended and his sign-off was always similar, asking the audience to come to their own conclusions based on whatever information he was offering. Some argue that this was a calculated tactic meant to beguile and convince — but conspiracists are hungry for affirmation of their theories, not open-ended invitations to keep thinking.

Brand might have been noisy, but there was a sanguine note to him. You’d never see him doxxing people on Twitter, nor blubbing about the state of the world like Peterson. Brand’s message was of self-actualisation, as opposed to doom and gloom. Unlike Peterson, who seems to enjoy telling us that “the most fundamental reality is pain”, whose joyless prescriptions and nagging about room-tidying have become headache-inducing, Brand’s whole schtick was defiant cheerfulness. This detached zen-like quality was not present in the Noughties, nor in 2013 when he was convincing me not to vote. It was something Brand has cultivated over years.

I was, after all, not alone in being drawn in: he has 6.63 million followers on his YouTube channel. He was, and always has been, brutally open. His threshold for embarrassment is low which means two things: one, he has on occasion been quite embarrassing; two, he is never too proud to admit he has changed his mind. Few people in the public eye so brazenly U-turn — as he did over voting in 2015 — unless there is something to gain. And not many would willingly set fire to their establishment credentials in the way that Brand did at the beginning of this decade. Before he set up his “conspiracy channel”, Brand was a guest editor at the New Statesman, had a column at The Guardian and was voted world’s fourth most influential speaker by Prospect.

Since then, the YouTube channel has charted his rocky redemptive path. He speaks often of his sex addiction, his heroin addiction, his eating disorders, his exhibitionism and the guilt he feels for past wrongdoings. But today it seems that his past nastiness plumbed even greater depths than he confessed. Last year, Dave Chappelle coined the phrase “honest liar” when trying to explain Trump’s appeal. It might also help to decipher the hold Brand has over his diehard followers.


Panda La Terriere is a freelance writer and playwright.


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Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
10 months ago

I honestly can’t understand why someone would be an RB fan. His 80s glam rock look was creepy, he wasn’t even remotely funny. Why women would find the guy attractive is a mystery to me. I never hated him, but never liked him. I never listened to his podcast. His movies were dreadful. Each to their own I guess.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
10 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

“…Why women would find the guy attractive is a mystery to me…”

But they do. I agree with your sentiments, but it’s a mystery to you (and me) because we’re not female. And it’s very obviously not purely fame that makes him attractive to women, it’s some variety of ‘je ne sais quoi’. My guess is (and it is only a guess) that many of the Brand women (but by no means all) ‘summoned the demon’, then were alarmed that the demon did what demons do, and now after a bit of a delay are calling on the priesthood to exorcise the demon.

MJ Reid
MJ Reid
10 months ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

I am a woman and don’t understand how any woman with at least half a brain can find him attractive. He is immature and revels in this behaviour as it would seem his fans encourage it. The few times I have seen him on the TV, it is like watching teenage boys trying too hard to be funny, which is embarrassing when it is actual teenagers, but simply cringe making when it is an adult. The off button is the only adult response.

David Morley
David Morley
10 months ago
Reply to  MJ Reid

Wrote my comment before I read yours, but you’ve hit the nail on the head. Precisely the things that put you off him are those which will appeal to certain types of damaged women.

David Morley
David Morley
10 months ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Why women would find the guy attractive is a mystery to me


He has mummy appeal.

Predators who come across like grown men are in trouble when they get caught. But if you’re good at playing the poor wickle boy who deep down is just very vulnerable and hurt and has ADHD and drug problems, and can’t help being naughty, and the nasty grownups (who don’t understand me like you do, mummy) are angry with him: you’ll have the sob sisters lining up.

Last edited 10 months ago by David Morley
Amy Harris
Amy Harris
10 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

I personally don’t know any woman who finds Brand attractive but I guess the media has found all the ones who do and given them carte Blanche to bang on about him. It’s very odd, manipulative, obsessional and unnerving.

David Morley
David Morley
10 months ago
Reply to  Amy Harris

I’ve met both – the ones who like him and the ones who cringe. It’s a small group, and it’s not clear what the difference is. It’s not simple stupidity, but perhaps a tendency to narcissism and general gullibility.

