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Steve Ison

6/20/2013 3:29:07 PM ---- Updated 6/20/2013 4:33:29 PM

Russell Brand live TV drama
Absoloutly rivetting live TV clip..

Russell Brand shows up 3 rvery rude talking heads here with great skilll n panache,while making intelligent serious points about modern media culture - and how it insidiously affects us all at the same time

Their casual condescensions "I think its not listening to him -its just taking it all in" "Its like you're a shop-window dummy'
"can't we get like y'know 30 seconds now ?' etc are exactly the kind of trivialising,de-humanising
garbage and ritual humiliations that creative people have to deal with when playing the media game
.and the kind of thing that makes me grit my teeth with annoyance when i watch programmes like this.

Luckily for us Brand is far too intelligent n sharp to dance to their tune and shows up their dull vacuousness for what its worth ..

Considering how rude,patronising and unprofessional they were ( talking about him like he wasn't there -getting his name wrong ! ) i thought he was pretty polite and kind with them - all things considered.
The beautiful irony "People of America we're gonna be ok -these are your trusted anchors!!' is priceless lol

The way the shows main presenter Mika turns from cruise control snooty dismisal to a total gibbering wreck as the clip progresses is a sight to behold
Its like she's never actually met anyone in her life who's been that 'real',present.alive and unpredictable with her -and has absoloutly no idea how to cope with it

I think they all seriously underestimated him and paid an embarrasingly high price
Difficult to say they didn't get what they deserved...

Got me thinking in some way how subtly subversive Brand is being here..
How it just takes a few intelligent,switched on people to not play by these dumb media rules -
show up the shallow manipulative charade for what it is - and things could actually change..

Maybe its one of the roles of the artist to be more uncompromisingly 'real' and wake people up a bit to their true creative potential

In that case Rusell Brands definitely on the side of the angels..

Definitely a new hero of mine..:)

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Hop On Pop

6/21/2013 6:40:47 AM

That was outstanding.
I do think that the anchors all took it in stride, with good humor. But he definitely left them flummoxed.

Favorite quote:
"I''m sweating!"
From the male anchor, when the interview was done, just as they were going to commercial.

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Tom O'Brien

6/21/2013 9:38:47 AM

Funny guy. I love when someone has the right mixture of intelligence and craziness. His mind is obviously operating in high gear. And he has what many actor/comedians lack - charm.

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Shoe City Sound

6/21/2013 12:26:45 PM

Priceless! All the time he's proving how important what he does really is - not taking himself or anyone else so seriously even though he's obviously completely informed and intelligent about world affairs as compared with Mika who admits she doesn't know a thing about pop culture. He totally turns the tables on the anchors and handles the situation so easily and stays polite and professional the whole time. What a riot. I'm wondering if Mika was making a very lame attempt to be funny and join in. Epic fail if so haha. The show he's taking on tour sounds like it would be great.

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Washington Jones

6/21/2013 4:30:56 PM

Loved it!

Heard in the final seconds: Russell's coup de grâce - "Who's Joe?".

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6/21/2013 4:33:08 PM

Great post Dolores

I saw this on FBook 2 days ago, so it's doing the rounds
I also think it shows the great divide between people who have been educated to think for themselves,versus, those who have been taught to conform at all costs!!!!

I know who I'd rather relate to in my short life!

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6/21/2013 4:34:43 PM

I mean Steve Ison -------sorry

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Richard Scotti

6/21/2013 6:05:33 PM ---- Updated 6/21/2013 6:08:50 PM

I'm thrilled that people we're angry at what happened. (see article below) This reaction proves that not EVERY one has been taken over by the pod people ala "Invasion Of The Body Snatchers" Joe Scarborough sometimes shows a flash of humanity and intelligence but Mika is clearly a robot without a brain who only got the job because she's a) attractive and b) she's the daughter of Zbigniew Bryzezinski, former National security advisor to President Carter. Some of her previous behavior has bordered on the bizarre and I seriously think she's mentally unstable. She knows nothing about anything and just spits out a preprogrammed script like a biological computer. She's arrogant and disrespectful to many including Scarborough. I don't know how he puts up with her everyday. But as Steve and others have mentioned, this is all too typical in today's media. Brand represents being "real" and it was great to watch the "real" conquer the fake. I wish others would follow Brand's example. I've long been a fan of his and truly admire how intelligent he is. As I mentioned, this confrontation really underlines my hypothesis that metaphorically society is gradually being transformed into soul-less "pod" people quite like in the body-snatchers movie. Brand is like one of the characters in that movie who hasn't yet been "turned". This is proof that the pod people have not won.

from UPI.com:

"English Comedian Russell Brand paid a visit to MSNBC's "Morning Joe," where he gave host Mika Brzezinski and panelists Katty Kay and Brian Shactman a taste of his comic style.

