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

Marches around the country last week showed diversity among a new and growing cohort of activists taking climate justice to new levels of resistance.

Riot police withdrew Monday morning after failing to rein in mass crowds – and a wave of civil disobedience led by students – demanding open elections without Beijing's interference.

Fueled by a credit binge in Asia that's pushed global private and public debt to new highs, the “poisonous combination” of spiraling debts and low growth could trigger another crisis.

People who purchase occupied properties will evict current residents starting a cycle of blight and displacement that will cost individuals, owners, the community and the city in the long run.

Born and raised on the North Side of St. Louis, Mo., 24-year-old rapper Prince Ea has a sound unlike most artists coming out of the Midwest.

Americans need to say no now to this new scheme, lest we allow the past mortgage crisis to become a current rent fiasco.

Posted 6 days 9 hours ago

KathyJo Torrenga and her husband decided to challenge their foreclosure on their own, learning as much as they could about mortgage securitization and the damages caused by it.

Posted 4 days 15 hours ago

2014 is on pace to be the Year of Dark Money.

Posted 4 days 15 hours ago

A publicly-owned bank could help Scotland take control of its own economic destiny by avoiding unnecessary debt to a private banking system that's become a burden to the economy.

Posted 4 days 15 hours ago

This Acronym TV report from the Flood Wall Street day of action features exclusive footage, analysis and interviews with people at the heart of the movement.

Posted 4 days 15 hours ago

Led by the United American Indians of New England, the yearly NDOM protest in Plymouth seeks to set the historical record straight – in the exact location where indigenous history was first buried in favor of a more agreeable tradition.

VIDEO PREMIERE - Imagining an Occupy Blitzkrieg

"It is possible to be militantly non-violent."

Following the two-million-strong global March Against Monsanto in May, citizens worldwide are gearing up for the second stage showdown next Saturday.

We live in a revolutionary activist culture that teaches people to be afraid of money, to never ask for it, and to never openly say you want it or need it – and meanwhile, the oligarchy runs laps around us.

Earlier this month, the trustees of the city graveyard in Santa Monica, California (final resting place of actor Glenn Ford and tennis star May Sutton) 

Sign Up