Russell Brand swings at 'Morning Joe' -- and scores

The British comic's interview turns into a much-deserved criticism of wrongheaded media tactics.

By Jonathan Berr Jun 18, 2013 3:47PM
British comic Russell Brand hijacked MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Tuesday, and the Internet exploded.

He managed to stomp out the pretentiousness of co-host Mika Brzezinski and panelists Katty Kay and Brian Shactman in short order by complaining -- rightfully so -- about how "rude" it was that they referred to him in the third person as if he wasn't there. The panel also tried to mock his cowboy boots, but Brand wouldn't have it.

Instead, he then lectured the panel about the media's tendency to focus on the superficial, like someone's appearance, and ignore what they have to say. Brand was right, of course.

Katy Perry's ex-husband was a welcome dose of honesty in the bastion of hot air that is cable news. Too often hosts are in love with the sound of their own voices and show little interest in what other people have to say, particularly when they don't agree with their guests. Brand managed to leave the normally unflappable Brzezinski speechless when he flirted with her, urging her to "lose" the wedding ring.

File photo of Russell Brand on June 26, 2012 (© Gus Ruelas/Newscom/Reuters)Judging from the media reaction, the public thinks the comic is onto something. David Pierce of the Verge said on Twitter: "Dear every network everywhere, please hire Russell Brand to be your news anchor." Stefano Hatfield of London Live TV: "Razorsharp Russell Brand politely destroys inane #MSNBC TV anchors who tried to belittle/patronise him."

Brand went on "Morning Joe" to promote his "Messiah Complex" tour, which begins later this year in Abu Dhabi. The promotional video on his website shows Brand mixing it up with people who appear to be homeless. "Messiah Complex" also "features" Jesus Christ, Che Guevara, Gandhi and Hitler. Brand clearly isn't for everyone.

Sadly, Brand's late-night talk show "Brand X" was recently canceled by F/X, though the News Corp. (NWSA) cable channel has picked up a pilot he created of a scripted show based on his life, according to Hollywood Reporter. If Brand can generate the buzz for this program that he did on "Morning Joe," it's sure to be a hit.

Jonathan Berr does not own shares of the listed stocks. Follow him on Twitter @jdberr.

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Tags: MediaNWS
Jun 18, 2013 6:15PM
Brilliant. Those anchors are ****s He showed them.
Jun 18, 2013 6:20PM
He was great other than the sexual comments. Mika was definitely uncomfortable with that part of the interview.
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