If ever there was a comedian who epitomises bacchanalian hedonism with a faux messianic complex, and self professed love of women or “night wives”, it would be Russell Brand. Labels aside, Russell is articulate, funny and self deprecating and “I am a Walrus” is testament to this as we shall see later.
Poet Mr Gee has the unenviable task of warming up the crowd of mainly scantily dressed women in all manner of revealing mini-skirts, shorts, mesh tops matched with platform soled shoes, who are devotees of Brand. He assures us that “No matter how depraved or how x-rated the show becomes, we will start with poetic intentions”.
Mr Gee begins with how far away Australia is from England, and witty anecdotes on this theme. He discusses his dislike of the Twilight movies and how these pale in comparison to real horror movies like “Hell Raiser”, Nightmare on Elm St and Halloween. In particular he relates one scene of Twilight where a man (in this case a werewolf) comes onto another man’s woman and the man happens to be a vampire, who just sits back and accepts it. A poem dedicated to Jesse Owens, the first man to win 4 gold medals at the Berlin Olympics in 1936 concludes his set and ties in the main theme of Brand’s show.
The show commences with a montage of TV snippets of Brand projected onto a large screen, featuring a prominent scene showing Brand atop a bus singing the Beatles’ “I am the Walrus” at the London Olympics closing ceremony. It explains the inspiration for the title of his show, but Brand is quick to point out the distinction between it and the Beatles’ psychedelic masterpiece.
“I love you” screams out a female punter. “I love you too. Let’s find time to physicalise that love”, retorts Brand. Despite the overtly sexual nature of his material, there is more to Brand’s show. The Closing ceremony of the London Olympics is the central trajectory with philosophy, spiritual awareness, drug addiction and anti corporate themes explored alongside. Clad in his attire of choice; skinny ripped black jeans, a loose white T-shirt. Brand removes his jacket to loud squeals whilst saying” Look I have arms!”
Early on Brand says we are all “relaxed and good looking, which is a good environment for anal sex” and he ventures out into the crowd to meet his audience and select some “night wives”. Brand plays up to his reputation for sexual innuendo and it bodes him well. One clearly inebriated punter holding a suspicious bottle of red-brown liquid tries to grab the mike off Brand and then drops his dacks exposing his tattooed penis. The crowd erupts.
When seeking spiritual awareness, Brand toys with the idea of becoming a monk, to a look of dismay from his celibate spiritual guide who happens to be a Buddhist monk. Spawning the statement that “Married people out there, you are one fuck away from a monk”.
Back to the closing ceremony, and Brand’s attire is a velvet pair of tight trousers and a top hat. He fancies himself as a bit of an athlete at this point and does some exercises that leave a “portal of shame” in his pants. His tear is held together with some jagged edges of Sellotape, but Brand’s description is a lot more articulate and colourful “Inadvertent testicular acupuncture”.
Although there is a lot more to Brand’s comedy than the sexual content for which he is renowned. One can’t help but applaud Brand when he says “There is not a part of a woman’s body that I won’t put in my mouth”. So it’s no surprise that when he says he’ll be signing all manner of items at the end of the show, the hordes waste no time in mobbing the front of the stage.
“I am a Walrus” exemplifies Brand’s talent as a comedian, as he upholds his reputation for being a lothario. It’s all part of the appeal.
Photos by Mary Boukouvalas
First published in Noise 11, on Dec 9th 2012