The Sun ran an entire story about the alleged tax affairs of the company the comedian rents his Hoxton loft apartment from, claiming it banked offshores. This, the paper alleged, stood at odds with Brand’s repeat insistence on proper tax regulations on big businesses.
Last week, he appeared cool, calmer and quieter than anyone could ever remember seeing him when he sat on the Question Time panel opposite Nigel Farage. He was criticised by several members of the audience for preaching social reform without the intention of running for parliament. He also labelled the Ukip leader a "pound shop Enoch Powell". This week, however, has seen something of a multi-media turn-around for the star after his BBC Three documentary, Russell Brand: End the Drugs War, aired last night.
The hour-long special featured the comedian being as extroverted and tactile and verbose as anyone would expect from an hour-long special featuring Russell Brand.
But this time, as a reformed addict himself, it was on a subject he could truly relate to.
Russell Brand's Most Controversial Quips
Russell Brand's Most Controversial Quips
1/19 On puberty:
“By puberty I learned that nothing worth having could be easily attained and to succeed one must be single minded."
2/19 On changing the world:
“I want to change the world, and do something valuable and beautiful. I want people to remember me before I'm dead, and then more afterwards.”
3/19 On being strong:
"Strength does not have to be belligerent and loud."
4/19 On grammar:
“I couldn't possibly have sex with someone with such a slender grasp on grammar!”
5/19 On manners in England:
"In England we have such good manners that if someone says something impolite, the police will get involved."
6/19 On junkie v vegetarian:
“Even as a junkie I stayed true [to vegetarianism] - 'I shall have heroin, but I shan't have a hamburger.' What a sexy little paradox.”
7/19 On the future:
“People don't realize that the future is just now, but later.”
8/19 On sex addiction:
“Boggle with sex addicts is up there with go-kart racing with junkies.”
9/19 On life:
“My life is just a series of embarrassing incidents strung together by telling people about those embarrassing incidents.”
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
10/19 On happiness:
"If you want to be happy stop being so self-obsessed and start considering other people."
11/19 On drug addiction:
“The mentality and behavior of drug addicts and alcoholics is wholly irrational until you understand that they are completely powerless over their addiction and unless they have structured help, they have no hope.”
12/19 On sitcoms:
"I do have a regard for the musicality of language that came from BBC sitcoms like Fawlty Towers."
13/19 On life motivation:
"That's what keeps me alive, perversion and star quality.”
14/19 On love:
“When you fall in love you recognise you're not the most important person in the world, and your focus becomes another person.”
15/19 On threesomes:
“I like threesomes with two women, not because I'm a cynical sexual predator. Oh no! But because I'm a romantic. I'm looking for "The One." And I'll find her more quickly if I audition two at a time.”
16/19 On Conservatives:
"Conservatism appeals to our selfishness and fear, our designer and self-interest."
17/19 On surfing:
“Surfing should be called "foam-choking" or "sea stabbing.”
18/19 On Demi Moore:
"I've not made love to her yet, but it's a matter of time."
STEVE MORGAN/AFP/Getty Images
19/19 On success:
"When I was growing up, I thought I'd be a lot happier if I was famous and successful and if I had money."
So he gallivanted to the UN, he conversed with Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, he shadowed an addict from the street into prison and back onto the street again in order to highlight his belief treating addiction is a health issue, and not a criminal problem.
He outlined his tried and tested theory that the best way to aid those with drug dependency issues is through abstinence and compassion – not jail sentences and homelessness. And he was applauded for his efforts on Twitter in a manner rarely agreed by so many:
The war on drugs clearly isn't working and too many people are suffering because of it. Good on @rustyrockets for his v vocal stance on thisNick Clegg (@nick_clegg) December 15, 2014
Over exposed as he is, @rustyrockets documentary on the war on drugs (the thing, not the band) was actually really good.Owen Gibson (@owen_g) December 15, 2014
Watching Russell Brand's doc on the futile war on drugs. A health problem or a crime problem? Excellent stuff.michelegrant (@michelegrant) December 15, 2014
Russell Brand, The War on Drugs - really interesting documentary on BBC 3 last night. Check it out on BBC iPLAYER. CGDAN 24/7 - Wales (@dan_247) December 16, 2014
The programme ends with Brand giving evidence at a Home Affairs Select Committee on the UK’s existing drugs laws.
"If the system isn't working, change the system!" he shouts by way of conclusion.
He appears to have changed his own, too.Reuse content