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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Elizabeth McGovern as Cora, Countess of Grantham and Richard E Grant as Simon Bricker

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Art
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard, nicknamed by the press as 'Dirty Diana'

Bake Off
Arts and Entertainment
The X Factor 2014 judges: Simon Cowell, Cheryl Cole, Mel B and Louis Walsh

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace was caught by a camera van driving 32mph over the speed limit

TV
Arts and Entertainment
books
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Arts and Entertainment
Star turns: Montacute House
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Iain reacts to his GBBO disaster

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Outlaw Pete is based on an eight-minute ballad from Springsteen’s 2009 Working on a Dream album

books
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012

film
Arts and Entertainment
Simon Cowell is less than impressed with the Strictly/X Factor scheduling clash

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Gothic revival: artist Dave McKean’s poster for Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination
Exhibition
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard has left the Great British Bake Off 2014

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Lisa Kudrow, Courtney Cox and Jennifer Anniston reunite for a mini Friends sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live

TV
Arts and Entertainment
TVDessert week was full of the usual dramas as 'bingate' ensued
Arts and Entertainment
Clara and the twelfth Doctor embark on their first adventure together
TVThe regulator received six complaints on Saturday night
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
Arts and Entertainment
David Baddiel concedes his show takes its inspiration from the hit US series 'Modern Family'
comedyNew comedy festival out to show that there’s more to Jewish humour than rabbi jokes
Arts and Entertainment
Puff Daddy: One Direction may actually be able to use the outrage to boost their credibility

music
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.

    Chief inspector of GPs: ‘Most doctors don’t really know what bad practice can be like for patients’

    Steve Field: ‘Most doctors don’t really know what bad practice can be like for patients’

    The man charged with inspecting doctors explains why he may not be welcome in every surgery
    Stolen youth: Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing

    Stolen youth

    Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing
    Bob Willoughby: Hollywood's first behind the scenes photographer

    Bob Willoughby: The reel deal

    He was the photographer who brought documentary photojournalism to Hollywood, changing the way film stars would be portrayed for ever
    Hollywood heavyweights produce world's most expensive corporate video - for Macau casino

    Hollywood heavyweights produce world's most expensive corporate video - for Macau casino

    Scorsese in the director's chair with De Niro, DiCaprio and Pitt to star
    Angelina Jolie's wedding dress: made by Versace, designed by her children

    Made by Versace, designed by her children

    Angelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
    Anyone for pulled chicken?

    Pulling chicks

    Pulled pork has gone from being a US barbecue secret to a regular on supermarket shelves. Now KFC is trying to tempt us with a chicken version
    9 best steam generator irons

    9 best steam generator irons

    To get through your ironing as swiftly as possible, invest in one of these efficient gadgets
    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

    US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
    Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
    Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
    Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

    The big names to look for this fashion week

    This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
    Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing