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

The new 40-page report published by Oxfam International also said the global fossil fuel sector now receives $1.9 trillion in subsidies each year.

Edward Snowden

Snowden told the audience he engaged in civil disobedience because he believes the democratic system of government is not able to work when people don’t know what their government is doing.

Large corporations are the winners and taxpayers are the losers when transparency, accountability and the public interest are sold out to for-profit firms.

The city's social justice roots are centuries old – and today Seattle is also home to more than 70 social justice organizations and more than a dozen progressive film festivals.

Coinciding with the National Day Against Police Brutality and Mass Incarceration, people in Santa Rosa, Calif., will hold a vigil and community potluck Wednesday to commemorate the teen's tragic death.

“We wanted to take action to dramatize the betrayal of the American people and show that we will resist and attempt to disrupt or at least expose pro-corruption politicians' ability to raise big money.”

Posted 6 days 1 hour ago

Drug and device makers paid doctors $380 million in speaking and consulting fees over a five-month period last year – and saw a healthy return on their investment.

Posted 5 days 29 min ago

As of September 19, 181 institutions and local governments and 656 individuals representing over $50 billion in assets have pledged to divest from fossil fuels.

Posted 5 days 42 min ago

Florida has the highest foreclosure rate in the U.S. in the first quarter of 2014, and also has a "foreclosure king" who is now disbarred for his failure to oversee employees accused of carrying out wrongful foreclosures.

Posted 2 days 2 hours ago

So little of our national wealth is going to feed people or provide jobs and instead, the richest Americans vastly increased their wealth this past year. But what vaulted these individuals to the top?

Posted 6 days 1 hour ago

So little of our national wealth is going to feed people or provide jobs and instead, the richest Americans vastly increased their wealth this past year. But what vaulted these individuals to the top?

Florida has the highest foreclosure rate in the U.S. in the first quarter of 2014, and also has a "foreclosure king" who is now disbarred for his failure to oversee employees accused of carrying out wrongful foreclosures.

“We wanted to take action to dramatize the betrayal of the American people and show that we will resist and attempt to disrupt or at least expose pro-corruption politicians' ability to raise big money.”

Survivors of the Sept. 26 violence joined Mexico City protesters in informal campus activities and rallies demanding justice for their missing classmates.

The new 40-page report published by Oxfam International also said the global fossil fuel sector now receives $1.9 trillion in subsidies each year.

Sign Up