Russel Brand was born in Grays, Essex, England.
Brand’s childhood is a case-in-point manual of how not to live one’s life. Between copious amounts of drugs, getting expelled from school repeatedly, anorexia, and self-mutilation, Brand was either the product of a non-religious or overly-religious family. My guess would be the former as he recounts how his father once took him to an East Asian whorehouse as a child.1
Religion, however, is what saved Brand in the end, who has now been drug-free for nearly a decade.2 Specifically, the Hindu sect of Hare Krishna’s meditation and self-reflection practices helped Brand channel his better self. Now, Brand considers himself a Hindu devotee and regularly attends Hare Krishna services.3
Being the funny man, Brand is able to poke fun at religion, whether it’s Christianity4 or his newly-adopted religion. He once said:
Hare Krishna devotees taught me reality is an illusion and that we ought to be bold when it comes to haircuts. Look at them, they look great.3
Russell’s brand of politics
Brand’s films are silly and trite and designed for cheap laughs. That’s why it is surprising to hear Brand speak or read his writing about his political beliefs. He is elegant and well-spoken and his words are powerful.
Brand considers himself an anarchist.6 And his attendance at London’s G20 summit protests would certainly align him with what western society’s establishment infrastructure wrongly associates with anarchy.7 I would say Brand is more anti-capitalist, possibly anarchist in the Rousseauian sense of the word, maybe socialist, but probably most influenced by his Hare Krishna Hindu beliefs. He once said of his attendance at these types of protests:
The sincere aspect of my attendance to these carnivals of disobedience is my instinctive mistrust of authority and innate belief that whilst we are different we are all equal and have a social culpability to care for every member of our society.8
Brand is consistently anti-consumerist, also a good reason to protest a G20 summit. He said:
One of the consequences of consumerism has been the commodification not only of commercial durables and consumer items, but also of our own emotions and desires.1
Surprisingly eloquent from a man whose bread and butter are the classic “dick and fart” jokes.
- A Comedian’s Memoir of Sex, Drugs, and Stand-Up. NPR. [↩] [↩]
- Ellen’s Video Gallery. The Ellen DeGeneres Show. [↩]
- Russell Brand chants Hare Krishna mantra. Vaishnava Blog. [↩] [↩]
- Russell Brand on Adultery & Religion. YouTube. [↩]
- Russell Brand ‘Mocked Katy Perry’s Religious Parents.’ The Huffington Post. [↩]
- Russell Brand’s Got Issues. Channel 4. [↩]
- Brand joins the G20 protests. The Sun. [↩]
- Revolution. Russell Brand. [↩]