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Russell Brand - Biography


Russell Brand - Biography
Photo by Dave Hogan/Getty Images


June 4, 1975

Quick Russell Brand Facts:

  • Brand hails from Grays, Essex, England.
  • He has studied acting at Italia Conti Academy and Drama Centre London.
  • Brand has written and performed four one-man shows, headlined two national tours, released two stand-up DVDs and three books.
  • Brand hosted both the 2008 and the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards.
  • In 2008, Brand resigned from his BBC radio show after a series of prank calls got him suspended.
  • His first Comedy Central stand-up special, Russell Brand in New York City, premiered in March, 2009.
  • In 2010, Brand made tabloid headlines by marrying pop star Katy Perry They filed for divorce at the end of 2011.

Russell Brand Overview:

British comedian, actor and author Russell Brand is a fast-talking, hedonistic comic anarchist. Never a stranger to provoking controversy, Brand has been fired or suspended from show business jobs throughout his career. That hasn't stopped him from always speaking his mind and trying to get reactions out of audiences. With an appearance that's equal parts gothic, glam-rock and drag queen, Brand is both the Mick Jagger and the Keith Richards of comedy.

In the Beginning:

Russell Brand was born and raised by a single mother in Grays, Essex, England. A lifelong performer and budding young actor, Brand didn't make his stage debut until age 15 when he starred in his school musical. He attended several prestigious drama schools, including Italia Conti Academy and Drama Centre London. While attending the latter school, Brand developed a substance abuse problem and became addicted to heroin. He was expelled from the school in his final term there.

A New Stand-up:

In 2000, Brand finished fourth in the Hackney Empire New Act of the Year comedy finals, announcing his arrival as a stand-up comic. The same year, he made his first appearance at the Edinburgh Festival, where he would return to several times over the next decade.

In 2004, Brand returned to Edinburgh with his first one man show, Better Now, which chronicled his struggle with heroin. He brought his next show, Eroticised Humor, in 2005.

Russell Brand Tours and Comedy Releases:

In 2006, Brand embarked on his first nationwide tour of England with his show Shame, which was later released on DVD under the title Russell Brand Live. He toured again in 2007 with the show Russell Brand: Only Joking, released on DVD as Russell Brand: Doin' Life.

Conquering the U.S.:

In 2008, Brand gained mainstream recognition in the United States with a major role in the romantic comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Later that same year, he garnered even more attention when he hosted the MTV Video Music Awards.

Beginning in 2006, Brand hosted a BBC radio show called The Russell Brand Show. In October of 2008, Brand and his co-host, DJ Johnathan Ross, made phony phone called to a British actor as a prank. The BBC, deeming the calls obscene, suspended Brand from his show. He resigned shortly thereafter.

Brand continues to record a weekly podcast.

In March of 2009, Comedy Central premiered Brand's first U.S. stand-up special, Russell Brand in New York. The same month, his autobiography My Booky Wook was released in the U.S. (having been released in the U.K. in 2007).

In 2010, Brand headlined the comedy Get Him to the Greek, in which he reprised his Forgetting Sarah Marshall role as rock star Aldous Snow.

Additonal Russell Brand Facts:

  • Brand has been a vegetarian since age 14.
  • He suffers from bipolar disorder and has struggled with bulimia in the past.
  • Brand was hired as a VJ for MTV in England in 2000, but was fired after showing up dressed as Osama Bin Laden one day after September 11, 2001.
  • He has hosted at least a dozen different shows in the UK, including several Big Brother spinoffs, the Brit Awards and part of Comic Relief.
  • In 2006, he was named Best Stand-up by Time Out and won Best Newcomer at the British Comedy Awards.
  • In 2007, Brand was named as one of the 100 best stand-ups by England's Channel 4.
  • He had his own FX talk show, Brand X, beginning in 2012. The show was canceled in 2013.
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