The reaction has been swift and harsh, with commenters ranging from the professional blogger to the Facebook fan bashing the "Morning Joe" team for being "stupid," "unimaginably rude"," "unprofessional" and more.

For her part, Brzezinski was shocked by the volume of anger aimed at her.

"People come in here one after the other. I didn’t know Russell” before the show, Brzezinski said. “I don’t think Russell liked that.”

“I have never gotten more vitriol and anger and hatred than I have over this," she said. "So I apologize for not knowing.”
Brzezinski out and out admitted she wasn't familiar with Brand's work, and Shactman missed the mark with a comment on Brand's accent. They talked about his clothing choices, and there was a strange moment when Kay inexplicably referred to Brand as "Willy."

But Brand's appearance was hardly an outraged reaction. He hijacked the segment, turning the panel's casual unpreparedness into a brutal excoriation of the standard milquetoast morning talkshow format.

In fact, his sharp mockery was perfectly in line with his standup style. The "Morning Joe" team was merely the closest target, and they left the door wide open for him.

Brzezinski, Kay and Shactman were hardly acting out of line with the expected morning televised gabfest, and Brand's devastating caricature was aimed at all morning talkshows, not just "Morning Joe."

In his fast-chatter style, Brand demonstrated how the a.m. airwaves might be put to better use, but when he put the Brzezinski, Kay and Shactman on the spot, they seemed too stunned to piece together a response.

"Look beyond the superficial," Brand said, when Shactman awkwardly attempted to compliment the comedian by suggesting he would try out Brand's fashion, rather than his words. "That's the problem with current affairs."

"You forget about what's important. You allow the agenda to be decided by superficial information," he chided. "What am I saying? What am I talking about? Don't think about what I'm wearing. These things are redundant, superficial."

"Morning Joe" didn't stand a chance."

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Steve Ison

6/25/2013 2:39:42 PM

"Brand represents being "real" and it was great to watch the "real" conquer the fake. I wish others would follow Brand's example. I've long been a fan of his and truly admire how intelligent he is. As I mentioned, this confrontation really underlines my hypothesis that metaphorically society is gradually being transformed into soul-less "pod" people quite like in the body-snatchers movie. Brand is like one of the characters in that movie who hasn't yet been "turned". This is proof that the pod people have not won"

Yeh definitely Richard...

I know i'm being very simplistic and reductionist -but this clips inspired me so much,it got me thinking that someone like Brand represents someone who's searching n struggling to uncover his real 'authentic' self - wheras the panel represent people who've lived their lives being marketeers..Selling n molding themselves to what other people want and expect from them..

In that sense the real v the pod people is a good analogy lol

Great thing about Russell -he seems fundamentally kind n generous-spirited..I've never seen him cast the first stone -or use his formidable wit n intelligence against someone who wasn't mean or disrespectful to him first..

I loved Bill Hicks and his general message -railing brilliantly against the very things this video exposes - and which are even worse nowadays than they were then..

But he was sooo totally angry -and didn't have Russells whimsical lightness of touch or subtlety to make the message more digestible for the general public..

Yeh i'm a total fan of RB now - and have been watching loads of video's of him on youtube..

There's a revolutionary spirit lurking under all that ego,ambition n charm

Which is totally fine by me obviously ; )

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7/8/2013 8:01:57 PM

Well, the first 8 minutes of that was a total waste of time. In my opinion it was just a bunch of worthless dribble from all of them. But I must say that he made those journalists look as inept as they probably are. I consider Brand to be an extremely intelligent young man with a wide range of informative quips, quotes and intriguing opinions. Not to say that I agree with him on a lot of things but, just to say that at least he intimately knows what he is talking about when he brings forth his special Brand (pun intended) of wit.

