Russell Brand: Scandalous (UK - DVD R2)
Our Marcus reviews the scandalous new Russell Brand tour on DVD...
After the fallout from the media storm that came from the message left on Andrew Sachs’ answer phone by Jonathan Ross and Ol’ Russ, the stand up comedian is back with his new tour Scandalous, and here on DVD (just in time for Christmas) we get to see the return of Russell Brand. Will he do the usual celebrity manoeuvre and avoid talking about all the events that had the British news up in arms over his actions? Will he hell!
Swaggering confidently onto the O2 stage to AC/DC’s ‘Back in Black’ after a montage of images from the news reports of October 2008, Brand shows immediately that he hasn’t had the wind knocked out of him after the uproar. He’s as open and friendly as ever, mingling with the crowd while a bra is thrown at him and a girl flashes her boobs to him. This is his audience and all sixteen thousand of them are here to worship at the altar of Ol’ Russ (okay, maybe not all of them, some were probably there to see what he had to say for himself).
I actually went to the opening night of this tour within the slightly more humble walls of the Reading Hexagon, but re-visiting the stand up on a scale so much bigger it has to be said that Russell Brand’s stand up act is one that works no matter what size crowd he’s catering for. His immediate acknowledgement of the Sachs affair gives the crowd exactly that they wanted straight away and his ability to put us all in his shoes for the stories shows a naturally brilliant comedian at work.
Brand comments on how his ego had problems coping with the Ten O’clock news being all about him, hilariously singing ‘I am the news, I am the, I am the news, I am the news!’ along to the theme tune. He also highlights how he had problems knowing what to wear for the news men waiting outside his house 24/7, and of course, even with a very honest apology for the whole thing, he still swipes his own legs away with insights of what was really going on in his head.
But of course it’s not all about the BBC radio show’s untimely end (man I miss that show). We get even more insight into Brand’s other endeavours, including when he hosted the MTV VMA’s in the US of A. Giving us a listen to the original intentions for his hosting plans before calling President Bush a retarded cowboy got a lukewarm crowd reaction and took a change of pace. He gives us his thoughts and feelings on how the newspapers report on him, the death threats he received (and brilliantly replied to) on email and his ‘confusing bath’ fantasy with Dame Helen Mirren all arriving with great timing, great Brand-esq use of language, and of course plenty of laughs.
The thing with Russell Brand’s act that a lot of his haters seem to be blind to, is that he has no problem welcoming us into his world and he makes it feel personal. This isn’t a series of made up stories or ridiculously over delivered jokes. This is someone who breaks that barrier and makes you feel like one of his friends. He talks about all the stuff you hope he’ll talk about and he does it in a way that is all his own. Yes, he can be crude, yes he can sometimes go a step to far (as proven), but it’s all part of his charm and even though historically I’ve found his stand up DVDs nowhere near as good as his radio shows and even TV interviews, coming out at other end of the Sachs scandal has allowed him to bring that more personal approach to the masses and it works wonders.
I’m not gonna try and paint this up into more than it is. It’s a fairly well edited stand up show in TV style standard definition that is really only doing its job and isn’t out to impress. The stage spends a majority of its time with the basic Scandalous banner on the back screen with a black stage and a single purple light above Brand (as well as basic stage lighting), so all in all this is exactly what you’d expect and have seen in the many other stand up DVD out there, doing only what’s required.
Once again, only presented in Dolby Digital 2.0, the disc isn’t out to do much beyond giving us Brand’s dialogue clearly and it does a fine job. The audience doesn't feel too big of a presence and is never over powering when the good gags come, so once again, this is a stand up DVD doing its job just as you’d expect.
‘Frank and Explicit’ (43:34 SD) is a bloody great interview with Frank Skinner and Brand. It’s as detailed about Brand’s career as it is absurdly spiritual and we get a nice insight into Brand’s feelings on his profession, a hint at what’s to come (no more dressing up like a gothic scarecrow) and even a little more on the Sachs affair. This sort of thing isn’t new for Brand but once again his answers and ramblings are delivered with a comedic honesty that somehow doesn’t make him look bad.
‘Private Glancer’ (12:45 SD) is a short and sweet behind the scenes look at back stage footage, odd gigs around the world, and jokes between him and some friends. It all builds up to the O2 gig and while it’s never focused or detailed it’s a nice fly on the wall experience.
Lastly there’s a CD-ROM option to look at the tour brochure.
I can listen to Russell Brand talk his way through things until the cows come home and I’m happy to say his new DVD is a fine example of his work. For those of you who adore him, you will of course be happy with what’s on offer and for those who want to hear him explain himself after the big events in the news you’ll be pretty happy too (or inflamed depending on what the newspapers made you feel back in 2008). Either way, Russell Brand always manages to cause a reaction and I’m glad to report, for me, once again it was plenty of laughs.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 18 years and over
Release Date: 9th November 2009
Disc Type: Single side, dual layer
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 English
Extras: Interview, Featurette, Tour Brochure
Easter Egg: No
Director: Hamish Hailton
Cast: Russell Brand
Length: 79 minutes
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