Heads Up: Russell Brand's Messiah Complex

He's not the Messiah - he's a very naughty stand-up comedian

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The Independent Culture

What are we talking about? A major new world tour from Russell Brand. A stand-up show, "Messiah Complex" features figures from history who, he suspects, may have had the "mental disorder where the sufferer thinks they might be the Messiah". Brand will be looking at what makes an icon, why we need heroes in an "age of atheistic disposability", and how they might just be ordinary, flawed individuals after all.

Elevator pitch He's not the Saviour, he's just a deluded iconic figure.

Prime movers Brand, the nest-haired, skinny-jeans-clad, scarf-swooshing comedian, writer, Hollywood actor, cultural pundit and TV presenter.

The stars Famous historical figures Brand discusses include Che Guevara, Gandhi, Malcolm X and Hitler. Oh, and Jesus, obviously.

The early buzz A rough preview at the Soho Theatre – before the show headed to the US for its first leg proper – pleased Bruce Dessau in The Evening Standard, who called it "not so much a stand-up gig, more an eventful voyage around his psyche …. This was Brand in pensive as well as playful mode, fully aware of the contradiction of describing his life as a 'carnival of narcissism' while chatting about the all-pervasive culture of celebrity." A review of one of the tour's Canadian dates in the Ottawa Citizen wasn't so sure: "Despite the climactic — you should excuse the expression — conclusion of the show, which found Brand on his knees extolling the virtues of various sex acts and urging us to be better humans than we are, the Messiah Complex World Tour is, like the consumer culture Brand ridiculed, ultimately less than satisfying."

Insider knowledge Meditation fan Brand is selling special VIP packages to shows to fund raise for the David Lynch Foundation, the film-maker's meditation-promoting charity.

It's great that… reports from shows so far suggests there's not much in the way of self-censorship going on in Brand's performance; if you're hoping for a tabloid-shocking confession or juicy gossip, you might well get it.

It's a shame that… Brand had to cancel his Middle East dates, after fears that "security could not be guaranteed" in Abu Dhabi and Lebanon.

Hit potential His Marmitey material shouldn't stand in the way of sales: the celebrity, and self-confessional elements, will always prompt interest.

The details Messiah Complex is on tour across the UK from 7 October (russellbrand.tv).