Russell Brand

Russell Brand

Date of birth: 04-06-1975

Born in Grays, Essex, to Barbara and Ron, Russell Brand was brought up by his mother. He made his theatrical debut aged 15 in a school production of Bugsy Malone, before going to the Italia Conti stage school and then the Drama Centre in Camden where, at night, he began performing stand-up.

He reached the final of the Hackney Empire New Act Of The Year competition in 2000, and soon after landed two MTV series, Dance Floor Chart and Select. However he became addicted to heroin, which affected his work. and was fired after coming to work dressed as Osama Bin Laden immediately after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

In 2002, he fronted the provocative Re:Brand, on UK Play in which he masturbated a gay man and challenged his own father to a boxing match to settle old schools. That year he also appeared in theSteve Coogan vehicle Cruise of the Gods – though he was thrown off the set for bad behaviour and his agent, John Noel, forced him into rehab.

In summer 2004, Brand was given a second chance, hosting E4’s live Big Brother discussion series Efourum. The gamble paid of for Channel 4, and Brand was on the road to becoming an international star.

The only blip on his rise came in October 2008 when, on a radio show with Jonathan Ross, Brand left filthy messages on the answerphone of Andrew Sachs, which caused huge controversy for he BBC.

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Comedy Central brings the 'roast' to the UK

With Jimmy Carr, Russell Brand and Katherine Ryan

Comedy Central is bringing the brutal ‘roast battle’ format to the UK,  with Jimmy Carr, Russell Brand and Katherine Ryan among those taking part.

Carr will host the series of six half-hour shows with Brand and Ryan part of the celebrity judging panel who will decide the winners.

Each episode will involve a mix of established comics and new faces exchanging vicious no-holds-barred insults,  and each show will be given a theme. 

The series, which will be recorded in front of a studio audience later this month, will air early in the New Year on Comedy Central UK.

Comedy Central’s general manager Louise Holmes, said: ‘[The show] will see the UK's finest comedians go head to head in the ultimate battle of wits. We will pit friend against frenemy, northerners against southerners and who knows, maybe even husband versus wife. The gloves will be coming off and no subject is off limits if it gives fodder for funny.’

The franchise is a staple of US comedy, especially in its ‘celebrity roast’ format, but has never really taken off  Britain – although the UK broadcaster says imports of the US roasts performed well for it in the ratings

 A total of 15 celebrity roasts have aired on Comedy Central in the States, with targets such as  Pamela Anderson, Joan Rivers, Justin Bieber and Donald Trump. Last year Carr took part in a roast of Rob Lowe which caused controversy when he joked about the firefighter dad of fellow comic Peter Davidson dying on 9/11. 

Carr also took part in the last attempt to bring a celebrity roast to the UK, hosting five episodes for Channel 4 in 2010, which targetted Bruce Forsyth, Sharon Osbourne, Chris Tarrant, Davina McCall and Barbara Windsor. 

Free tickets for the recordings of Roast Battle UK, taking place at the Electric in Brixton, South London, are available here.  Those applying to watch have been warned: ‘This is not a harmless comedy showcase or a friendly panel show... this is competitive roasting.’

The series will be coproduced by Fulwell 73 and Ideasatron.

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Published: 7 Sep 2017

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