Video: Russell Brand’s MSNBC takedown

posted at 12:01 pm on June 20, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

The Washington Post’s Alexandra Petri compares this to Jon Stewart’s game-changing takedown of Crossfire nine years ago, and there’s no doubt that this is hardly Morning Joe’s finest hour.    The problem starts immediately with the introduction of Russell Brand, in which Mika Brzezinski admits to knowing little about her guest, but the tone stays friendly and frothy until about the 4:45 mark.  At that point, it really goes off the rails, and Brand shreds his hosts into near-incoherence:

This video of Russell Brand laying waste to the cast of “Morning Joe” on MSNBC has been making the rounds, and it’s devastating. They start by oddly baiting him (“He’s a really big deal… I’m told this. I’m not very pop cultured, I’m sorry”) addressing him in the third person, and at some point calling him Willy? I think? It’s unclear what they think they’re doing. And about six minutes in, he commandeers the show and marches off with it, leaving no survivors. (“Is this what you all do for a living?” he asks, later adding, “These people, I’m sure, are typically very good at their jobs. You’re conveying news to the people of America? People of America, we’re going to be okay.”) I would liken the hosts to a kitten pouncing on what it assumes is a dazed snake and discovering it has latched onto the tail end of a dragon. It’s cringe-inducing. “You’re talking about me as if I’m not here and as if I’m an extraterrestrial,” he observes. Never mock someone with a British accent.

“Thank you for your casual objectification,” Brand says, after one of the hosts starts talking about him and his accent in the third person. Another of the hosts, after Brand suggests more serious topics for discussion, goes back to riffing on the comic’s attire, and Brand cuts in, “That’s the problem with current affairs. You forget about what’s important and you allow the agenda to be decided by superficial information.”

Ah, the excitement of live broadcasting! This is what happens when a show doesn’t do adequate preparation for a guest, and then tries to cover that with snark.  Most guests might not challenge their hosts under those circumstances, but Brand clearly reached his limit midway through this segment.  (Ironically, Brand himself hilariously demonstrated what happens when a guest is unprepared for a television interview in the film Get Him to the Greek.)

However, two factors separate this from the Stewart confrontation on Crossfire in 2004.  Crossfire suffered from self-righteousness and self-importance, posing as informed debate when it was often little more than a shoutfest.  Morning talk shows are supposed to be rather frothy.  They’re chatty and snarky by design, even those that tackle more serious issues.  More so than evening talking-head shows, they’re primarily intended to entertain rather than present a Buckleyesque debate on philosophy, which might be sorely missing from broadcast these days (and was also missing from Crossfire, which was Stewart’s point) but wouldn’t work as morning TV in any case.  Fox and Friends and probably hundreds of local talk shows take the same approach, covering the news stories but selling the sense of community and kaffeeklatsch.

Second, no offense to Russell Brand, but what did he expect?  Certainly better manners, and perhaps not to be confused with Willy Brandt, but his comedy show isn’t exactly a pressing world issue, either.  Perhaps his expounding on religious and cultural icons like Jesus, Gandhi, and Che Guevara might come to the level of a doctoral dissertation, but I somehow doubt it — and from his description, I’m not sure how Christians, Hindus, and peace activists will be anxious to hear from a comedian how they’ve gotten the message wrong from their central figures all their lives.  If he’s taking himself this seriously on a morning talk show, it probably doesn’t take a Buckley to figure out how sanctimonious the “Messiah Complex” tour will be.

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Comment pages: 1 2

MadisonConservative on June 20, 2013 at 2:29 PM

I love you too. :P

NotCoach on June 20, 2013 at 2:37 PM

Buttercup, its posted in the Green Room.

Bmore on June 20, 2013 at 1:51 PM

Why not bury this story in the GR instead so we wouldn’t be subject to Brands face on the HA Homepage.

Buttercup on June 20, 2013 at 2:40 PM

Caiwyn on June 20, 2013 at 12:09 PM

You nailed it, I will never understand why people refer to that as some kind of brutal takedown of Tucker Carlson. It was as you said, the other way around. Stewart went on there bemoaning the partisanship of the show, never mind that that was precisely the show’s format and they never pretended it was anything else. Then when Tucker brought up the fact that Stewart’s program is nothing but DNC agitprop, and he shouldn’t be pointing fingers, he got flustered and called him a name. Wow. By the way, Russel Brand is a no talent hack.

celtnik on June 20, 2013 at 2:45 PM

MSNBC is an embarrassment,

It’s only reason for existence is to throw red meat at the (D)Underheads and the freeloaders. On mSlSd, Russell Brand is an intellectual and Sharpton is a deep thinker.

That, in itself, is rip-roaring hilarious.

98ZJUSMC on June 20, 2013 at 3:12 PM

Never mock someone with a British accent.

It’s never stopped me. They deserve to be mocked.

Daily.

98ZJUSMC on June 20, 2013 at 3:17 PM

Maybe she read something about Germany?

GWB on June 20, 2013 at 2:21 PM

Mika can read?

BigAlSouth on June 20, 2013 at 3:17 PM

I don’t listen anymore. The Right’s interpretation of a “takedown” and “smackdown” in unrelated to reality.

rrpjr on June 20, 2013 at 2:21 PM

To wit, Twitchy’s inordinate use of the words zing and zinger.

steebo77 on June 20, 2013 at 3:21 PM

Buttercup. I have no idea. Email tips@hotair.com and suggest it.