Narcissists are drawn both to celebrity and conspiracy theories – it makes them feel special and tapped into something lesser mortals don’t “get”. The whole “wellness” thing he got into is a bit of a hotbed of narcissism too. As is cod spirituality and guru mania.

As to his practical success – making women feel really special while actually treating them like pieces of meat does seem to be a real winner with some women. Doubtless such women were drawn to Brand and he became pretty good at spotting them.

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
10 months ago
Reply to  Amy Harris

Russell Brand was clearly attractive to a great many women when he was younger. It used to be said ‘Nice/posh girls like a bit of rough before they settle down’, a bit of adventure, a short walk on the wild side, and I think he fitted the bill. I found his self deprecating humour amusing. I did laugh when he described his fall from grace at MTV. I enjoyed his political incorrectness. In the past, whenever there was a tragedy, a short while later the first bad taste joke would be circulating, I think it was a peculiarly English/ British way of coping. I was never a fan of Russell Brand and never watched many of his comedy routines. I never heard him be derogatory about women and was horrified by his treatment of Andrew Sachs, but I do think it requires a certain kind of personality to stand up to the mainstream, to argue against the prevailing narrative. The government seems to have no control over the civil service despite the (supposed) role of the civil service to serve the people by implementing government policies. Personality-wise, Russell Brand is the opposite of those BBC and C4 employees who claim they had to act on his wishes because he was the one with the power even though they felt like they were pimping for him, he delights in taking on the powerful. If Russel Brand does go to prison, I wouldn’t be surprised if he contributed to the great works written in prison. He seems to have a gift for making something positive out of negative experiences.

David Morley
David Morley
10 months ago

It used to be said ‘Nice/posh girls like a bit of rough before they settle down’

The thing is – he’s not even very convincing as a “bit of rough”. More like a spoiled mummies boy used to getting what he wants.

And do we know that the girls he targeted were rich/posh?

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
10 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

A bit of rough was generally a metaphor for working class. I was talking about the females who were attracted to him. Obviously, I don’t actually know what women found attractive about him, I am conjecturing, but I do know that private school girls used to delight in a bit of rough, found it thrilling especially if a little criminality was thrown in. Maybe times have changed, though I believe there are many women who find rappers attractive, street men generally associated with criminality. As to what kind of women Russell Brand found attractive, I suspect apart from them being physically attractive, he was indiscriminate.

Last edited 10 months ago by Aphrodite Rises
David Morley
David Morley
10 months ago

I know. I was a working class lad . The white working class has lost its cool status since then, with the black male taking their place. There’s actually some quite nasty stuff tied up in that about social class, taboos about women mating down, symbolic “soiling” and animality.

Well covered in literature and film eg. Belle de Jour. The book makes the class stuff, and the link to degradation even more explicit. Also Loulou and Streetcar.

Enjoying your posts btw.

Last edited 10 months ago by David Morley
David Morley
David Morley
10 months ago

If Russel Brand does go to prison, I wouldn’t be surprised if he contributed to the great works written in prison. 

Mein Kampf?

or would that be: mein kampfy wampfy

Last edited 10 months ago by David Morley
Steve Murray
Steve Murray
10 months ago
Reply to  Amy Harris

“carte Blanche”?
Must be the one from A Streetcar Named Desired

Last edited 10 months ago by Steve Murray
John Solomon
John Solomon
10 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Very good!

elaine chambers
elaine chambers
9 months ago
Reply to  Amy Harris

I’m baffled as to why anyone would find him attractive. And rest assured any man I meet who wants mummying get sent straight back to his mummy.

hayden eastwood
hayden eastwood
10 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Once upon a time, when I was at school in Zimbabwe in the 1990s, a senior boy described to me how he’d wolf-whistled at a sexy lady visiting the school. The lady reported him to the headmaster, who then beat the 14 year old until he bled.

The school at that time was a looking glass into England of a bygone era. And yet, the more I watch modern society, the more I see that era re-emerge in a mutated form.

And the fact that this is so indicates, in my view, that the culture war has been thoroughly won by the “progressives”.

Why do I say this? 

20 years ago, when conservative beliefs still had some sway, progressives and their captured institutions (like the BBC) celebrated transgression of the last standing mores as a good in and of itself. 

The BBC aggressively gave two fingers to the old world: “listen here you old stuffy has-beens! Your archaic world view is out! The new one is in, our one!”

