The Roxy Theatre in Los Angeles is legendary for being host to wild parties, crazy celebrities and more than its fair share of debauchery. But enough about Russell Brand’s stand-up performance there on Sunday.
“The Roxy has seen performances from the Sex Pistols, Bob Marley, Guns N’ Roses,” the English actor and comic told MTV News in his upstairs dressing room immediately following his set. “And in fact, there are pictures of these people screwed to the walls because the people that come here cannot be trusted not to steal pictures off the walls. I bet people steal paint,” he continued, chuckling. “I bet people peel paint off with butter knives and then try to reapply it to the walls of their houses.”
All joking aside, Brand is of course primarily known in America for petty theft: stealing scenes from co-stars Kristen Bell and Jason Segel as a supporting player in the recent “Forgetting Sarah Marshall.”
“Of course [Americans have] seen me in ‘Sarah Marshall,’ if they’re alive!” Brand laughed. “If they’ve got lungs and kidneys, we can assume that [they've seen me]. It’s a given. It’s on the national curriculum: Breakfast, go watch ‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall,’ come home, remember scenes from ‘Sarah Marshall.’ ”
It certainly seems that way to Brand, given how his profile has skyrocketed in America since the release of the film. “It’s gotten a bit better since the popularity accumulation,” he said. “I’m now able to use public transport for free.”
But Brand, perhaps surprisingly, would like to be known mainly for his stand-up, he revealed, calling it — and not acting — his “first love.”
“Stand-up and Stacy Boatman,” he joked. “You never really get over that — your first love. I’ve treated stand-up comedy better because, Tracy Boatman, I did steal [from her].” (Editor’s note: We suspect this Stacy/Tracy person may be fictional.)
We kid about the debauchery and partying mentioned earlier, by the way, but only because Brand does as well. An admitted former drug addict, Brand uses wild experiences from his own life (read more about that here) as a template for his comedy, a twist on the “confessionals” of most comics who tend to focus on the mundane and trivial.
“[My comedy is basically] a man talking about his life, about embarrassing incidents, in the vain hope that by opposing, ends them,” he said — loosely quoting from “Hamlet” — of his routine, which features a reference to both heroin and Shakespeare in the same sentence. “It’s the culmination of a lifetime of work if you do confessional, biographical stand-up comedy.”
So how did Brand’s act go over?
“It went really well as a matter of fact,” he asserted. “People laughed when they were supposed to laugh, cheered when they were supposed to cheer and hurled missiles when pertinent.”
Brand will return to the Roxy for stand-up performances the first three Sundays in June.
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