Russell Brand has been pissing some people off with ‘The Trews’ and I’ve been enjoying it. The YouTube series kicked off in early 2014 and sees the comedian talk about everything from Islamophobia, morbid celebrity culture to crooked politicians – all from his bedroom in East London.
The show gained heat and further popularity for its criticism on Fox News’ coverage of the Israeli/Palestinian situation over the summer, which led to Brand and (the vile) Sean Hannity going head to head from their own platforms. The battle of words secured The Trews views in the millions, with people eager to hear what is perceived by some as a more objective opinion that what’s on mainstream channels.
So when I saw Brand tweet the purchase link to tickets for a weekly gathering at East London’s The Proud Archivist I snapped one up, curious to see what a night of ‘Trew Musings’ would entail.
Rushing in at 7.30pm after being warned by the venue that “he doesn’t like it when people walk in late,” it was closer to 8pm when the comedian entered the small room toasty with people. Somehow looking cooler than me in his West Ham socks, sweats and draped in a blanket with his hair scraped back, Russell took a seat surrounded by his apparatus for the next hour – a bottle of water, a pile of books and a reading lamp.
The ticket was a tenner and for that, I would have gone just for the laughs that we got over the next 90 minutes. I hadn’t watched enough of his comedy bits to know that he’s genuinely on-the-ball funny.
Russell’s also self-aware. He referred to his own rocky relationship with the tabloids more than once. “That’s what they don’t seem to get – I like the trouble… I like it.” He asked if any press were in attendance (if there were any, they didn’t admit it) and imagined out loud how the press would react to anything outlandish he said over the course of the evening. It was interesting to see how he felt about his own public perception.
Larger than life and with more to say than he himself can maybe keep up with, my attention had been well and truly taken as topics flowed smoothly from Philip Green’s tax evasions to the unexplained elements of our existence to the tale of his friend Moazzam Begg, who was detained in Guantanamo Bay for nearly three years before being released without charge.
Speaking of, we had been promised a reading of the book Guantanamo Diary via Brand’s Twitter account, which I don’t think he got around to. I hadn’t minded because the books he read from instead were just as interesting – The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer and Biocentrism by Robert Lanza.
The audience got to ask questions and Russell answered them as best he could before drifting off topic – another gig goer tweeted me afterwards saying his method of answering questions “reminded [me] of politicians he claims to hate!”
Ouch. I didn’t think that was intentional; it was just in running with the night’s theme – a relaxed, free-flowing conversation with a fiercely witty insightful celebrity caught between his best qualities and his self-proclaimed ego.
Would I go again? Yes. It was an interesting night of questions, insights and contagious charisma from the host. The Proud Archivist is a pretty cool venue, too. Russell Brand tweets a link to purchase tickets to Trew Musings once a week and they sell out quick – keep your eye on his Twitter page for more.