That end goal is the only possible explanation for why someone as vulgar and without talent as Brand could be promoted and tolerated as comprehensively as he was.

Now that cultural regime change is complete, the new order does what all new orders do: it kills the useful idiots who fomented the revolution to begin with. 

Brand’s vulgarity was celebrated as “edgy” and “hip” when there was an old guard to destroy. Now that it has been destroyed he’s just another lecherous creepy man doing what men in power do.

What we are witnessing is the reassertion of those core progressive values that overlap with conservative ones:

Both sides agree that men are sexual animals that must be prevented from acting on their disgusting impulses through threats and punishment.

Both sides agree that women give out sex because of men’s power over them and not because they enjoy sex.

Both sides agree that women have limited agency in decision making.

There are of course some key differences. Victorians believed men could be redeemed through self sacrifice and the pursuit of gentlemanly ambitions.

The woke, on the other hand, believe men are biologically irredeemable until the end of time, even as they argue that there are no real differences between men and women.

We unfortunately see, alongside this expression of new power, the total absence of self awareness and self regulation. 

The Guardian illustrates this in tragic abundance: It went from condemning with incredulity the wrongful 20 year imprisonment of Andrew Malkinson (exonerated of rape through DNA evidence), to calling for Russell Brand to be found guilty on the basis of accusation alone, all in about a week.

The paper was (and is) unable to see that its message of “believing all women” is precisely why Andrew Malkinson was imprisoned to begin with.

It wants the virtue of both mutually exclusive outcomes: of siding with massively-empowered-girl-boss-shrinking-violets, and of standing with the wrongfully accused, even when the former directly causes the latter.
That is the sorry state we’re in.

Last edited 10 months ago by hayden eastwood
Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
10 months ago

Some good observations here. Also interesting to see how the once progressive voice can later fall foul of the censor.
I have recently been rather amused by the appearance of trigger warnings on various channels that repeat comedy series of a bygone era. They warn viewers that these programmes ‘reflect the language and attitudes of the time they were made’ and that ‘some viewers may find this content offensive’. A conversation with a younger person revealed the viewpoint that ‘its no different to warnings on the news’. Well, apart from the fact that news footage is real death and destruction happening to real human beings and that might actually be jarring to watch.
Annoying enough that they pop up in the Benny Hill Show (if you don’t like it, change channel), but more recently, this form of censorship-lite has been applied to shows including Till Death/In Sickness and in Health and even The Comic Strip Presents films. No quarter has been given for the fact that these programmes were satirising the very things from that era that are now subject to trigger warnings. Particularly made me chuckle about the Comic Strip, whose cast included hardcore lefties and avowed Marxists, such as Keith Allen and Alexi Sayle. Of course, the early Comic Strip films were superbly crafted and well observed. Unlike Mr. Brand, they have stood the test of time.

Rick Lawrence
Rick Lawrence
10 months ago

“Both sides agree that men are sexual animals that must be prevented from acting on their disgusting impulses through threats and punishment.
Both sides agree that women give out sex because of men’s power over them and not because they enjoy sex.
Both sides agree that women have limited agency in decision making.
There are of course some key differences. Victorians believed men could be redeemed through self sacrifice and the pursuit of gentlemanly ambitions.”
There must be more than 2 sides then because I do not agree with these statements.

Robbie K
Robbie K
10 months ago

Always gratifying when the comments are better than the original article.

Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
10 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

He’s quite conventionally handsome and I suspect he has a large tickling stick. All shaggers that I have ever known have big tickling sticks. It makes them supremely confident and that confidence is what all the women said shaggers slept with were attracted to. Sorry to be rather base about this, but I have seen this so many times.
As an aside, if his number of conquests is to be believed, that puts him up there with the likes of Lemmy from Motorhead. Now Lemmy could never really be considered handsome, but he certainly had something that the ladies were looking for and he handled a very large Rickenbacker without breaking a sweat. Added to that, Lemmy wrote Ace of Spades, Bomber and Killed by Death, whereas Mr. Brand wrote My Booky Wook. This makes Mr. Brand’s achievements all the more remarkable.

David Morley
David Morley
10 months ago

Suddenly I’m interpreting “eat the rich” in a whole new way.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
10 months ago

I think Lemmy looks like a portrait Flashman would keep hidden in his attic.

Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
9 months ago

Yes!

Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
10 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

I shall try again as my earlier post vanished. He is conventionally handsome and I suspect has a big tickling stick. All lotharios that I have known have big tickling sticks. It makes them supremely confidence and this confidence is what the women they slept with were attracted to. Sorry to be base, but I have seen this so many times.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
10 months ago

Young women have always offered themselves to successful celebrities – however degenerate the celebrity is. I’m struggling to see why this is newsworthy.

N Satori
N Satori
10 months ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

It’s the age-old lure of the cute bad boy. Posh girls are particularly susceptible to that lure and with a name like Panda La Terriere the writer is probably super-posh. These girls are fascinated by the guy who doesn’t conform yet still looks like a leader. If he behaves obnoxiously – well that’s all part of his rebel charm.

Laurence Eyton
Laurence Eyton
10 months ago
Reply to  N Satori

Evelyn Waugh’s great-granddaughter. So, yes, in her milieu about as posh as they come.

N Satori
N Satori
10 months ago
Reply to  Laurence Eyton

Meet the new upper class – same as the old upper class but enjoying a much more liberal lifestyle.

Andrew H
Andrew H
10 months ago
Reply to  Laurence Eyton

Makes sense. Still, she’s working for Unherd unlike most of her ilk, who are probably gluing themselves to the road in the name of Just Stop Oil.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
10 months ago
Reply to  Laurence Eyton

Waugh was a lower upper middle class suburban snob who came from a similar background to Orwell. Orwell in his essays is very perceptive about Waugh.He very cleverly attached himslef to the upper class Roman Catholics who grew in appeal post WW1. Perhaps the major aspect of the public schools since the 1850s was to turn businessmen’s sons into gentlemen. Waugh was thoroughly loathed and his commanding officer had to move him before soldiers killed him.
If one wants to be precise there are gentry who own land, some of whom are aristocrats. Those who are definitely aristocratic have run estates since before 1485 and were knighted on the battlefield.
Waugh had two options become, a Roman Catholic or become a Communist.
Waugh was accepted into the aristocratic Roman Catholic Society because he was amusing; the court jester.
As grammar schools and and public schools become effete, they produce far less tough young men. A boy who has from the age of five, boxed, played rugby , cricket, learnt to swim in cold water, ccepted corporal punishment , rowed from the age of thirteen, played tennis, will by the age of sixteen and especially, eighteen be very fit, tough, and have a body like a Greek god. One only has to look at the photographs of officers in the Commandos and Parachute Regiments who may only have been nineteen years of age in WW2.
Many of the fit and tough men who are going to be away from home for months at a time will have the common sense not to go out with a women they cannot trust sexually and financially. Yes have a few days R and R but that is all.
major general corran purdon – Bing images
major general corran purdon – Bing images
I would suggest that the post 1960s Cultural Marxism has resulted in fewer chivalrous( one cannot be chivalrous unless one is courageous and can fight to defend a lady ),competent and cheerful men being educated and trained so perhaps for many women, Russel Brand is the best of a bad bunch.

Andrew F
Andrew F
10 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

I have no real understanding of English class system. You lost me on “lower upper etc”.
Maybe you could write article explaining it on Unherd.
I am not sure why Waugh choices were just Communism or Catholicism?
Surely, most aristocracy were still Church of England?

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
9 months ago
Reply to  Andrew F

I was quoting Orwell from one of his essays describing his background and another essay on Waugh( waugh was the son of a publisher and writer ). Orwell’s parents could only afforded Eton if he won an academic scholarship which are very tough. I think Waugh and Orwell were the same age. Waugh starts writing in about 1927 when Orwell leaves the Burma Police. It is before the 1929 Crash and there is vast amounts of money around. Communism has not taken off amongst the intellectuals. There are a few number of Recusant Families( Stonor ), those who remained RC after 1540 and the various converts such as Acton became who very fashionable in the 1920s. From 1935, intellectuals were largely Communist/Fellow Travellers or a small group of Conservative Catholic intellectuals such as Waugh .
The Catholic Conservatives supported Franco and Mussolini in the 1920s and 1930s. The support of the Nazis by the Communists from 1939 to June 1941 hampered British war efforts. The divide of intellectuals between Conservative Catholics and Communists reduced Britains ability to counter Communism, Fascism and the Nazis.

