WHEN storytelling stand-ups hit a certain strata of celebrity, it often seems as if the only subject they can talk about with any honest is fame.
Some strive to maintain that while millionaires, they’re still the same man or woman as previously, with the same problems and preoccupations as you or I.
But thanks, in part, to his erstwhile heroin addiction and his irrepressible natural ego, Russell Brand has never affected an Everyman persona.
A few universal appeals to childhood experience notwithstanding, and with a robust sense of cynicism and more acute sense of his own ridiculousness than any of his critics, Brand fully embraces his international stardom – from the hordes of young girls rushing the stage simply to touch him, right through to tabloid distortions of his reckless wit.
So exploring the idea of a messiah complex comes more easily to him than most, with the comic comparing his life to those of Mahatma Gandhi, Che Guevara, Malcolm X and Jesus Christ, his tongue planted only so far into his enormous depths of cheek.
Noting that these men had flaws and feet of clay, his abiding point seems to be that we need heroes to emulate but that we should accept their shortcomings. Less successfully, he expands his analysis of idolatry into slamming corporate advertising, with rather less distinctive, well-trod observations about commercial hyperbole.
Then at the other extreme, he offers a passionate and graphic worship of the female body. From the fairly rigid structure of critiquing his four heroes (and Hitler), the last third of the show loses coherence, even as it remains broadly entertaining.