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DVD Review: Russell Brand in New York City – Extended & Uncensored

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Eighty-five percent of my friends squealed, as we did in our younger years whilst moistly clutching pictures of our fave pop idols, when I mentioned I was reviewing the DVD of Russell Brand in New York City: Extended & Uncensored. Of the others, one (a Southerner) actually said, “Oh my,” and fanned herself while another told me that she would be glad to pre-view my preview copy and it would be okay with her if I stayed in the room when she did.

I mention this because near the beginning of his stand-up routine Russell Brand talks about fame. To be more precise, his fame. He has quite a lot of it in his native U.K. but not so in America. Makes sense, since he’s been there a lot longer than he has over here across the pond. But his U.S. fan base is growing larger every day partially due to this live comedy DVD and the viewing of the special on the Comedy Central channel.

During the course of this all-too-short special, Russell hits a lot of subjects, many stemming from his hosting appearance on MTV’s 2008 Video Music Awards show. Meeting Britney Spears, the Jonas Brothers, George W. Bush (this was taped prior to our last presidential election), and Kanye West are a few of the things he touched upon during the award show. I’m not sure which I thought was more amusing, those or his reading of some of the death threats he received afterward. Didn’t catch his stint on the VMAs? Me, either. Thoughtfully, Comedy Central included it in the Bonus Features section of the DVD.

His role as Brit rock star Aldous Snow in the film Forgetting Sarah Marshall gives him fodder for his routine as well. Other subjects include his meeting the Queen, reports of his behavior in the London tabloid The Daily Mail and something he likes to call “Reciprocal Altruism.” Oh… and sex. Quite a bit about sex. Seduction, techniques, orgies, being one’s sexual self, the list goes on. Surely you can’t be surprised about it. The man oozes sex, how could it possibly not have a place in his stand-up (pun intended).

All of this is thrust upon you, the viewer, at super speed, perhaps a thousand words a minute. Russell Brand is quick, a wit, and when dealing with an audience member who’s perhaps had a bit too much to drink (watch the “Loose Cannon Girl” bonus), show’s he’s a quick wit to top it off. Viewing the bonus featurette "An Englishman In New York," an off-the-cuff Russell Brand loose in Times Square piece confirms it. His humor is intelligent, self-deprecating, and thought-provoking, bordering on the sharp edge of controversy. The hubby ranks him right up there with Eddie Izzard which is extremely high praise indeed.

Now, you can see a lot of (censored) clips from the show right on Comedy Central or even on his MySpace profile. You can also go to YouTube to catch up on his appearances on the talk show circuit promoting his autobiography My Booky Wook and the Russell Brand in New York City: Extended & Uncensored DVD (the Chelsea Lately Show is brilliant). Bottom line is that I think you’re going to want to own the DVD itself. Yes, it’s that good and bears numerous repeat viewings. And none of the "naughty" words are bleeped out!

One last thing. The DVD for Russell Brand in New York City: Extended & Uncensored is the first original Comedy Central stand-up special ever. I must say that if this is the ilk of what they have in store for the future, then it definitely bears keeping an eye out for.

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