Saturday, April 13, 2024

Russell Brand No Longer Mourning Marriage to Katy Perry


Let’s just say Russell Brand, on the surface at least, has completed the mourning of his marriage to Katy Perry. On stage Sunday night at Radio City Music Hall he performed stand up comedy brilliantly–twice–for “The Secret Policemen’s Ball.” Celebrating the 50th anniversary of Amnesty International, the two and a half hour show was heavy with British comics and the rock groups Mumford & Son and Coldplay. American comics from “Saturday Night Live” and some miscellaneous local actors seemed a little lost, and maybe not quite up to speed on Amnesty International. But the Brits–punctuated by taped segments from members of Monty Python–were very good. Brand and his comedy partner Noel Fielding reminded me of Dudley Moore and Peter Cook; Fielding–with Goth looks and black hair, big silver cross–is going to hit it big here now that he’s managed by Danny Bennett. I also really like Jimmy Carr.

But there’s something about “The Secret Policemen’s Ball” that is just very British. Americans have no sense of what it would be like to lose their freedoms or have to fight for them. It didn’t translate well. A comedian, of all things, from Burma, came out–he’d been in jail there for 11 years. Liam Neeson (who had a big bodyguard with him) introduced Zarganar, the audience didn’t really relate to his plight. But maybe it’s too hard to think of comedy clubs in Burma. He got out of jail, but it was a close shave. (Drum roll–Burma shave…)

Anyway, in the audience were Bob and Harvey Weinstein, Stanley Tucci, Matthew Rhys, and Jason Sudeikis’s girlfriend actress Olivia Wilde. (Jason is doing something right, that’s all I can say.)Someone said they saw Hugh Grant. Richard Branson, a long time Amnesty supporter, had a cameo. Jon Stewart opened the show and had a funny bit with Rex Lee from “Entourage.” You can watch the whole thing on; it’s being edited down to a manageable 90 minutes. Eddie Izzard was the nominal emcee, and he was as good as he was at the McCartney MusiCares tribute–he did a whole routine riffing in fake and real Latin. This guy is really talented and should be bigger here. Someone do something.

There was said to be an after party, but people with jobs had to go home. I’m guessing Russell Brand had a great time. He deserved it.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

Read more

In Other News