Russell Brand takes on Jeremy Paxman and his beard - video

Oct 25, 2013

'How come I feel so cross with you?' comedian asks Paxman, as he calls for a revolution on Newsnight

NEWSNIGHT host Jeremy Paxman was left looking slightly bewildered last night as his interviewee Russell Brand bombarded him with reasons for a political revolution.

The comedian – who is guest-editing a special edition of the New Statesman – was on typically flamboyant form, mixing compliments about Paxman's "gorgeous" beard with a tirade against the current political system.

On discovering that Brand had never voted, Paxman asks: "If you can't be arsed to vote, why should we be arsed to listen to your point of view?"

Addressing his interviewer as "Jeremy, my darling", Brand explains that he refuses to vote out of "absolute indifference and weariness and exhaustion from the lies, treachery and deceit of the political class that has been going on for generations".

Asked if he had come to this conclusion before the age of 18, Brand replies that he was "busy being a drug addict at that point". He puts his addiction down to the social conditions he was born into, which he says are "exacerbated by an indifferent system that really just administrates for large corporations and ignores the population that it was voted in to serve".

At one point Paxman admits that he agrees with Brand on many of his views. "Then why do I feel so cross with you?" asks the comedian. "It can't be because of that beard... it's gorgeous, grow it longer, tangle it into your armpit hair."

Paxman calls him "a very trivial man" to which Brand responds: "A minute ago you were having a go at me for wanting a revolution, now I'm trivial."

When Paxman pushes Brand on what alternative political system he would design, the comedian tells him: "I've not done it yet Jeremy. I had to edit a magazine last week. I have had a lot on my plate."

The magazine in question is the New Statesman, which Brand is guest-editing. In a 5,000-word article within it he describes his disillusionment with the current political system. "Apathy is a rational reaction to a system that no longer represents, hears or addresses the vast majority of people," he writes.

His article provoked acclaim on Twitter – and some criticism. 

The veteran journalist Robin Lustig took issue with Brand’s praise of apathy.

“The core of his message is: ‘I will never vote and I don't think you should, either.’” Lustig wrote on the Huffington Post. “He presents it as a message of hope, when in fact it is precisely the opposite. It is a message of despair.”

He ran through a roll-call of people who have benefited by exercising their right to vote: Americans getting health insurance or the first time, black South Africans and Britons earning a minimum wage for the first time after the 1997 Labour landslide.

“Apathy is cowardice,” Lustig insisted. “I can understand people being reluctant to vote because they feel a sense of disgust, but the rational reaction to that is not apathy, but to find candidates – or become a candidate – in  whom one is more prepared to have faith.”

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So, base rates are as low as they've ever been..lending rates are high...I suspect a new property bubble

or another deal...

he is witty n humorous

...both a couple of p******s in their own ways.

Because we should care what everybody thinks, regardless of their circumstances. Being a self-harmer, bulimic or junkie doesn't mean your voice shouldn't be heard.

...not ALL people from "underprivileged" backgrounds take drugs. Drug use is a matter of personal choice from the outset and it is not as if Mr Brand was not aware of the probable consequences of substance misuse - after all, he claims to be "intelligent".

Brand CHOSE to self - indulge in drug abuse - should we all feel sorry for him and apologise to him for his misfortunes.

He feels "angry" - I feel angry too - my taxes are being mis-used to pay for the social damage caused by such "unfortunate" drug addicts.

This dude makes more sense than Barrack Husseeinnnn Obammmamamamam almightyyyyyyyyyy, can do know wrong rainbows from his ass.

Right on Lisa. If you want really good advice never go to a sane reasonable principled non-user. What do they know, a bunch of preachers is all they are. I get my advice on stuff from skid-row geniuses. They will part with everything they know for a bottle of Old Ninety-seven.

When he was self harming and suffered with bulimia (both psychlogical problems) maybe he used the drugs to self medicate?

Many pensioners who suffer chronic pain from arthritis smoke "the weed" for pain relief. Many people have a couple of drinks to "calm the nerves" or "take the edge off". And we all know about comfort eating.

Mr Brand did not choose to suffer from bulimia or self harm did he? You do not know whether or not he chose to take drugs just for recreation, because you are not him and you were not there.

There is a really good old saying: "everybody can deal with the Devil apart from those who have him"

...agreed - but to deal with the devil, one has to invite him in, first.

To liken Brand to an arthritis sufferer who need to take cannabis is, I feel, rather disingenuous - I have every sympathy with that category of drug user.

Brand is not one of the world's deepest thinkers, to put it mildly. He is terribly immature (don't forget his odious behaviour, with Jonathan Ross, at the expense of Andrew Sachs).

He has a lot to live down - he hasn't done much to dispel his idiotic image thus far. God alone knows why Paxman gave him the time of day.

I would just like to commence by stating that I do not have an opinion on Mr Brand as a person, as I know very little about him, and therefore do not have enough information to form an opinion as to his character.

I do not believe that one always has to invite the Devil in, in order to be having to deal with him (or her?!) .If one's experience of the Devil was having to live with agoraphobia, for example, it is hardly likely that one asked for this condition! Any people without the condition who told you to: "just get out more" are not having to deal with how you feel; they do not have this particular experience of the Devil.

By the way I am not religious, I just came accross the saying years ago, and I thought it was very apt. A lot of people who have never had a weight problem cannot understand why overweight people just don't eat less. Much the same as someone who has never smoked will just say to a smoker: "just give up, don't have anymore" All of them dealing with the Devil they do not, and never have, had.

As regards comparing Brand's drug taking with pensioners smoking weed. I was simply trying to point out that the pensioners were doing it to rid themselves of the pain of arthritis, whereas Mr Brand could have been doing it to rid himself of the emotional pain which caused the bulimia and self harm.

...of course, I can see your point of view - but Mr Brand has form for being an unashamed self-publicist and (IMHO) somewhat less deserving of understanding than, for example, an agoraphobe or a chronic arthritic.

As you rightly say, neither of us really know Brand or what persuaded him to indulge in drug abuse in the first place - your very charitable interpretation might, indeed, be nearer to the truth. However, his past form does not invite much sympathy - I return to his dreadful treatment, on air, of Andrew Sachs and his (?) grand daughter - neither of whom were in any position to defend themselves against his salacious and puerile utterances.

Perhaps Mr Paxman should have raised that point with him?

I would rather save my sympathy and understanding for more deserving cases.

Typical left-wing rubbish. Good at diagnosing problems with capitalism, pie-in-the-sky solutions. When the revolution when the Saviour comes...hitting the rich is no solution, especially in today's world of business, where they have the means to shift funds elsewhere. We need the rich to look after the poor. The richer they get, the better off the rest of us become. I was a teacher for 20 years. I produced nothing in financial terms. Who paid my salary? The rich. If you get rid of the rich, where are all the benefits coming from? In any case, look at history. All communist countries have ended up with despotic leaders, opportunists who seize the moment to grab power. They will embrace any ideology for their means, and when they are eventually toppled, we see the oppulence, the extravagant lifestyles they all lived, in palatial surroundings.

More insults and name calling by (redman76) .....You have over 258 comments on Disqus and they all consist of name calling, some are vulgar and most are just insulting ... you're a cyber bully ... very sad!!! ... Don't you have any friends? ... You should get some professional help because you have issues that go far beyond internet forums !