>Russell Brand rules the Empire


Russell Brand’s second book, ‘Booky Wook 2-This time it’s personal’ was released yesterday, and to celebrate he took to the stage of a packed out Hackney Empire. 

The evening was divided into two parts,  the first was about 40 minutes of stand up, based around excerpts from the new book. It was devastatingly funny, with Brand recounting stories that veered from the sublime to the ridiculous, and that can’t be repeated here. Amongst all the tales of chaos and promiscuity there is a hysterical chapter in the book based around an email exchange with former Smith’s front man, misery guts vegetarian, and Brand idol, Morrisey. Live, Brand delivered this with astute self-deprecation, showing that although he always craved fame, he is still slightly bemused by the fact he is now so famous he can engage in personal email correspondence with his boyhood hero.  He did also succeed in goading the audience into comparing the Daily Mail to Nazis with a sense of childish glee.

Although uplifting, watching Russell Brand live is also an exhausting experience. A single word or seemingly inane thought can turn into a stream of conscious that lasts 2 or 3 minutes, and is normally very funny. Occasionally he was indulgent and knowingly over-verbose, but if Brand leaves Hollywood for the stand up circuit any time soon the shows will be electric.

In the second half Jonathan Ross took the lead, as much as he could, interviewing Brand about the book, life, and the meaning there of. Of course there was an Andrew Sachs shaped elephant in the room, which Brand was seemingly happier to acknowledge that Ross. Seeing Jonathan Ross live you realise what a top performer he actually is. If Brand went off on one, he was able to bring it back round, before setting him off all over again! Brand clearly also has genuine respect and affection for Ross, as proved by a rather gushing section of his book that he read.

So an extremely funny night, led by one of the brightest comedians on the planet. Catch him if you can.

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