Russell's got a new Brand of comedy

Russell Brand is ready to unleash his new comedy show in Blackpool and is hinting - with tongue in cheek - he may even take a dip in the sea as a finale.

By Henry Widdas
Wednesday, 6th April 2022, 4:36 pm
Updated Wednesday, 6th April 2022, 4:42 pm

The YouTube, broadcast and film star is bringing his ‘33’ tour to the resort on May 23 at Blackpool Winter Gardens and will combine social commentary with spirituality for his new Brand of comedy.

Speaking to the Gazette, Brand says: “I want it to be a real gala in Blackpool, I want it to be a very special gig.

“And if enough people want me to do it, I’ll even march into the sea at the end Wim Hof-style and awaken the autoimmune defense systems!”

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Russell Brand is coming to Blackpool

Brand is relishing being back on the road again and feels the landscape has shifted during the last two years, with the public as hungry for societal change as they are for the chance to gather at live venues once again.

He says: “It’s a really good fun show but it has a kind of visceral urgency to it that previous stand-up shows I’ve done haven’t had, perhaps because people are meditating, looking at spirituality in a different way.

“In some ways it feels like I’m going back to a different world going back to these places. I’m not making a claim to be anything other than an entertainer doing stand-up comedy but the energy in the room, people know it’s not going to be the Labour party, the Conservative party or consumerism and the affiliated distractions, so it’s been like no show I’ve ever really done before.

“I talk about the pandemic in the main in a quite light-hearted and quotidian way but I do also talk about what are implicit in the changes that took place.”

Brand’s ability to connect with his audience is part of the secret to his success - his growing YouTube channel with 5.4 million followers can attest to that.

And he is taking that to the next level with ‘33’, inviting audience members to reveal the most naughty, embarrassing and downright weird things they got up to during the lockdowns.

One audience member, a yoga teacher, recently admitted how they had to quietly break wind while holding a class on Zoom only to realise the act was clearly heard by everyone taking part.

Brand, who has 18 more shows lined up across the UK in April and May, says: “People have done some weird things, some of it has been really amusing. This country has a long history in finding mirth and joy in times of trauma and uncertainty, some really funny stuff has been going on.”

Now two performances into his latest run of shows, Brand is happy to receive plenty of positive audience feedback.

He says: “It’s been joyous, like a mad celebration. Without giving too much away I reference some of the [Downing Street] parties, as well as all the moments we went through, the unnecessary obsession with Tiger King, Joe Wicks as the nation’s PE teacher, strange and changing relationships with our pets, pretending to exercise, Dominic Cummings’ bizarre methods for testing his eyes.

“It’s cathartic I think, I just read stuff from the news and it’s a relief, people remember what it was like when you can’t buy flour, what it’s like when you first have to queue outside a supermarket. All of these things we have gone through together and it’s extraordinary.”

Brand isn’t a stranger to Blackpool and has fond memories of a visit to the resort during his BBC Radio 2 days.

He recalls: “I did a radio show from an ice-cream van in Blackpool to celebrate a year in the show or something similarly tangential and had a really good time. It was pretty raucous, it’s a pretty unique and very British place.”

Brand’s show promises to be dynamic and uplifting with warts-and-all anecdotes and cutting observations about our society and its direction.

Explaining the three-part performance timetable, he says the first two sections will be for the lighter relief, with the second section being even more densely populated with laughs.

Brand says: “Then I end that part of the show and meet people in the interval and do photographs, and then I go back and say whoever wants to stay can stay for a meditation and Q&A.

“The show usually starts pretty early, like 6pm and goes on to after 9pm which is very taxing… for them!”

The name of the tour, or rather the number, ‘33’ has special significance for Brand.

Brand, now 46 years young, explains: “When I was 32 I kept seeing the number 33 and because I’m a borderline lunatic I took this to be some inauspicious sign of a dark reckoning!

“And then, of course, I marched on merrily into middle age and I like that number 33 and thought about its Christian significance and later learned about its numerological and, indeed, occult significance, like it’s got all sorts of connections with Freemasonry and the Illuminati.

“If I’d known that in advance I perhaps wouldn’t have had that tattooed on my arm as I operate in the world of YouTube where people have conspiratorial thoughts.

“They say, ‘Why have you got 33 tattooed on your arm?’ Once you are accused of being in the Illuminati it’s very difficult to deny it, the denial will seem like a further enforcement!”

Brand believes there is a need for critical thinking and a willingness to examine counter-narratives but says there is a problem with some people willing to do that also being willing to believe anything.

He says: “I like to see what the point is of a conspiracy. Most things I am willing to investigate, somehow, are deeply beneficial for powerful interests. It’s normally pretty straightforward, it’s money. It’s in plain sight, look at the spying, look at the data capture, you don’t need to go digging around.”

But rather than hoping to enlighten the audience about the movers and shakers in global affairs, Brand simply hopes to join them on their journey.

He says: “People have woken up and I just want us to celebrate in the awakening together and be in a space of good faith where different ideas can be openly discussed, aware that we are flawed as individuals and we are, of course, flawed as a culture.

“But that doesn’t mean we should live without aspiration, it doesn’t mean we should live without spirit, it doesn’t mean we should live without hope.

“A person that is a performer is often not without ego and I certainly recognise that in myself but I don’t see myself as a forerunner or heraldry figure, I see myself as a communicator and supporter of energy, and will, that is plainly already out there.”

Tickets to Russell Brand’s Live Experience show “33” are on sale now at www.russellbrand.com/live-dates/