On the other hand, (and you know with me there is always going to be a bit of dissension from united voices of wisdom) I watched his weekly comedy show twice and failed to even fake a single yuk. There in lies my only problem with Brand. Yes, he is certainly bright, brilliant and brave (in an intellectual way of course). But for me, he just isn't funny. He wasn't even funny in any of the movies I have seen him in. My quandary is this question: Why do they keep billing him as a comedian? Where is the funny? Instead, they should bill him as an intellect and allow him to cast his net into the deep sea of bottom dwellers we all seem to expect to have the answers to our most troubling problems. I would rather listen to him than someone like Howard Stern. But then again, Howard actually does bring a yuk or two with his overt moments of shock. I know, I know, a lot of people think Brand is funny. But no one in my tiny little corner of existence does. My wife (who loves Brand and his movies) confessed that she would not be able to watch another episode of his show either. We watched because we wanted to be entertained with laughter. That is what they hyped the show to be like. Instead, we sat through a whole bunch of opinionated antidotes about life that didn't have even a hint of humor. For that, I would rather read a book or watch the varied array of pundits that frequent the airwaves the way roaches frequent the projects in the ghetto. I can only stomach so much of them also. So, on second thought , maybe he should continue to be billed as a comedian. Just make it funny please. Maybe his tour is funnier. He may be able to amuse me with his take on Malcolm X. Mr. X is not someone I ever associated funny with. Nor was he (in my opinion) the Black Messiah. I would love to hear him (Brand) articulate his view of Mr. X though. Alternate opinion is where I usually find the golden nuggets of untold truth. Sometimes the Emperor is naked. Someone needs to say it...... right?

One thing for sure, that lady journalist will probably never drink anything from a bottle on the air again. Heh, heh, that was classic in your face awkwardness!

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Richard Scotti

7/9/2013 7:16:12 AM

Stoneman ~ Brand is apparently not for everyone's taste and I think therein lies some of his appeal. I think his persona is still evolving and it's interesting watching an entertainer trying new things even if those things don't always work out. His stand up act his pretty funny in my opinion but I love the intellectual banter as well. I find it stimulating in a entertaining way, regardless of whether or not it meets the traditional definition of "funny", a word that seems to be continually morphing these days.

Frankly I think he's a better comic actor than a comedian but again ~ the lines between these things is getting more and more blurred. He needs a good script and those seem to be in rare supply. I think eventually his skills will coalesce into a more coherent form but for now his attempts to find himself seem very authentic and I admire his ability to take risks. He makes me laugh sometimes and sometimes he makes me think. That's more than one can get from many entertainers out there. He seems to be living in real time, and in the moment.
I'm fascinated by people who are able to do that.

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7/9/2013 10:34:09 AM

Richard, yes I agree that observing artists of all types grow in real time is a pleasing thing to witness. I am a musical educator and have been so blessed to mentor and see my students grow and do bigger things. Also, even though his movies haven't done much for me, my wife loves his stuff. So, there is certainly an appeal there that just has not permeated my approval shields yet. Watching Brand is an expansion of brain power if you find the will to stay interested. What keeps me interested may be quite different than what keeps you interested. Ever been in a crowd of people who were laughing at stuff while you sat there trying to figure out what was funny? There is such a thing as a funny gap. Quite often it is cultural and other times it's regional. Which only means that a comedian should know where he is when he/she tells their jokes. They must be regionally related. People respond more to familiarity. Much in the same way that a inner city Hip-Hop act should stay out of Honky Tonk bars. It's just the wrong gig for their act.

So, all I am saying is that yes, it is true that many people (like you) find Mr Brand to be quite funny and intellectually stimulating. His ratings are great and his movies do extremely well. His popularity is quite evident. Also, I can see why people who love him wouldn't understand people like me who only tolerate him for the sake of a night out at the movies with my wife. But with all do respect to those who love Brand, I just don't get him. I truly want to get him but I don't. He doesn't make me tickled and in many ways he irritates me when he goes into long rants about stuff that I don't care about. But there is always hope. Maybe he will eventually get through. During the early years of George Carlin I thought he was a stark raving mad idiot. But as time moved on I was fortunate enough to witness the growth of his comic genius. Also when Richard Pryor first came along I thought he was a champion of vulgarity clown. But then as time continued I conceded that he was possibly the greatest comic to ever live. All of this about those two people could be debated. But these comics were once detested by me and they eventually won me over. They learned how to be funny to multiple cultures and levels of intellect. This is where Mr. Brand is lacking (in my opinion) There is an entire segment of society that he has yet to reach because he doesn't bring relevance to their lives. It is possible that he may never reach people like me. "Funny" is such a subjective term. One man's funny may be another man's ultimate insult. There is no right or wrong when it comes to funny. There is only I liked it but someone else hated it. Very similar to being a musician huh? Anyways.............

