Russell Brand to bring call for ‘revolution’ to Istanbul

Russell Brand to bring call for ‘revolution’ to Istanbul

ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News
Russell Brand to bring call for ‘revolution’ to Istanbul

Russell Brand, the world-renowned British comedian, will make his first debut in Turkey in 11 years for his latest show, 'Messiah Complex.'

He regards politicians as “frauds and liars.” He has no trust in the current political system, which is “nothing more than a bureaucratic means for furthering the augmentation and advantages of economic elites.” He does not vote since he sees it “like a tacit act of compliance.” And in an era of self-denial and wild political drive, he calls for revolution, which “has already begun.”

This is the world, according to Russell Brand, the internationally-renowned British comedian, who will be making his first debut in Turkey in 11 years for his latest show, “Messiah Complex - World Tour 2013.” And obviously, he will have much more to say than a typical stand-up comedian does when he comes to Istanbul on Nov. 23, as he has a sincere and defiant cause to fight for.

“The ideologies of the past are dead; this means we need new ideologies, new mythologies, new stories and to discover what these icons meant and what their function was,” Brand said. Seeking the essential message while questioning “the function of an icon like Christ or a Prophet like Muhammad,” the comedian finds the message in evolution. “It’s the message of the evolution of the individual to be part of the whole. Never has it been more important, never has there been a greater need for ideologies,” Brand said in a recent email interview with the Daily News.

Brand has been a flamboyant and controversial figure for nearly his entire career. He has always been bold and has frequently made the headlines. He was fired from his MTV job for coming to work wearing an Osama bin Laden costume the day after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in New York. His luck with the BBC was no different than at MTV. He was forced to quit there, too, after a series of prank calls to actor Andrew Sachs with “disturbing” comments, including lewd statements about Sachs' granddaughter. In a recent incident, he was also targeted for making a joke about Hugo Boss’ business relations with Nazis during an award ceremony sponsored by the luxury brand.

Global fame

Those and many other scandals, which Brand has blamed on his alcoholism and drug use, failed to spoil the comedian’s path to joining the league of the globally famous, even if he thinks it has given him nothing but a “headache.” The 2008 movie “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” in which he played a troubled rock star, Aldous Snow, who was similar to himself, gave him a more global spotlight and led to 2010’s “Get Him to the Greek,” in which Brand as Snow starred as the main character, who felt increasingly solitary despite the cheering crowds surrounding him.

“Oh god that’s depressing! Oh yeah I’d forgotten about that,” Brand told the Daily News when asked whether he sees any similarities between himself and Snow.

While his marriage with singer Katy Perry lasted only 14 months and ended in pain, Brand appeared more seasoned. He has always been OK with openly admitting that he was a victim of drug abuse and is now a recovering addict. Unlike many celebrities, he was actively engaged in political campaigns. As such, political activism is not a new thing for the comic, but both controversy and praise ensued after his guest-editing of Britain's New Statesman magazine and his subsequent appearance on BBC Two’s leading program Newsnight with presenter Jeremy Paxman.

Keeping his usual relaxed attitude despite the grilling of Paxman, who questioned the wisdom of editing a political magazine as someone who never voted, Brand forced his host to question the paradigms of the current establishment, which he said were simply not working. “The planet is being destroyed. We are creating an underclass and exploiting poor people all over the world,” he added.

Brand was able to make his point for many, who are rejecting, resisting and fighting back against the despair brought by the capitalist system; still, all hell frequently breaks loose over his remarks. He has been accused of fomenting violence, discouraging young voters from engaging in politics and believing in pie-in-the-sky leftism. He is well-aware that “politics cannot be avoided,” while not calling for fruitless pacifism. “Politics are all around us. Even if you say, ‘I don’t want to interface with politics,’ you are a celebrity who represents the consumer, individualistic culture,” Brand told the Daily News. “You could say Kim Kardashian has no opinion on politics, but what does she represent? She represents the ideas that what’s important is individual satisfaction, to consume, that physical beauty is more important than spiritual progress. You could say that about any figure.”

Despite the media mocking for his calls for an absolute change, Brand has not backtracked while urging “a journey we can all go on together, all of us” in a piece published in The Guardian. “A system that serves the planet and the people. I’d vote for that.”

If you want a first-hand look at the journey that Brand is offering, join him on a Saturday night in Istanbul and see if it is worth a try.

Great sympathy for Gezi protesters


Spreading the word of the revolution is no easy task, particularly in Turkey, but British comedian Russell Brand has voiced his sympathy for the wave of anti-government demonstrations that broke out in the country in late May.

Voicing support to the Gezi protesters in the early summer via social media, Brand tweeted that “our leaders are trusted servants not our masters. #occupygezi #direngeziparki #turkey,” at a time when the anti-government rallies and police violence were at their peak.

“It looks like the Turkish people have had enough of having their culture subjugated by the will of corporations and that people are ready for a different type of government,” he told the Daily News when he was asked to comment on the protests.

“I think that there’s a lot of sympathy for the protesters in Istanbul,” he added.