By Zachary Swickey
LOS ANGELES – Russell Brand may have plenty going on in his personal life right now, but that’s not stopping the comedic star from taking care of his other business matters – specifically his new FX show that was announced in December. On Monday, he took the stage at the intimate Largo in Los Angeles to have a “dress rehearsal of sorts” for his new television gig.
The program (reportedly titled “Strangely Uplifting,” however, that name was never mentioned during the performance) has Brand giving commentary on current events and politics – playing out like a cross between “Tosh.0” and “The Daily Show” and including plenty of crowd interaction. On stage, Brand was accompanied by a television and “assistant,” Matt Stoller (brother of “Get Him to the Greek” director and Jason Segel’s writing partner, Nicholas Stoller), who boasts a degree from Harvard and tried to provide some “educated” insight into the controversial topics throughout the evening.
The first story that was discussed was the recent incident where a man ate at an establishment called the “Heart Attack Grill” and had a heart attack while there. One can imagine what Brand had to say about it: “It’s mocking the idea of a cardiac arrest isn’t it? It’s like inviting disaster into your life – eating a triple bypass burger,” he joked. Said burger notably weighed 1.5 pounds and contained 8,000 calories. “There’s enough [calories] for us all!” Brand exclaimed.
The comic then pointed out that you wouldn’t find any “Heart Attack Grills” in Paris and got some use out of the onstage TV when it displayed the menu of the controversial diner, which proudly displayed “Flatliner Fries” that were “deep fried in pure lard!” Brand compared the restaurant’s cash-only policy to that of buying drugs and cringed when he read that people weighing over 350 pounds eat for free (yes, you read that correctly). He admitted to somewhat relating to people with obesity problems as he casually mentioned he was a “little bit addicted to crack for half a decade” – something only Brand could laugh off so modestly.
The next story up for conversation was that of Target predicting a teen’s pregnancy even before her father. To further explain, Target has an analytics department that predicted a young teen as being pregnant based off the products she purchased. Using this information – they sent her ads specifically “targeting” her assumed pregnancy with coupons for things like cribs, bottles and diapers.
Throughout his banter, Brand showcased a Muppet impersonation as well as joking about the pronunciation differences for “vitamins” between Brits and Americans. He got back on topic and was rather bothered by this Big Brother-like act from Target. However, he was soon laughing again when he read that the father apologized to the Target manager, saying it turned out his daughter was due in August.
Brand covered a few other stories – including one about a man being caught pleasuring himself with a vacuum – but closed the night by waltzing into the crowd to ask attendees about their “sexual deviance.” Unsurprisingly, there weren’t many takers eager to discuss such a taboo subject in a room of less than 300 people. One woman was able to dodge Brand’s pestering by saying she was Catholic. However, for his finale, the comic brought a woman onstage to badger her about her admitted affinity for bondage. The moment then turned equally comical and awkward as Brand tried to set her up with his previously mentioned onstage assistant, Matt.
The night then came to a close with a bow from Mr. Brand and his assistant. And for those curious… no, not even the slightest reference or mention was made to his now ex-wife, Katy Perry.