Lydia Jenkin is an entertainment feature writer for the New Zealand Herald.

Russell Brand swaggers his way to a standing ovation

Russell Brand's stories from a bizarre life kept his audience laughing. Photo / AP
Russell Brand's stories from a bizarre life kept his audience laughing. Photo / AP

Devilishly saucy comedian Russell Brand may have had only a stool and a water bottle for company on stage last night, but he was one of the most engrossing acts to perform there this year, and the large and enthusiastic crowd were kept laughing for nearly all of his 90-minute set.

An opening collage of clips showing Brand in various interviews, news reports and performances set the tone for the evening - one full of stories from his often bizarre life, set between a cacophony of self-analysis, raucous banter with the audience, philosophising, social deconstruction and a torrent of clever salaciousness.

Not five minutes into the show, he was off the stage and wandering around the floor, introducing himself to fans, having knickers thrown at him and women chasing him ("This is like Pac-Man," he cried).

He may be a recovered drug addict, but he's also a stylish, charming movie star with a silver tongue, whose descriptive language and sly storytelling are enough to enchant both sexes with ease.

I Am a Walrus, as his show is dubbed (a subtle but important change from the Beatles song I Am The Walrus, as he pointed out - a psychedelic messiah compared to, well, just a walrus), is definitely all about Brand.

But within his tales of dying in a snowboard accident, talking to the British government about drugs, meeting the Dalai Lama and performing at the London Olympics, he managed to deconstruct some corporate slogans, slaughter Fox News, the Daily Mail and Paul Henry, do impressions of David Beckham and Mike Tyson, tease us about our border security "fruit police", and examine the writings of David Icke, all the while saving his most barbed commentary for himself - his inability to conceive of the future, his lack of control, and his acting skills ("I always play a version of myself in a top hat").

He swaggered, thrusted, probed and taunted, pointed out the absurdities of the world, and even sang an appalling but funny song to Dave's mum down the phone.

Who knows what the rest of the evening held for Brand (he promised to select victims for his after-show buffet), but judging by the standing ovation, he's welcome back any time.

- NZ Herald

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