Did we like it?
An experience not unlike a bomb going off with windows shattered by deafening levels of amateurism, the foundations upon which there was to be built a chat show weakened to the point of shambolic collapse by the shrapnel of egregious egotism, but perversely above it all there was the definitive, endearing impression of a pall of captivating charismatic smoke with messy hair named Russell.
What was good about it?
• Despite almost everything in the show being utterly rubbish, it somehow worked and was entertaining. Perhaps it was so bad that we were duped into thinking it was a clever Kumars-style parody of the chat show didactic. And the main reason we were so entertained was Russell Brand himself.
• While almost everything Russell did was ham-fisted and inept, we were somehow beguiled by his charm. And even when he hopelessly tried to interview guests David Walliams and Matt Lucas in the third part after 45 minutes previously of directionless rambling in their general direction, we were egging him on to succeed. And this was mostly because as he desperately tried to string together sentences that didn’t contain the word “I”, he became nervous and more human as his veneer of confidence was stripped away.
• Each time he stumbled over asking a question, or showed interest in another person other than himself, he became more tolerable and this above anything else on the show was his greatest achievement – transforming a comic who ruthlessly trades on his snide cruelty and subhuman dissolution into a person who the viewer can relate to, and ultimately like.
• When allowed to, guests Matt and David made some wry quips, but they were really little more than foils for Brand. When they were actually chatting about Matt Lucas, in particular his upcoming civil partnership ceremony, Russell again flipped the topic to himself by shrilly remarking that to be invited he would need “to come as a pantomime character”. “Come as yourself,” Matt replied tartly.
What was bad about it?
• We weren’t especially enamoured with the cumbersome sketches such as Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes in bed with David Beckham offering advice. But this is largely because that couple have travelled so far beyond lampooning that Tom could wave to his Thetan “ancestors” from out the window.• It is not a chat show. At no point did Russell ever interview Lucas and Walliams despite threatening to on any number of occasions. Whenever they got talking, Russell would yank the interview to focus on himself such as encouraging David to tell Matt how he met Russell (it was on a cruise liner for a TV comedy-drama from which Russell was sacked from essentially for being a smackhead).
• Even when they chatted about the Little Britain stage show, Russell wheeled the conversation around to focus on his recent cameo.
• And this accentuated the fact that Russell is no chat show host. While he can expertly hold court over a bunch of ramshackle non-entities on BB’s Big Mouth, when it comes to actually talking to people he takes the Margaret Thatcher path of disinterested arrogance. Lucas and Walliams were there for an hour yet any question merely served as the preamble to an insipid sketch, and it even got to the stage where David Walliams actually started to interview Russell.
• Russell adhering to the Jonathan Ross lexicon of insincere American diction when he described a confectionary bust of Matt Lucas’s head as being “made of gen-u-wine chocolate”.
• An audience who will applaud everything as though they’ve been disgorged from the pumped stomach of Brand’s chat show on MTV 1 Leicester Square, which worshipped the worthless with a religious fervour. Anyone who even speaks to Gwen Stefani loses the right to be on television, or to even have ears.
• Russell’s hopeless football chant based on Billy Joel’s Uptown Girl, it was as if a disembodied drunken pub chat had taken possession of our TV for five minutes.
• Russell demanding Lucas and Walliams to recite endless Little Britain catchphrases in an effort to tread water in the ocean of inanity until they could all be rescued by a passing commercial break trawler.