This column has previously exposed the sleazy, talentless train wreck that is “comedian” Russell Brand’s talk show. Sadly but predictably, the program has not improved; if anything, it has gotten worse – which is why the Thursday, February 14th episode of FX’s Brand X with Russell Brand (10:00 p.m. ET) deserves the title of Worst Cable TV Show of the Week. (See previous review)
The program opened with Brand squalling “thawnk’oo” in his inimitably whiny Brit accent. After shrieking that his show is “live!” about fifty times in the first three minutes, Brand mentioned his guests: sex-and-celebrity-obsessed “comedian” Kathy Griffin, “consciousness technician” (i.e., hypnotist) Paul McKenna, and “brilliant British comedian” Noel Fielding, whom Brand noted, “is going to be back here apologing for“ offending a woman. Um, Russell…the word is “apologizing.” (Later in the show, Brand made reference to a “facile” penis. Going by context, he meant “flaccid.” Apparently, though Brand himself is English, he can’t speak it.)
Brand then proceeded to pick on a pregnant woman he dragged out of the audience, insulting her with language like, “Why should we wait around like idiots for this baby to be born? I’d like to see it come out and live with us right now. Would you be prepared to do your baby during our live television program?…During the course of the show, that woman will be doing a human baby for us!” Brand’s relentless assault on the woman continued after each commercial break; and when Noel Fielding joined him, Brand bellowed, “We’ve both had male contraceptive injections. We’re both very, very fertile men and there’ve been too many babies born already. It’s got to stop. Which one of us created that BASTARD?”, as he pointed at the pregnant woman’s belly. He then talked about chopping up the baby and putting it in a stew.
Brand then proceeded to his monologue, where he joked about murderer Christopher Dorner, who had just died in a stand-off with police: “We’re prepared to look on the lighter side of homicidal cop-killers catching fire in a cabin. We live in a world where tragedy is entertainment. Let’s embrace that fact!”
Brand then devoted time to trashing the Catholic Church:
“The Vatican reacted with shock to the resignation of the pope. But they weren’t that shocked when they found out that when he was a little lad he was a Nazi. They weren’t shocked when they discovered he presided over institutionalized pedophilia. ‘Do you know he’s a Nazi?” ‘Yes.’ ‘Do you know there’s loads of pedophilia going on in churches?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘I’m thinking of resigning.’ ‘WHAT?! You made me spit my communion wine! [Brand spoke the next words in a sing-song voice] That was Jesus’ blood, met-a-phor-i-cal-ly!” Between this and American Horror Story, FX seems to be positioning itself as the premier network for anti-Catholic bigots. Watch for the network’s upcoming promotion, in which it will burn crosses in front of Catholic parishes and make white hoods and sheets available to viewers.
Then it was time for non-stop raunchy, adolescent sex “humor.” When hypnotist Paul McKenna stated that people thought hypnosis was like “waving a magic wand,” Russell smirked, “It’s not your penis, is it? He’d wave it in your face aggressively. But this magic wand has a magic potion in it…”
Predictably, the episode hit bottom with the appearance of fellow sleazemonger Kathy Griffin, whose own shows are non-stop celebrations of raunch. Brand proceeded to “interview” Griffin, with the following results:
Brand: “Kathy once dated Quentin Tarantino, but says she never allowed him to put his hard penis into her vagina and ejaculate. Is that true?”
Griffin: “That is true.”
Brand: “What did you do?”
Griffin: “Well, I always felt bad because I didn’t close. I like to be closing –“
Brand: “Sorry. ‘Close’?”
Griffin: “Full intercourse.”
Brand: “I thought for a minute you could dilate your vagina, and you left it open like a portal to another dimension.”
Brand then challenged Griffin to a race to see who could put on a condom on most quickly. “We’re not going to do that on an erect penis, because this is a television program, or a facile (he meant “flaccid”) penis, because that’s always embarrassing, to see in there like a sort of underweight ninja….So instead of using human male penises, why don’t we use Jonesy’s [the show’s long-suffering musician/guitarist] toes.” The “contest” ended with the camera zooming in on Jonesy’s condom-clad toes, as Griffin screamed, “Girls, don’t believe those guys who say it doesn’t feel as good. …You will so get laid. Just make him use a condom.”
Brand X is the very essence of what is wrong with the pay-TV industry. This episode of Brand X was beaten in the cable and satellite ratings by such scintillating programming as Rehab Addict, House Hunters, and reruns of Law & Order – even among the coveted 18-49 demographic. That FX should continue to force every one of the 100 million pay-TV homes in America to pay for a program that literally less than one-half of one percent watch – and which would disgust the vast majority – demonstrates perfectly why Americans deserve, and should demand, the right to pay for only the programs they watch.
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