Adam M
Adam M
10 months ago

I think this whole Russell Brand ‘scandal’ might turn out to be another pivotal media trust turning point. These types of high profile abuse scandals represent another domain in which wolf has been cried one too many times.
What or who Brand did or didn’t do we don’t yet know. But among the older generations that still read the papers, Brand has always been a figure of disrepute and this latest story is unlikely to change their opinion of him or come as a shock. But for the younger generations that are aware of his increasing online presence, no story of this type will be seen as anything other than an obvious hit piece and only brings him vindication.
I don’t follow brand online and frankly believe others do what he does better. But for all his obvious personal flaws and more recent political blunders. I can understand his appeal as the author of this piece clearly does.
Though his style can be irritating, there’s a kind of naĂŻve honesty about the reformed Brand that I can’t help but admire. He’s cleaned up his life, found God and is actually trying to use his influence for good (even if sometimes slightly misguidedly). And that I can’t fault.

Caroline Ayers
Caroline Ayers
10 months ago
Reply to  Adam M

Well said!

Jackie Elton
Jackie Elton
10 months ago

People over a certain age like me never got Russell Brand. I just found him creepy and ignored him while media leaders enthusiastically and misguidedly promoted and fawned over him as a way to reach a younger demographic.
Very helpful to get this view, to see why so many apparently bright young people went for him. This is an important story which has not reached its peak.

Dave Martin
Dave Martin
10 months ago
Reply to  Jackie Elton

Likewise, found him creepy and distinctly remember idly switching on the TV one night and seeing him flounce around the stage, taking audience input on that evening’s Big Brother show; it seemed to sum up the vapid nature of the era and of TV in the early oughts.
Later however, in a media environment of conformity to the narrative, a with-us-or-against-us left-right divide, and carefully cultivated personalities so as not to offend an increasingly puritanical society, his podcast and YouTube ventures were refreshing and interesting. Hard to handle more than limited exposure, but I can see his appeal; an openly chequered-history, someone ostensibly of the left (he studied at SOAS when the institution was, IMHO, one of the key kick-starters to wokeness in the UK), departing from the orthodoxy and thinking (if overly conspiratorially) for himself.
His history undoubtedly provides fertile ground for past scandals, and remaking himself decades on leaves open the prospect of having his legs taken from under him.

Betsy Bell
Betsy Bell
10 months ago

I understand. Especially the fact he questioned the covid response. I enjoyed this article!

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
10 months ago

This R2 excerpt, in which Russell “far kin” Brand confesses to having exposed himself to a BBC receptionist a few minutes before the interview, is a revelation not just of his own nastiness but also, with the presenter matching Brand’s crude yobbishness, of the depths to which the BBC has sunk. On what basis would any member of the public with a shred of decency be prepared to pay a licence fee for this?
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-66882644

Last edited 10 months ago by Richard Craven
Adam Bacon
Adam Bacon
10 months ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

It’s incredible how the BBC can announce this story with such righteousness and lack of self reflection. It’s as if it sees the BBC of 15 years ago as a different entity.

Meanwhile, more than ever, it treats itself as an Oracle never to be questioned.

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
10 months ago
Reply to  Adam Bacon

But it does. It doesn’t just look down on its own past but also looks down on the majority of the people in this country.

Last edited 10 months ago by Aphrodite Rises
Caty Gonzales
Caty Gonzales
10 months ago

OK, I’ll hold my hand up. When I was younger I thought he was hawt, as the kids say. I was a bit of a ladette and he was a laugh. You take guys like this as you find them. Recovering from addiction to drugs and sex by becoming addicted to attention.
I do sometimes watch his shows as he is interesting and while I don’t find him attractive anymore, I still find him engaging and a lot of his guests interesting.
I was a little blindsided by his choice of wife, she just seems so sweet and innocent and fluffy, if that makes sense. When I first heard of these allegations, I turned my thoughts to her and the two girls they have.

Amy Harris
Amy Harris
10 months ago

Where’s the rest of this piece? It seemed to be going somewhere, as if a point was going to be made, but then just stopped abruptly. What’s going on? Why the endless Brand (ha! Just got the hidden message in the name – the BRAND) content? Something very fishy is going on. Like we are purposely being force-fed this man until it drives us crazy. I’m stepping away from Unherd until I see a Brand-free edition. This is nuts!

Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
10 months ago

Sorry, we reached peak Brand yesterday, if not the day before. At least other articles explored wider ideas such as the presumption of innocence or male desire for young females. This belongs in Smash Hits or Just Seventeen. As for lockdown skeptics, I have more time for Sunetra Gupta, Jonathan Sumption or Mark Woolhouse. Brand belongs in the same looney bin as Piers Corbyn.

J Bryant
J Bryant
10 months ago

This article adds a little whimsy to the doom-and-gloom hysteria around Brand. I enjoyed it. And, sorry, while I’m not much interested in the Brand Affair, I’m pretty sure we haven’t reached peak Brand, not even close. When the smelling salts kick in, the apoplectic hysterics will be up for Round Two.

Caroline Ayers
Caroline Ayers
10 months ago

You are completely wrong about Russell Brand. I suggest you watch some of his videos from the last 12 months (if they are still up on You Tube). Everyone commenting here (bar a couple) appears not to have watched or listened to his truth seeking and truth telling podcasts – see him talking about Trudeau and the disgraceful treatment of the Canadian Truckers, or interviewing John Campbell or Candace Owens… he deserves respect. His appalling behaviour complained about in the allegations is historic. This is all being dragged up by the MSM in order to silence him. He is not the same man. He may well have to pay civil compensation or even be liable to criminal prosecution in the US, but what he is talking about on his platforms today bears no relevance to that. I’m with Panda – it is so refreshing to listen to someone who is both funny and brave and prepared to contradict the mainstream narrative over Covid and Big Pharma for example. It’s more than that actually – it’s really valuable.

Robbie K
Robbie K
10 months ago
Reply to  Caroline Ayers

Brand only latched onto those subjects because it produced far greater hits than his previous stuff. You’ve been totally suckered.

Jackie Elton
Jackie Elton
10 months ago
Reply to  Caroline Ayers

Sorry but however just because you agree with somebody’s views, like his personality and feel he has completely changed, doesn’t mean he is not criminally liable for previous acts. People are going to jail for crimes they committed decades ago.
If found guilty of past crimes, the law must still hold people to account, especially if there are victims involved. Of course, contrition, good character since the offences and agreement to compensate may affect sentencing, but it doesn’t and shouldn’t let alleged crimes like these go unpunished.
in the case of Russell Brand, he has denied any wrong doing.
And for the person who compared him to Andy Malkinson, there is no equivalency. That was a case of mistaken identity and a failure of the justice system over many decades to accept numerous flaws in the whole process.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
10 months ago

In line with the fine piece by KS today exploring thought experiments, and purely in the interests of research, I would challenge the author’s superfandom with the following thought experiment:

Imagine that someone had *exactly* the same shtick as Brand, same words, same jokes, same behaviour, same entertainment and media output. Same ‘surprisingly un-prescriptive’ monologues. But he looked like Eric Pickles instead, and spoke with a thick Indian accent like Apu from the Simpsons. We can adjust for Brand’s self confessed sex addiction by imagining this was satisfied by continual visits to a variety of chicken ranches in Nevada.

Would the author have become and stayed the enamoured superfan?

Last edited 10 months ago by Prashant Kotak
N Satori
N Satori
10 months ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Or if he looked like Bernard Manning.

David Morley
David Morley
10 months ago
Reply to  N Satori

Or Roy Chubby Brown

Nick Wade
Nick Wade
10 months ago

RB strikes me as the personification of the Devil stalking the land. This alone explains his allure to certain females. He is the forbidden fruit, as well as possessing immense charisma, and celebrity status. A heady mix. Lately he has become guru-like. Again, a group not unknown for opposite sex hurling themselves at them.

For my part, I never liked him. He actually gave me the heebie jeebies. I can recognise he’s a smart cookie, but he screams danger at me. He was excellent in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, but I suspect he played himself.

Despite my reservations about RB, I cannot help but be impressed by how he has questioned the establishment narrative in so many areas. What a much needed breath of fresh air for people like me, desperate to know why no one was asking any questions about Covid, vaccines etc etc. That he is now dismissed as a kooky conspiracy theorist tells me all I need to know. The term was invented by the CIA to discredit anyone questioning the JFK assassination.