Bmore on June 20, 2013 at 3:32 PM

Nothing new in that clip.

Mika has a Diploma in Idiocy, and could never stand on her own.

This is how stupid they really are.

Mika hides behind her drinks – as usual. And, Joe’s not there to bail her out.

so-notbuyingit on June 20, 2013 at 3:41 PM

It really disturbs me when anyone refers to these type shows as “news” shows as Brand does here. It only cements in some people’s minds the legitimacy of them as objective information from which to make voting decisions.

hopeful on June 20, 2013 at 3:48 PM

snipped….They deserve to be mocked.

Daily.

98ZJUSMC on June 20, 2013 at 3:17 PM

Who is the ‘they’ of British descent and accent who should be mocked daily hmmmmmmm??? ;)

Scrumpy on June 20, 2013 at 3:56 PM

My conclusion is to avoid listening to those who interviewed Russell Brand and Mr. Russell Brand

SC.Charlie on June 20, 2013 at 4:01 PM

Who is the ‘they’ of British descent and accent who should be mocked daily hmmmmmmm??? ;) – Scrumpy on June 20, 2013 at 3:56 PM

To them we have an accent. But Russell Brand’s accent is a British working class accent. Just as we can tell who comes from where by the way we speak, so can they.

SC.Charlie on June 20, 2013 at 4:04 PM

Don’t forget, this is the same guy who got tossed from MTV for dressing up as OBL on September 12… THE September 12…

The Schaef on June 20, 2013 at 4:20 PM

Don’t forget, this is the same guy who got tossed from MTV for dressing up as OBL on September 12… THE September 12… – The Schaef on June 20, 2013 at 4:20 PM

Thanks for the warning. I can only pray that one day he has an epiphany.

SC.Charlie on June 20, 2013 at 5:00 PM

However, two factors separate this from the Stewart confrontation on Crossfire in 2004. Crossfire suffered from self-righteousness and self-importance, posing as informed debate when it was often little more than a shoutfest.

Which probably was true – But that fact does not change that Jon Stewart is and always has been nothing more than a mouth peace/propagandist for the left. So the “bravery” of him calling out Tucker Carlsson was really but self-serving.

Sharr on June 20, 2013 at 5:21 PM

What would I do without you? I do make a conscious decision to avoid that dumb blond daughter of diplomat, I’m thinking their names are the same, and I do avoid Brand after seeing him plead, “You OWE it to the world,” to vote for Obama, so I’m inclined to despise him interfering in our politics so arrogantly like that and then saw an interesting actor that looks exactly like him in a movie about vikings and he was very engaging indeed. And another time too, in a ridiculous costume the most engaging of all. And he’s good here too, but still, what would I do without you bringing the stupid? I would live a more stupid-free life, that’s what. There is no takedown here as promised, that would have been delicious and worth it, but no, it is merely stupid, and stupid X 10 when you consider their salaries. I would prefer these prefaced something like this: “Wanna see something achingly stupid? Okay, watch.”

bour3 on June 20, 2013 at 5:43 PM

“These people, I’m sure, are typically very good at their jobs. You’re conveying news to the people of America? People of America, we’re going to be okay.”

ROFL!

ddrintn on June 20, 2013 at 5:59 PM

I will say this about Russell, if they ever make a movie/documentary about the Beatles, they would be hard-pressed to find a closer dead-ringer lookalike to play George Harrison!

cableguy615 on June 20, 2013 at 6:56 PM

Crossfire suffered from self-righteousness and self-importance, posing as informed debate when it was often little more than a shoutfest.

Yeah, I came to that assessment as well.

Axeman on June 20, 2013 at 6:58 PM

He called the chain the ‘racist chicken dispensary’ and then said: ‘Didn’t Chick-fil-A say that they’re racists now? Oh no, homophobic. I get mixed up with the prejudices. I forget who I’m supposed to hate.’

He’s a d8ck.

CW on June 20, 2013 at 8:44 PM

‘The only reason people tolerate her is because they want to f*** her’

Russell Brand

Class act.

CW on June 20, 2013 at 8:46 PM

And the “her” was Palin.

CW on June 20, 2013 at 8:47 PM

Some intelligent individual goes on “Morning Shmoe” and CLEARLY SHOWS them for the charlatans, LIARS, RUDE people and superficial IDIOTS that they ACTUALLY ARE —–

— and Ed WHINES about it and takes up THE IDIOT’S defense……and DENIGRATES the guy Speaking TRUTH TO POWER!!

WHY does this NOT SURPRISE ME?!! This IS the “Establishment” Blog!

williamg on June 20, 2013 at 9:43 PM

‘The only reason people tolerate her is because they want to f*** her’

Russell Brand

Class act.

CW on June 20, 2013 at 8:46 PM

So why do we tolerate Hillary? No one wants to go near that with a 30-foot pole.

ddrintn on June 20, 2013 at 9:53 PM

Russell Brand stands head and shoulders above the MSNBC crowd
He was the intellectual on the stage and showed them up for the fools they truly are! VAPID Priggs with or without Joe on board.

Hope to see Mr Brand I think you are grand!

Delsa on June 20, 2013 at 11:13 PM

I love it when stupid people(libs) fight each other. It’s like a group of chickens pecking each other to death over the piece of seed in front of them when there is a whole pile of seed just a couple feet away.

Sterling Holobyte on June 21, 2013 at 12:34 PM

Comment pages: 1 2