I mean no disrespect to those of you who love Brand. I'm just putting in my thoughts here. There is no doubt that I will have continued exposure to his work. I only responded to this because everyone seemed to be so into Brand. I was hopeful that maybe someone could explain to me why he is being idolized so. I wary of the bandwagon syndrome that seems to be rampant these days. Ultimately, I just want him to make me laugh. Say something that really makes me roar and I will never forget it. That is what I expect from a comic. When they make me laugh I know that I have not wasted my time. Sure, it is cool to get my brain stimulated by intellect, but even then, I expect it to be funny when I am listening to a comic. Also, just because a person exhibits an exceptionally complete vocabulary, it doesn't mean that their words translate to wisdom. What good is a message if many people didn't even understand what you said? You guys have great superior intellect and I am always intellectually stimulated by our discussions here. But what about the common guy who dropped out of high school and has limited intellect. Can Brand make them laugh? Carlin and Pryor did.

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Chandra Moon

7/11/2013 7:42:27 AM

There is quite a big gulf between Brit humour and US humour. We Brits are very scathing about ourselves and tend to make a joke of things rather than be proud of ourselves or patriotic. It's just different and it takes some people by surprise. Those panelists didn't have a clue and obviously had done no research and just didn't "get" it or ask any of the questions that would have brought out the best in Brand. He's not particularly to my taste either but to a lot of Brits he is hilarious. They didn't seem at all interested in the show he's touring at all so he had to take control of the situation to get to the point of the interview for him.

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Steve Ison

7/12/2013 3:12:57 PM ---- Updated 7/12/2013 3:19:10 PM

More totally brilliant Russell Brand for those who can stomach it lol..Also this clip (and part 2) have so many British allusions ,i dunno how good they'll be for those outside the UK..
Well worth watching imo tho for his brilliant railing against the disease of modern culture

Stoneman...I actually agree with you about Russell Brand to some extent..I'm not really bothered about watching his comedy turns either
(tho i do find him funny sometimes in those situations )

I'm much more interested in watching him spout forth on important issues- and the brilliance n wit with which he cuts through the shallow sham of modern vaccuous celebrity culture is matched by no-one for me

Its an issue close to my heart - and i've got a seething anger about the way that beautiful art,nature,magic and imagination are fist f*cked into oblivion by the new modern age of money, meaningless triviality n corporate toadying by idiots who think they're 'cool' cos they're told so by their $$$ puppet masters..

I've long wanted to get a clearer understanding of the modern celebrity/corporate world- why it is the way it is -but it feels as illusive to grasp as a dream - as complicated to understand n pin down as an ever shifting n moving target coming at you from every direction imaginable..

Anyway he seems to have an empowering grasp of the reasons with a far more powrful,eloquent mind - and incisive way of thinking than i posess -(all in the above video) and i'm soooooo glad there's an idealistic,free-thinking voice out there with the power of influence saying the things he does, the way he does..


"but for now his attempts to find himself seem very authentic and I admire his ability to take risks. He makes me laugh sometimes and sometimes he makes me think. That's more than one can get from many entertainers out there. He seems to be living in real time, and in the moment.
I'm fascinated by people who are able to do that."

Thanx for that..Yeh,beautifully put

Thats alot of his appeal for me..Watching him WAKES ME UP abit -'cos he's so obviously present,vital n creatively alive
His presence makes alot of other entertainers seem very dull n lifeless by comparison -in the same way that listening to great 60s/70s music makes me feel much more awake than pop music of today....


"here is quite a big gulf between Brit humour and US humour. We Brits are very scathing about ourselves and tend to make a joke of things rather than be proud of ourselves or patriotic"

Yeh i agree...Altho someone like Russell Brand is intensely polarising to people in the UK too..
- and there's loads of people like Stoneman who absoloutly don't find him funny either..

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Steve Ison

8/2/2013 7:15:10 AM

More brilliant Russell Brand here..I love how he deals with the 'monkey' accusation from co-presenter Heather here..

The guys so frikkin' fluid,witty,present and integral -its like he can go on any modern media outlet-mainstream or underground - and be able to be totally himself n speak his truth.

Find him incredibly opening and freeing - and he says exactly the things i'd like to say if i was more self confident n free lol

I've got so many issues with skyscraper-ego modern culture -partly due to low self esteem and partly to dowith feeling totally alienated and closed down by nearly everything thats out there..

