Entertainment behind the scenes
Will Russell Brand’s British invasion finally hit America?
British comedian Russell Brand has been talking about invading America for some time. In truth, he’s no stranger to American shores, having last year hosted the MTV Video Music Awards and starred in the movie “Forgetting Sarah Marshall.” But he has never become as big in the United States as he is in Britain. On Tuesday, MTV announced that Brand would host the cable channel’s awards show again this year, giving the shaggy haired comedian another opportunity to break through with American audiences.
As the New York Times said in a book review this year on Brand’s memoir, the 34-year-old comic is an acquired taste.
“It’s too soon to tell if the comedian Russell Brand will be another of those British exports — like the Arctic Monkeys, Marmite, the comic magazine Viz and the fiction of Angela Carter — that are just too tangy and exotic to make much of an impression on American audiences,” the New York Times reviewer wrote.
“Forgetting Sarah Marshall” made a respectable $105 million at worldwide box offices, but only $63 million of that came from the U.S. and Canada, according to figures from Box Office Mojo. Brand received mixed reviews for his job as host last year of the MTV Video Music Awards, in which he teased the Jonas Brothers about their no sex purity ring and called then President George W. Bush a “retarded cowboy.”
Brand, who dresses like a rock star and is known for his stream-of-consciousness, foul-mouthed comedy style, is a leading entertainer in the UK as a comedian, columnist and as a television and radio presenter. He still seeks a big breakthrough in the United States and will need more appearances like September’s MTV Video Music Awards to gain name recognition. It’s clear that he wants more U.S. fans. Last year, he told the Los Angeles Times, “… This is an American age, so I have to be able to perform for America.”
Will this latest version of Russell Brand’s British invasion take with American audiences? Or should he stick closer to home?