Maighread G
Maighread G
10 months ago

I really liked Brand’s Under The Skin podcast too. Some really interesting interviews there. I hadn’t been following his YouTube channel or paying much attention to him lately but I think what has happened is sad. He’s dealt with his addictions and is now a family man with two kids and another on the way. How awful all of this is for his family.
Yet, the allegations are serious. The alleged victims deserve sympathy and also, if the allegations are true, some sort of justice.
I was not a fan of earlier Brand. I was barely aware of his existence.
In recent days I’ve seen clips of Brand making really horrible jokes, if you could call them jokes. There’s one where he talks about liking the kind of blow jobs where his p***s goes a little way down the woman’s neck. I felt so angry watching that. Why was this crap put on television? Why do women have to put up with this shit? It makes me wish I was same sex attracted.

Rick Lawrence
Rick Lawrence
10 months ago

“Some argue that this was a calculated tactic meant to beguile and convince — but conspiracists are hungry for affirmation of their theories, not open-ended invitations to keep thinking.” Not sure if you are referring to Brand here or others who you think are are the real conspiracists. Either way, both have the same tactics to beguile and convince. Like “ Most of you will know that
 (fill in your favourite conspiracy theory)
 “. Who wants to be in minority group that doesn’t know. So your unknowing becomes the truth that everyone’s knows. Brand’s final invitation to make your own mind up about what he has said is not about being transparent and unbiased, it is aimed at the majority who cannot think for themselves and he knows they will buy into his version of how the world works.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
10 months ago

That was a joy to read,Panda. Love your intimate style. I can totally relate to everything you said and found it a breathe of fresh air. More please.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
10 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Please tell me you are being ironic 


Robbie K
Robbie K
10 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Maybe you wouldn’t find it so refreshing if Brand treated you like his other women and got a kick out of seeing their mascara running while choking them with his d**k.

Nora K
Nora K
9 months ago

Well written Panda, you have a new fan. Am also a fan of the adult – aka current – version of Mr. Brand and much appreciate his candor as you do. Don’t much care about his juvenile antics of the past, but admire him for overcoming some seriously hard things like heroin addiction and that despite his past circumstance, he managed to grow up and become a decent, intelligent citizen, a husband and father. Bravo! Stay on course Mr. Brand, you’re doing great! Thanks to you, Panda, for speaking positively on behalf of your generation.

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
10 months ago

UnHerd pleaaaaase stop stories about RB. It is like hitting a dead cat. There are much more pressing and interesting subjects

Last edited 10 months ago by Stephanie Surface
J Bryant
J Bryant
10 months ago

I understand your point but I believe the real story here is the way Brand is being treated by government agencies, corporations, society at large. Guilty until proven innocent. That standard, if established in fact if not in law, can be applied to anyone, anytime.

Citizen Diversity
Citizen Diversity
10 months ago

If the firebrand hasn’t set anything on fire, is it much of a spark?
If the audience is to make up their own mind, is the influencer much of an influence?

Alka Hughes-Hallett
Alka Hughes-Hallett
10 months ago

Russell Brand’s past is catching up with him. No matter the reasons for his wild behaviours, be it the influence of noughties or Lolita like fetishes, terrible parenting, there may be many explanations. Regardless the truth will always be out. Whether he is actually guilty of a crime it doesn’t matter. What matters is that through the journey of his life he has hurt and damaged several people. These irresponsible acts have now come back to haunt him & ask for repayment. He cannot escape his misspent youth. No one can escape their own damaging vagaries. Not until he faces his accusers and take full accountability for his actions. The LESSON here is of honesty & humility. Till he submits before this accusers, accepts their pain and is willing to take responsibility for his actions be it criminal or not, he will remain in debt.

R Wright
R Wright
10 months ago

“Whether he is actually guilty of a crime it doesn’t matter.”

I’ve seen some mad views on this site before but this might be the worst of them all.

Last edited 10 months ago by robertdkwright
Steve Murray
Steve Murray
10 months ago
Reply to  R Wright

I disagree. It gets to the core of the points i’ve been arguing about Brand over the past couple of days; that it’s not just about whether he’s committed a criminal act, but whether his actions are worthy of the kind of approbation afforded him by the author of this article. At least she’s being honest, which those who dismiss contrary points as “mad” appear to be incapable of being.

Maighread G
Maighread G
10 months ago

Good piece.

