Russell Brand: Skinned

Russell Brand has been a bit quiet since the whole Andrew Sachs thing hasn’t he? He’s not really pervaded the national psyche like he seemed to for a couple of years.

Whilst he invariably been busy, he made something of a pointed return to our screens in last night’s Russell Brand: Skinned (Channel 4).

The programme was showcased like a little docu-film thing, following Brand around like an obedient dog, while Frank Skinner sporadically appeared with an A4 pad on his knee to act as Parkinson.

The whole thing was pieced together nicely enough, however, with grainy faux Super8 cut-aways and hipster soundtrack, it felt like someone was ramming the idea of Russell Brand Is A Rock Star down my throat, when clearly, Russell Brand is not a rock star.

There’s this feeling that comedy is the new rock ‘n’ roll, when it really isn’t. I say that mainly because comedy doesn’t have any good choruses. Brand would give his perfectly rectangular teeth to be a rock star… alas… he’s more of a lone ranger, spewing out frilly words between averagely observed skits.

To focus on the comedy is to miss the point. Here, we had a show that should have actually been called Look, Russell Brand Is A Human Being.

For some time, people have create a vortex around Brand which made him seem like he was from another world… which of course, he was happy to play along with (who wouldn’t?). However, last night, we saw a layer or two peeled back a bit and, well, what we discovered was exactly the person we thought was hiding under all that hair: A needy performer who is smart and ambitious but not without hang-ups.

Sadly, this just about sums up every stand-up comic who ever lived (you could probably argue that it sums up every performer who ever lived) and, by the close of the show, I didn’t exactly feel like I knew Brand any better, but rather, had him pegged all along.

That said, I’m a pop-culture junkie and I love stuff like this. I love to peer in the goldfish bowl, pretty much regardless of who is in it. To that end, it was definitely watchable, despite the fact that I didn’t laugh once. For fans of Brand (Brand-ettes?), this will have cemented his place in their heart even further… for those just curious, it will have passed some time rather pleasantly without irritating too much.

Whatever. One thing is true, whether you like him, love him or loathe him, things are certainly duller without him around. Given the choice of this mad-eccentric (invented or not) or Russell Howard, I’d much rather stick with the one who looks like a Tim Burton creation.

This wasn’t so much Russell Brand: Skinned, but rather, a skim read through his back pages.

  • BBC One
  • BBC Two
  • BBC Three
  • ITV1
  • ITV2
  • 4
  • E4
  • Film4
  • More4
  • Five
  • Fiver
  • Sky1