Russell Brand takes his Messiah Complex to the Middle East

Controversial comedian plans to ‘dissect religion’ from Abu Dhabi to Israel

Russell Brand plans to perform a controversial new comedy show dissecting religious belief in mosques and synagogues during a tour of the Middle East’s trouble spots.

The star, notorious for his explicit material, said he would take his “Messiah Complex” tour to Israel, Lebanon and Palestine, performing wherever he is allowed to deliver his show free from censorship.

The tour will open in August in Abu Dhabi, the Gulf state where Islam is the official religion. After two shows in the UAE, Brand will travel to Beirut, for a performance in the 9,000-seat Biel leisure centre.

The Essex-born comic actor, 38, promised a “dissection of various social and religious figures and the reality of their lives through comparisons of each other.”

The Messiah Complex will analyse a “mental disorder where you think you might be the messiah. Did Jesus have it? What about Che Guevara, Gandhi, Malcolm X and Hitler? All these men have shaped our lives and influenced the way we think.”

Brand, 38, said: “I am going to tour the world with Messiah Complex, causing bother and excitement and offering opinions that have not been either solicited or thought through.

“Of course I'll be in English speaking countries (UK, Ireland, US, Canada) but also Scandinavia, Russia, Israel, Lebanon, Palestine; anywhere that will have me to be honest and that are relaxed about free speech.

“As well as theatres I will be appearing in prisons, drug rehabs, social network HQs, universities, nationalist organisations, Mosques, foreclosed houses, protest sites, Synagogues and in people’s private homes.”

Brand could face opposition to his planned Israel appearance. Some entertainers have called for a boycott of the state in protest at the Government’s alleged mistreatment of Palestinians.

The film star and author, who will join the BBC1 Question Time panel in a fortnight, dedicated his tour to “the four men that are its subject, Che Guevara, Gandhi, Malcolm X and Jesus - I know this is what they would have wanted. If this is the end of the world I’m going to go out laughing with an erection.”

Brand argued: “Their images are used to represent ideas that often do not relate to them at all. Would Gandhi be into Apple? Would Che Guevara endorse Madonna? Would Jesus be into Christianity?

“All great people are flawed, all of us, flawed people are capable of greatness and for every identifiable icon there is an anonymous mob of unrecognised bods doing all the admin and heavy lifting. This show looks at the importance of heroes in this age of atheistic disposability. Plus there’s sex. Obviously.”

Brand appealed for religious tolerance in the aftermath of the Woolwich murder of Drummer Lee Rigby by a suspected Islamic extremist. “Islam, when practised by normal people, is not an advocacy for violence,” he wrote. “The murderers want angry patriots to desecrate mosques and perpetuate violence. How futile their actions seem if we instead leave flowers at each other’s places of worship.”

In an interview this week Brand discussed the breakdown of his marriage to pop star Katy Perry. Brand had remained faithful to Perry during their 14 month marriage but admitted that his appetite for sex made monogamy a struggle. “I’ve given over too much of my life to its pursuit. And I’ve probably harmed other people, by being selfish,” he said.

The world tour arrives in Britain in October.

Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film Ridley Scott reveals truth behind casting decisions of Exodus
Arts and Entertainment
An unseen image of Kurt Cobain at home featured in the film 'Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck'
filmThe singers widow and former bandmates have approved project
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden and Edwina Currie are joining the I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! camp
tv
Arts and Entertainment
George Mpanga has been shortlisted for the Critics’ Choice prize
music
Arts and Entertainment
Roisin, James and Sanjay in the boardroom
tvReview: This week's failing project manager had to go
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Hope Fletcher
booksFirst video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Arts and Entertainment
Damien Hirst
artCoalition's anti-culture policy and cuts in local authority spending to blame, says academic
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
A comedy show alumni who has gone on to be a big star, Jon Stewart
tvRival television sketch shows vie for influential alumni
Arts and Entertainment
Jason goes on a special mission for the queen
tvReview: Everyone loves a CGI Cyclops and the BBC's Saturday night charmer is getting epic
Arts and Entertainment
Image has been released by the BBC
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Will there ever be a Friends reunion?
TV
News
Harry Hill plays the Professor in the show and hopes it will help boost interest in science among young people
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
A Van Gogh sold at Sotheby’s earlier this month
art
Arts and Entertainment

MusicThe band accidentally called Londoners the C-word

Arts and Entertainment
It would 'mean a great deal' to Angelina Jolie if she won the best director Oscar for Unbroken

Film 'I've never been comfortable on-screen', she says

Arts and Entertainment
Winnie the Pooh has been branded 'inappropriate' in Poland
books
Arts and Entertainment
Lee Evans is quitting comedy to spend more time with his wife and daughter

comedy
Arts and Entertainment
American singer, acclaimed actor of stage and screen, political activist and civil rights campaigner Paul Robeson (1898 - 1976), rehearses in relaxed mood at the piano.
filmSinger, actor, activist, athlete: Paul Robeson was a cultural giant. But prejudice and intolerance drove him to a miserable death. Now his story is to be told in film...
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift is dominating album and singles charts worldwide

music
Arts and Entertainment
Kieron Richardson plays gay character Ste Hay in Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Midge Ure and Sir Bob Geldof outside the Notting Hill recording studios for Band Aid 30

music
Arts and Entertainment
Look out: Broad shoulders take Idris Elba’s DCI John Luther a long way
tvIdris Elba will appear in two special episodes for the BBC next year
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

    Christmas Appeal

    Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
    Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

    Is it always right to try to prolong life?

    Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
    Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

    What does it take for women to get to the top?

    Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
    Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

    Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

    Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
    Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

    Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

    Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
    Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

    Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

    Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
    Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

    Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

    The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
    Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

    Sarkozy returns

    The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
    Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

    Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

    Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
    Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

    Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

    Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
    There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

    In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

    The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
    UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

    UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

    It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
    Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

    Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

    It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
    The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

    Staying connected: The King's School

    The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected