More Russell Brand Bios & Profiles
Biography #2 (for Forgetting Sarah Marshall)Russell Brand made his theatrical debut in London at age 15 in Bugsy Malone as Fat Sam. An education at Italia Conti Stage School led to a three-year scholarship at the drama center in Camden where, in his spare time, Brand began performing stand-up in pubs around London. He reached the finals of the prestigious Hackney Empire New Act of the Year competition, and his political rantings caught the eye of Time Out's Malcolm Hay, who dubbed him Essex's Bill Hicks.
A successful run at the Edinburgh International Festival followed, as did an appearance in the So You Think You're Funny? final. MTV caught Brand's show at the festival and gave him his own series, Dance Floor Chart, plus tasked him with hosting their flagship teatime show, Select. When Jackass arrived in Blighty, Brand was afforded the dubious privilege of promoting it for MTV U.K.
RE:Brand followed for U.K. Play, which was a a challenging look at cultural taboos, and Brand's far-reaching talents got an airing with a Sunday afternoon show on XFM, acting in Channel 4's White Teeth, appearing in the Steve Coogan vehicle Cruise of the Gods and writing and hosting The Russell Brand Show for Channel 4's Comedy Lab series.
Summer 2004 saw Russell host E4's live Big Brother discussion series, Efourum, and present Kings of Comedy for E4, in between which Brand took his one-man show Better Now, to the Edinburgh International Festival—a hilariously honest chronicle of Brand's odyssey through a twilight world of whores, heroin and hairdos, demonstrating that the road to excess leads to the palace of unemployment. The show was a complete sellout and received four- and five-star reviews in The Times, The Guardian, The Scotsman and the Metro, amongst others. The year 2005 saw another run of the now retitled Big Brother's Big Mouth and saw Brand enjoy another critically acclaimed Edinburgh run of his stand-up show Eroticized Humour.
In 2006, Brand's star took off and tickets to his stand-up gigs turned into gold dust. He completed a successful run of Celebrity Big Brother's Big Mouth in January 2006 and managed to squeeze in filming a part alongside Christina Ricci and Reese Witherspoon in the Hollywood movie Penelope. Straight after that, he hosted the infamous NME Awards at the Hammersmith Palais. MTV saw to welcome Brand back with open arms to host its flagship Sunday-night show 1 Leicester Square for a year, where his achievements included securing the only U.K. interview with Tom Cruise during his promotional tour for Mission: Impossible III.
In summer 2006, Brand completed another successful run of Big Brother's Big Mouth and took his sellout solo tour, Shame, to the 2006 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and then on to a nationwide sellout tour.
Bio courtesy Universal Pictures for "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" (27-Apr-2008)