Russell Brand

He sounds like a camped up cockney cabbie, he looks like an S&M Willy Wonka. Bemusing to look at and confusing to listen to, but understand him and you tap into a whole new world of wit.

Russell Brand

Russell Edward Brand emerged from the undergrowth in Essex in 1975. Russell's parents separated when he was just six months old, and he didn't have any brothers and sisters, so his early years were rather lonesome. That could explain a lot. Russell's talent was spotted at 15 when he appeared in a school production of Bugsy Malone. This led to a scholarship to a North London drama school. Small parts in programmes like The Bill followed, and he even auditioned for the part of Super Hans in Peep Show.

Brand then burst onto the comedy scene with a stand-up gig at Hackney Empire's New Act of the Year finals, way back in 2000. He didn't win it, in fact he only came in fourth, but it got him the attention he needed to kick start his career. He was signed to an agency and began to get his face on the television.

Russell's first regular gig was as a video journalist on MTV, presenting Dance Floor Chart and MTV Select. In the early days he would pop up in sweaty nightclubs and interview pie-eyed clubbers, confusing the hell out of them with his gibberings. His job came to an abrupt end though, when he made the slightly controversial decision to turn up to work dressed as Osama Bin Laden on September 12th, 2001. Too soon, Russell. And that could have been the end for Russ if it hadn't been for a lot of begging. And we mean a lot.

Finally, Channel 4 was willing to give the cocky comedian another chance though, allowing him to front Big Brother's Big Mouth. His bizarre, meandering style and massive hair proved a big hit with viewers and MTV decided all was forgiven and tempted him back with his own show, 1 Leicester Square. Originally airing at 8pm, the edgy chat show later moved to 10pm allowing Russell to sex it up a notch. He also found the time to offend Bob Geldof after he joked at the NME awards, "Really it's no surprise [Geldof's] such an expert on famine. He has after all been dining out on I Don't Like Mondays for 30 years".

Since then he has appeared on a vast array of telly and radio shows as both guest and presenter. He has also toured the country performing a critically acclaimed stand up show. But never one to be away from controversy for too long, Brand got himself into seriously deep water with the BBC in 2008, after he and pal Jonathan Ross called Andrew Sachs' voicemail and left a message informing him about Russ' relations with his granddaughter. Live on Brand's radio show. The Beeb were not amused, and Russell resigned.

Like many great wits, Russell has fallen foul of mother booze. And indeed Grandfather skag. But with the help of the Hare Krishnas he managed to kick both those habits and is now a patron for the addiction charity, Focus. Now a teetotaller, he has channelled his energy into taking over the globe. Along his travels, he also ended up marrying pop's most eligible bachelorette, California Gurl Katy Perry. Together, the pair took absurdity to a new level, and probably shared the oddest wardrobe in celeb world.

Recently Russell's been trying his hand at movies, with comedy flicks such as Get Him to the Greek where he reprised his role as rocker Aldous Snow and remake Arthur. He's also done voice parts for kids' films Despicable Me and Hop, where we assume he didn't mention his bed hopping, narcotic fuelled past.

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