BrandX Advance Review – A Talk Show for Everybody Else

Brand X with Russell Brand (FX)

Russell Brand’s new talk show, Brand X, premieres tonight at 11pm on FX. TV Equals was there to watch the live taping of the first episode in Los Angeles this past week.

There are talk shows a’plenty on TV today and I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical that Brand could offer anything new. I mean we’ve got political talk shows, entertainment talk shows, talk shows that center on news and current events, talk shows for the stay-at-home moms and dads, late-night talk shows…the list goes on an on.

But after sitting through a live taping of the first episode, I see that Brand X might just fill a void not covered by any of the other ones. If you’re someone who doesn’t want to watch a regular news show or perhaps is bored by daytime talk shows or entertainment talk shows – this might be the show for you. If you like your politics and current events peppered with the occasional f-word and references to male genitals – this might be the show for you. Or heck, if you just like Russell Brand and his form of humor – then this might be the show for you.

The show starts out with Brand hitting the stage and actually doing his own warm-up for the audience. I don’t know if that will be a permanent part of the show, but those of us there for opening night sure got a kick out of it. After that the show starts for real with Brand introducing himself as well as his sidekick; an actual political analyst named Matt who honestly looks a little lost most of the time, but puts up with all of Brand’s shenanigans like a good sport.

Brand then takes out a news report and begins a discussion about it. Since the story in question had to do with Brand himself, he had a lot to say and gave us his very personal viewpoint about it. During this time, he polls the audience to find out what they think about the story and often will run up into the seats to find out what people think personally.

My only previous impressions of Brand came from watching the occasional brief interview or clips from his movie roles. From those barest tastes of the man, I had no idea how spiritual and genuinely nice Brand could be. Yes he’s a bit mad and likes to poke fun at people, but he has no problem poking fun at himself while he’s at it.

By the end of the evening, Brand takes us from a conversation about the Dalai Lama to a discussion about Charlie Sheen, and somehow it almost makes sense by the time he is done. Along the way there are a lot of laughs, a few awkward moments (though to be fair, most of said awkwardness came from audience members and not Brand), quite a bit of cursing, and a little bit of spirituality. I’ll bet that’s not a combination you see on talk shows every day and yet somehow Brand makes it all come together really well.

My final opinion of the show is that Brand X may not be a talk show for everyone, but it could be one for everybody else.

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