Today Russell Brand visited Parliament to join the discussion on drug addiction, and boy was he eloquent! Maybe it’s because I was first introduced to him when he played a thinly-veiled version of himself — including all his vices — in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, but I’ve always regarded Brand as a volatile goofball. His divorce from Katy Perry and bizarre iPhone-throwing incident don’t do much to help his image now that he’s ensconced in Hollywood.
And yet, despite his scuffles with the paparazzi and his checkered past as a drug-addict who was arrested twelve times, Brand still comes off as charming. I think it’s because of how earnest he is when arguing for something he really believes in: In the above video, it’s him in front of the MPs pushing the idea that drug addiction should be treated as an illness and not as a crime. He speaks candidly about being a criminal during his addict days and how he got money for his next fix, and stresses that “it’s better to address the social situation pragmatically… There needs to be love and compassion all around.”
If all that seriousness too jarring for you, here’s a second clip where he’s back to more of his recognizable goofiness. Brand jokes about his “propensity for verbosity” and spouts out side commentary on the proceedings, much to the questioners’ chagrin.