Last edited 10 months ago by Maighread G
Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
10 months ago

Sigh, another post in moderation. I only used a word for Mr. Brand that was used by another author several days ago. Indeed, the Sun saw fit to award him this title several years running.

Rod Lewis
Rod Lewis
9 months ago

Excellent article. Few who are commenting here have listened to under the skin or watched his YouTube channel.

Nanda Kishor das
Nanda Kishor das
9 months ago

This piece was going very well until it ended up leading nowhere. The author’s compliments to Brand’s show actually fall short: it is very well documented and produced, and he is among the very few to bring up issues that should be concerning everybody. Last, but certainly not least: *it’s obvious he’s being framed* and they just want him to shut his mouth on the endless uncomfortable issues he brings up on every show. Nobody bought the accusations made to Julian Assange, for example, only because he has the more respectable air of a “genuine intellectual”, and we all just understood it was a trap. Reactions like these are what make the general public be at least suspicious of even independent journalism.

0 0
0 0
7 months ago

Completely agree.I feel proud that we have such a uniquely talented man in this country. His shows are excellent,well researched and funny!
Personally, I think he has become a very attractive man.
Women threw themselves at him…he was no Jimmy Saville!
He created a persona that made everyone shed loads of money and that was exploited for all it was worth.
Where was the duty of care towards R B?It was clear he had massive addiction problems and other mental health issues which made him very vulnerable. Who had his interests at heart?He has always been incredibly out- spoken and honest about his behaviour…too honest!
Now he has turned his life around and is no longer the left wing darling of the media and is actually doing a great deal of good in the world…Time to go after him!

Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden
10 months ago

A charming piece representing the younger generation.
I’ve watched a little RB in recent years owing to the significant interest shown by American online friends. His style is so grating, however, I’ve stuck to small doses. His appearances with Bill Maher have worked better.
Content-wise, he is precisely of my generation and reminds me of the anti-globalisation discourse of the late 90s into the 00s, Naomi Klein et al. Frankly, there is too much natter about corporate power with hoary old visions raised of decentralisation, broadly from the (celebrity) anarchist position.
But then I have an academic background rather than simply being someone who used to watch him on Channel 4. I support his opposition to neoconservatism and bio-authoritarism but otherwise have no real reason to listen to his opinions over, say, Peterson.

David Lindsay
David Lindsay
10 months ago

Caroline Dinenage has brought the Parliament of the United Kingdom into international disrepute. She should lose her Select Committee seat, never mind the Chair, and she should lose the Whip. The Speaker should reprimand her on the floor of the House. Her DBE is also looking shaky. Gongs have been forfeited for far less than the potential prejudicing both of a criminal investigation in his country, and of a separate criminal investigation in a friendly jurisdiction.

The gender critical feminists have picked the wrong side for the third time. They will also be kicked off everything except Rumble, and everyone who had had anything to do with them will be cancelled for transphobia, which will be presented in terms of real or invented acts of physical violence, some of it fatal. That is how these scams work.

Bringing us to the fact that a few years ago, most of the SWERF and TERF buffet spat on the luck that was a Leader of the Opposition who, while personally ropey and not without some deeply unsound associates, was nevertheless surrounded by people who fully shared the anti-capitalist critique of the sex industry, and who were steeped in the original, ferociously material-realist critique of Foucault by those against whom he had defined himself by having turned.

Leading figures speak quite fondly of the Blair years, when there was no such thing as gender self-identification, but when New Labour at once defined, and was defined by, the obscene popular culture against which they now rail, as some of us tried to do at the time. And not without assistance from them, New Labour is now just Labour again.

But when I tell you that there is going to be a hung Parliament, then you can take that to the bank. I spent the 2005 Parliament saying that it was psephologically impossible for the Heir to Blair’s Conservative Party to win an overall majority. I predicted a hung Parliament on the day that the 2017 General Election was called, and I stuck to that, entirely alone, all the way up to the publication of the exit poll eight long weeks later. And on the day that Rishi Sunak became Prime Minister, I predicted that a General Election between him and Keir Starmer would result in a hung Parliament.

To strengthen families and communities by securing economic equality and international peace through the democratic political control of the means to those ends, including national and parliamentary sovereignty, we need to hold the balance of power. Owing nothing to either main party, we must be open to the better offer. There does, however, need to be a better offer. Not a lesser evil, which in any case the Labour Party is not.