WATCH: Comedian Russell Brand's Brilliant Tirade Against a Broken Political System

Search form

WATCH: Comedian Russell Brand's Brilliant Tirade Against a Broken Political System

WATCH: Comedian Russell Brand's Brilliant Tirade Against a Broken Political System
Fri, 10/25/2013 - by Rod Bastanmehr
This article originally appeared on AlterNet

Pretend idiot savant, genuine master of the english language and all-purpose funny man, Russell Brand went on Wednesday night’s edition of "BBC Newsnight," and immediately found himself on the defensive. To start off, host Jeremy Paxman questioned Brand’s qualifications to serve as guest editor for the New Stateman’s just-published revolution-themed issue. 

 
"Who are you to edit a political magazine?" Paxman said, pointing out Brand's history of drug use, and the fact that he has never voted in his life. 
 
“I don’t get my authority from this preexisting paradigm which is quite narrow and only serves a few people,” responded Brand, “I look elsewhere for alternatives that might be of service to humanity.”
 
Paxman was not satisfied.
 
“It is not that I am not voting out of apathy,” Brand clarifies, “but that I am not voting out of absolute indifference and weariness and exhaustion from the lies, treachery, deceit, of the political class that has been going on for generations now.”
 
Brand more than held his own, railing against inequality, environmental degradation and the broken political system.
 
But Paxman was stuck on the voting thing, and asked him if he’d decided even before the age of 18 that he would not be complicit in a broken system by voting. When Brand reminded Paxman that at that age, Brand was severely drug-addicted and disenfranchised as a result, Paxman said with more than a hint of disdain:
 
“You’re blaming the political class for the fact that you had a drug problem?”
 
“No, I’m saying that I was part of a social and economic class that was underserved by the current political system, and drug addiction is one of the problems it creates when you have huge, underserved, impoverished population…they don’t feel like they want to engage with the current political system, because they see that it doesn’t care for them.”
 
Brand slyly diffused the tension at times, relying on his trademark wit and speed to sandwich some of his retorts between passing remarks that Paxman would be left to unpack (a sly joke about Paxman’s beard and English soccer weren’t off the table), but as the conversation wore on, Brand gained the upper hand, and began to establish himself as a revolutionary as well as a comedian. 
 
Stunned into silence, the combative Paxman finally gave the comedian a platform to speak from the heart and the mind, though as Brand would remind before the end of the interview, he doesn’t need that permission from anybody—he’s taking it. 
 
Rod Bastanmehr is a freelance writer in New York City with a passion for music, film and culture. Follow him on Twitter @rodb.
 

Article Tabs

Davi Kopenawa, the leader of the Yanomami people in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest, who is internationally renowned for his struggle against encroachment on indigenous land by landowners and illegal mi

Cooperative Home Care Associates has 2,300 workers who enjoy good wages, regular hours and family health insurance.

In the past three years, 22 U.S. companies have relocated through mergers with or purchases of a foreign company, enabling them to escape American corporate tax laws. Learn how they're getting away with it.

11% of business leaders in Britain think that modern slavery is taking place somewhere within their company’s production of goods. Will the Modern Slavery Bill make a dent?

The Blair Mountain Battlefield was the scene of a 5-day clash in September 1921 between more than 5,000 West Virginia coal miners and 3,000 men backed by coal companies – the largest armed labor conflict in US history.

If we want a healthy society that follows its laws and applies them equally to everyone, we must demand a full investigation and criminal prosecutions for everyone involved in the mortgage backed securities fiasco.

Posted 5 days 4 hours ago

The vote on Independence is a moment of unprecedented possibility for Scotland to peacefully reject the U.K.'s failed neoliberal agenda.

Posted 4 days 9 hours ago

FarmDrop and Open Food Network stress the desire to create positive, systemic social change that disrupts the existing dominance of supermarket provision of food.

Posted 4 days 8 hours ago

On Sept. 7, people will host screenings of “Disruption" ahead of the People's Climate March - in living rooms and libraries, on campuses and in community centers, all across the country.

Posted 4 days 9 hours ago

Borrowers with federal student loans appear to be buckling under the weight of their debt, as more than half of Direct Loans – the most common type of federal student loan – aren't being repaid on time or as expected.

Posted 6 days 11 hours ago
Harry Belafonte: Always An Activist

"Sing Your Song" depicts the life of Harry Belafonte, a Hollywood star who became an outspoken activist during the Civil Rights Era.

Attorneys general in states previously covered by the Voting Rights Act have wasted no time in moving forward with photo voter ID laws, laws that cut early voting and other restrictive measures.

Climate Change and the Unrestrained Elite

Neoliberalism is not the root of the problem: it is the ideology used to justify a global grab of power, public assets and natural resources by an unrestrained elite.

Revealed: How the FBI Coordinated the Crackdown on Occupy

The violent crackdown on Occupy last fall – so mystifying at the time – was coordinated by the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and local police.

Sign Up