Interesting for me how ridiculous the swaggering hip hop posturing in the opening credits seemed set, next to Russells effortless universality here..

Him and Leonard Cohen are my total hero's - as far as the food i get from hearing them speak...
Almost polar opposites in personality/temperament -but both with a universality,sense of character,great communicative ability and timeless universal outlook i find totally inspiring...

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8/2/2013 11:05:30 AM

Okay, first off. That was not opening credits . "credits" would presume that those people were involved with the production of the show. It was a promo spot where Hip-Hop celebrities were hawking the show in order to get listeners. The primary listeners of the show are Hip-Hop enthusiasts and Black people. So, of course the promo was filled with Hip-hop "swag". I think it is unfair to imply that Brand is superior to those people on the promo as it is obvious that someone stuck a microphone in their face and asked them say something good about the show. But it certainly should not be compared to Brand's extended interview time where he was allowed to share more deeply his unbridled wit. But I would argue that Snoop and the others could sit down and have a conversation without all the stench of the promo bravado and be just as compelling as Bland if asked similar questions. The key to a good interview is asking the right questions.

Overall, I found this interview to be quite entertaining. I liked the way he handled the "Monkey" comment and clarified that his statement had more to do with the human race rather than a particular race of people. I also liked the fact that he held Heathers hand while he explained his point. That was wonderful display of sincerity and it helped to reassure her that he is not a racist. Racists don't touch Black people. It was quite obvious to me that the questions were set up in order to allow Brand the space to expound and expand on his thoughts, perceptions and intellect. Clearly, he is in a situation where many White people would be intimidated or on the edge. But he just glides through with his "people are people" mantra and I thought that was quite brilliant and very correlative with my own belief system. He does have extremely compelling mind blurts that show an ability to think fast and respond with concise and knowledgeable verbiage. This was a fantastic interview for sure. But, and you know I always have a but, was it funny? No, didn't make me laugh at all. It only made me think about what he was saying and respect his opinions even more than I have before. I never said he isn't a brilliant young man. I only said he isn't very funny. I think that slowly his management is beginning to recognize the true gifts of his nature of wit and is finding better ways to expose his talent. We all know that he will never be a Hip-Hop icon but he will be well respected by those who saw or heard this interview. I am hopeful that he will expand even more by writing books. I think him being billed as a comedian is a gross disservice to his true talents.

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Steve Ison

8/2/2013 2:17:47 PM ---- Updated 8/2/2013 2:45:18 PM

Nice one Stoneman....Really appreciate your insightful thoughts and eloquent observations here man..

Point taken about the opening credits -tho i seriously doubt ANY hip-hop/pop/rock
whatever star would be as opening,universal and free as Russell Brand is able to be..

Its a very rare gift in the corporate media world..

Tho ii didn't mean to suggest -or imply- anyone was 'superior' to anyone -Russell Brand or not lol

I agree it was a lovely touch holding Heathers hand.. I don't think it was to convince her he wasn't
a racist tho..I'm sure he knew she knew he wasn't..
It was more just a sign of genuine affection and love- and to give her calming energy -especially given the potentially inflammatory nature of the conversation !

Of course your point that a white person not completely versed n comfortable within hip-hop culture would probably feel intimidated put in that situation is right on the money

I'd be absoloutly terrified..No question..

But talking to any of the people there 1 to 1 ,away from that
pressure -cooker scenario,i'd feel relaxed,free and totally comfortable
And be able to connect with them just as one human to another, without the intimidating 'mask' of fashion or culture people wear n hide behind in groups n gangs

But thats the case with any TV/Radio thing..There's almost an unintended fascism
with ALL of these media things that i find so depressing,chaining and unfree.

Whether its that dumb Good Morning Joe programme -or Sways radio show
There's EXPECTED ways you have to behave..Unspoken values n attitudes you're required to conform to,to fit with the values of the intended audience or show -or risk ridicule.anger or embarrasment

So i think its really brave the way Brand completely goes against the grain about what would probably be 'expected' by a hip-hop audience..

He's not gonna conform or alter his truth for anybody....

He bigs up Gay rights,talks about new agey 'low-vibrational frequencies', completely debunks celebrity 'culture' - and dosn't just capitulate n apologise straightaway on the whole
'monkey' thing (the easy/lazy way out)

He's actually able to convincingly create the intimacy,honesty n openess of a 1-1 situation with a close friend in a pressurised situation with strangers,whilst there's an audience of millions listening in..

An amazingly skilful thing to do...And a big part of his genius..

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