(Eastern Michigan University Convocation Center, Ypsilanti, MI - November 16th, 2011)
Russell Brand, the popular British comedian and so-called actor, made a stand-up appearance last night at the Eastern Michigan University Convocation Center in Ypsilanti.
Described by the comedian himself as an evening with a "... nice blend of intelligence and filth,” the show labored heavily towards the latter. Containing chunky bouts of rambling monologue, some moments of hilarious self-help antics, and even some personal memories, Brand’s performance was manic, erratic, contrite, and yet weirdly charming and, at times, bloody hilarious!
Having been opened for by two lame-ass student comedic wannabe's (why ... especially the second one?!), come 8.40pm and Russell Brand is introduced to the half-filled auditorium. Gently bouncing out onto the sparcely created stage for him tonight (basically a large raised square box with a stool and a small table), Brand is given a standing ovation. “Hello, I'm so excited to be here with you tonight," he says, as he looks over the audience. "You're all full of energy and life ... and hormones," he adds, laughing.
Brand then goes off on his first-of-many rambling rants, this one about getting to learn more about Michigan. He mentions he knows Eminem, Michael Moore and then drops the EMU school name of the Eagles, followed by the Wolverines! He then suggests we learn a few British words tonight, as we're gonna hear them anyway! He then gives us the following: Wanking, Sausage Roll, and finally Bumming! Explaining what they mean in an American accent, it was quite easily one of the funniest parts of the show.
"This is like performing at a school assembly," he jokes, as he casts another eye out across the uniformly seated audience. Somebody shouts out 'Katy Perry,' to which Brand replies, "Thank you, yes, Katy Perry, my lovely wife. But, for tonight I am single and all yours."
Jumping off the stage, Brand then walks down one side of the audience, stopping to shake hands, banter, and then finally land on a Frat (fat) guy named Chris. Chris then, unwittingly one assumes, became the focus of the night for Brand. But more on that later.
Once back on stage, Brand notes that "... I kinda say things that are unacceptable, so you're all gonna have to help me," before he then explains why he said that. A story of the VMA Awards the year he hosted it, the very same year that Kayne West stole the limelight from Taylor Swift, Brand tells us how he didn't get to read certain intros he'd written that night. And so wanted to read one, for the introduction of the Twilight cast to us now. It takes time to tell this story, a lot of back and forth, repetition, but when we get to the punchline about how if it's a Vampire's girlfriend's time of the month it can also be the actual Vampire boyfriend's 'time of the month' too, well, the groans are heard echoing throughout!
Brand then rants on about how Fox News is always telling us to fear everything. And that he had never actually seen a fox on the channel! He informs us it isn't natural to always fear such things as Immigrants, Snowmen, or Pedophiles - given that he's 36 years-old and would f**k the guy to death if he tried it on with him anyway! He then grabs the stool, sits center stage, and reads a recent article about him from Britain's Daily Mail. A story that relates how he 'enlisted' both Cindy Crawford and the 'ageless' Sharon Stone(henge) to accompany him to a show, whilst Katy was away on tour, is another long skit. Also inclusive of how 'enlisting' made him sound as bad as the Vietnam War, he finishes the bit drinking some expensive VOSS bottled water.
Asking the audience for inspiration for the next segment of the show someone shouts of 'Puff Daddy,' which leads Brand into an oft-told story of how he and Puff went to Las Vegas to watch the Manny Pacquiao and Ricky Hatton boxing match one year! He then sits back down again to read the local Ann Arbor newspaper. Scouring the gay and bisexual want ads, he brings Chris up on stage, quickly followed by Gabe. Desperately wanting to get Chris set up on a date, it's actually a girl from the audience who agrees to date him. Not thes ex Brand assumed would volunteer for the date, Brand brings her up on stage regardless!
Still somewhat upset that he didn't get Chris set up with a guy, he sets them up on a date (yeah, right!), kisses him goodbye, calls him darling as he leaves (he calls everyone darling though!) and brings Gabe center stage - for a gay phone encounter! Brand then calls a gay massage parlor, tries booking a date for Gabe, before inexplicably breaking out into a created-before-the-show, yet seemingly random sexual innuendo ditty. All whilst keeping the open phone line to the poor gay guy to his mouth/microphone! Come it's end, he thanks Gabe and send him back into the audience - this time without a kiss!
For his final act of the night, Brand suddenly, and alarmingly out of nowhere takes on a strong, impassioned vocal tone to inform us that "... 2012 is going to be our transformation - this is the time for all of us to rise up - this is the time for ... some jokes about Twitter!" And then, and in what turned out to be the funniest portion of the now-being-drawn-out show, Brand reads out some Tweets that both he and Katy have recently received. They start out with lovely words from an unknown male admirer to her, but each end with subsequent posts (minutes later) on Brand's own Twitter page, where the very same once-sedate male is SCREAMING AND SHOUTING PROFANITIES at Brand!
Come the end of that skit, and Brand admits it must be time to go. He thanks everyone for coming out, waves a big, cheesy wave goodbye, and speaks one last time into the mic. "I love you all, " he adds. "Our time here may be done, but it's not over. I'll see you all in the foyer for hugs and photos." And then, much as he came on stage at the start, he leaves it in the very same bouncy manner.
Review by: Russell A. Trunk
Photos by: Jeff Sainlar